Ingrid Svensson

Public facilities management under change

​While public buildings are important, a substantial amount of the public building stock is run down with only minor, ad-hoc, renovations carried out. A more strategic type of public facilities management is required, focusing on long-term and sustainable planning, including new types of organizational practices. Ingrid Svensson’s doctoral thesis focus on the implementation of strategic planning measures in public facilities management organizations, and the development of strategic public facilities management.

​What challenges do you focus on in your research?

"Despite the importance of good management of public properties, the maintenance of these has not been prioritized for many years, which has created a need for extensive renovation efforts. In several parts of Sweden, work is now underway to prevent similar scenarios in the future – and at the same time take care of the existing stock in a long-term and sustainable way, both financially, environmentally, and socially. This work is often referred to as strategic public facilities management."

How do you address the problem with your research?

"The research project has studied how the work of creating and implementing strategic public facilities management in Swedish municipalities has been done. In my studies, I have focused on what work is performed, and by whom, during the change process when moving from one way of working and organizing to another. I could observe that the way in which one perceives and imagines public facilities management is changing. In other words, it can be called an institutional change which includes that the shared perception of what public facilities management is, and how it should be carried out, is changing."

What are the main findings of your research?

"The study shows how public facilities management organizations strive to change their organizational position within the municipality. They want a more central location to have a greater mandate to work more comprehensively and long-term with renovation and maintenance and also to be able to plan better for future needs. The study provides examples of how this work is done and what organizational consequences it has. For example, facility managers have received extended mandates from their own managers, which other organizations in the municipality are not always prepared for. Another example is that officials need to work more at different levels in the organization than before."

"In order for strategic public facilities management to become a reality, resources are required, partly personnel but also a changed type of organization. Forms of collaboration should be reviewed; what new roles are needed? How can these be better integrated into the business so that their skills are useful in the broadest sense? How can the types of IT support that are now being implemented on a broad front regarding inventory of the stock be used in a better way?"

"The work with strategic public facilities management should be seen as a continuous work and not as a project with a clear beginning and end. Often, the latter is the case in practice, which means difficulties in getting both new tasks and roles, such as strategists, to gain momentum over time."

"Strategists is the collective name for a new type of role that is emerging within municipal managing organizations. These people are supposed to be working across organizational boundaries and working strategically and long-term. Many people find this difficult in practice because their organizational context is not prepared for that type of role."

What do you hope your research will lead to?

"I hope that my research will help to shed light on the fact that strategic public facilities management is much about organizational aspects and that the work of introducing and developing strategic public facilities management is a complex and long-term work. I have seen that a lot of work is done but in different directions. For example work to develop strategic public facilities management conceptually is conducted, but this work may not be connected to the operational work. I hope my research can help to understand where to focus your resources. In the end, I hope will be able to participate and contribute to a sustainable and strategic public facilities management."

"I hope that my research will contribute to increased understanding and knowledge of the organizational landscape in which public strategic facilities management is developed and how individuals experience working with the introduction of strategic public facilities management and how their everyday work is affected."

Text compilation: Daniel Karlsson

The author will defend the thesis on 26 November 2021 at 13.15, see link on thesis' page

More about Ingrid Svensson

Page manager Published: Mon 22 Nov 2021.