ISP article

ISP. A project to develop the field of service research

ISP stands for 'Institutional Strategic Project' or Institutionally Anchored Strategic Project.

This strategic and environment-building research project aims to develop the field of service research through interdisciplinary and comparative exploration of how service interaction is politicized, prioritized, modeled, and experienced at various levels and by different actors in the Norwegian welfare state. More specifically, we focus on how social and structural dynamics create conditions for health and welfare services and identify factors that have the potential to promote sustainable public services and hinder what can be considered undesirable variations related to service development and service interaction. The project is situated within one of the current paradoxes representing a societal challenge for all European states. On the one hand, there is a need to cut public expenditures due to reduced public revenues in combination with existing 'austerity policies,' but on the other hand, the need for public services is increasing due to social changes resulting from factors such as the global decline in employment, increased migration, and an aging population.

In Norway, there is a broad political consensus that basic welfare services should be the responsibility of the public sector and that citizens should have universal access to services of equal quality. This places great pressure on those responsible for delivering services. The healthcare and care sector is one of the sectors that make up the institutional landscape in Norway. Primary healthcare services are decentralized, or municipalized, and municipalities can thus be said to constitute the institutional backbone of the state. This 'backbone,' or more specifically, the municipal health and care services, is our starting point in the project. However, we are also concerned with the relationship between municipal sectors and services and specialized healthcare, the larger institutional context, and power relations that shape municipal priorities and emphasis on service interaction. Our research focus in our four work packages, therefore, collectively covers a range of factors that will provide us with new knowledge about service interaction and factors that either promote or hinder municipal variation in this regard. These include: a) examining the conditions for developing sustainable services, b) the work that produces services and the systems that surround that work, c) the organization and management of municipal services, d) municipal and national practices and policies regarding service interaction, and e) local, national, and international policy trends in the health and care field and how such trends 'travel.'

The project is five years in duration and is led by the Centre for Care Research (SOF), West, at the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (HVL). The project has five national partners - SOF East, South, Central, North, and NORCE Community, and four international partners - the University of California, San Francisco, Aarhus University, Mid Sweden University, and the Netherlands Research Institute for Health Services Research.


Project Leader:

Anette Fagertun, Professor

Centre for Care Research, West

Phone: 55 58 58 49




Norwegian Research Council, 2019 - 2024