Associate Professor Anne Mette Møller has received one of the prestigious Inge Lehmann-grants from DFF


Associate Professor Anne Mette Møller has received one of the prestigious Inge Lehmann-grants from DFF (Independent Research Fund Denmark)

Project title: “Record Keeping in Frontline Work: Balancing Bureaucratic, Professional and Relational Concerns (RECORD)”
Funding: Independent Research Fund Denmark / DFF - Inge Lehmann
Amount: DKK 3,167,775
Project period: August 2024-January 2027

Project summary:
Frontline workers in public bureaucracies are required to keep written records of cases. These case records provide transparency regarding professional and administrative decision-making are decisive for the provision of services or sanctions. They enable citizens and other stakeholders to judge the legality of these decisions and appeal if their rights are violated. As such, case records are a cornerstone of bureaucracy and the rule of law. They also often serve additional purposes, e.g., as tools for professional coordination and involvement of citizens. Further, case records preserve institutional memory and enable citizens to retrospectively make sense of administrative decisions that may have significant and lifelong impact on their identity and wellbeing. However, case records also reflect human choices about what to include or omit and thereby “produce” cases in particular ways. 
Despite the crucial role and multiple potentially conflicting purposes of record keeping, public administration research has yet to devote focused attention to this issue. To address this shortcoming, this research project employs organizational ethnography, narrative interviews and document analysis to explore practices, outputs and implications of record keeping in child protection agencies. With interventions ranging from preventive measures to forced adoptions, child protection represents one of the most severe uses of state power over citizens. Given the high stakes and deep impact of child protection work, one would expect proper record keeping to be integral to professional norms and values. Yet, oversight authorities have persistently questioned the quality and legality of record keeping in practice, in Denmark and other countries. Child protection services therefore serve as a critical case to explore the significance, complexity and potential trade-offs associated with record keeping. 
The project will be guided by the following research questions: How and why do frontline workers prioritize different purposes of record keeping—e.g. legal-administrative purposes, professional coordination and the involvement of citizens—in everyday practice? How are these priorities reflected in actual case records? And what are the implications for citizens and stakeholders? The aim is to generate novel empirical insights and develop original theory on the practices and challenges of record keeping. To support both scholarly and practical impact, the project includes an international advisory board of established street-level scholars as well as close collaboration with the social work practice field, including social work education.



178 researchers had applied for an Inge Lehmann-project this year. Only 27 researchers got a grant. Success rate = 16%.

Anne Mette Møller started as Associate Professor at IOA on 1 October 2023 
Big Congratulations to Anne Mette for this remarkable achievement.

The page was last edited by: Department of Organization // 12/13/2023