Department of Organization

Kirstine Zinck
Associate professor

Room: KIL/14.A-3.93

My research attends to the organizational, practical, and ethical implications of recent transformations of the public sector. In particular, I investigate the assumptions and constitutive effects of quality and safety reforms in the healthcare sector with a view to changes in concrete work practices, core tasks, and discretionary abilities of healthcare professionals. In my book Organizing Patient Safety: Failsafe Fantasies and Pragmatic Practices (2018, Palgrave), I inquire into the international preoccupation with patient safety and the faith in the possibility of creating failsafe organizations through system-improvements.

Recent research projects include an investigation of safety and emergency organization in healthcare during Covid-19; an examination of medical professionalism from an ‘ethics of office’ perspective (supported by the Velux Foundation); and an ethnographic investigation into the introduction of clinical pathways in cancer treatment with specific attention to reconfigurations of clinical practice and medical reasoning (supported by the Danish Cancer Society). Conceptually, I combine an engagement with American pragmatism, primarily John Dewey, with a wider interest in practical philosophy, classic organization theory, and medical sociology.

Primary research areas
  • Healthcare organization, clinical work, and medical reasoning
  • Safety and quality management
  • Organizational change and public sector reform   
  • Unintended effects of optimizing technology and standardization
  • Professional training, habituation, and discretion
  • Bureaucracy and ‘the bureaucratic ethos’
  • American pragmatism, classic organization theory, and medical sociology     
  • Philosophy of science, qualitative methodology, and ethnography
Link to this homepage
  • Change in Organizations, MSc in Business Administration and Psychology (Cand. Merc. Psyk.)
  • The Organization of Healthcare Innovation, MSc in Business Administration and Innovation in Health Care (IHC)
  • Introductory and Development module, Master of Public Governance, CBS Executive Master programme
  • Perspectives in Organizational Analysis, PhD Course, Doctoral School in Organisation and Management Studies, CBS
  • Research Design and Analysis, HD1, Graduate Diploma, CBS
Selected publications


Publications sorted by:
Kirstine Zinck Pedersen; Anja Svejgaard Pors / Discretionary Responses in Frontline Encounters : Balancing Standardization with the Ethics of Office.
In: Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Vol. 33, No. 1, 1.2023, p. 80-93
Journal article > peer review
Dane Pflueger; Kirstine Zinck Pedersen / Assembling Homo Qualitus : Accounting for Quality in the UK National Health Service.
In: European Accounting Review, 1.3.2022
Journal article > peer review
Kirstine Zinck Pedersen / Practices of Certitude : The Defiance of Clinical Uncertainty in Healthcare Organization.
Paper presented at 38th EGOS Colloquium 2022, 2022
Anne Mette Møller; Kirstine Zinck Pedersen; Anja Svejgaard Pors / The Bureaucratic Ethos in Street-Level Work : Revitalizing Weber’s Ethics of Office.
In: Perspectives on Public Management and Governance, Vol. 5, No. 2, 6.2022, p. 151-163
Journal article > peer review
Kirstine Zinck Pedersen / The Public Encounter and the Ethics of Public Office
In: The Politics of the Public Encounter: What Happens When Citizens Meet the State. . ed. /Peter Hube. Cheltenham : Edward Elgar Publishing 2022, p. 333-351
Book chapter > peer review
Kirstine Zinck Pedersen; Jessica Mesman / A Transactional Approach to Patient Safety : Understanding Safe Care as a Collaborative Accomplishment.
In: Journal of Interprofessional Care, Vol. 35, No. 4, 7.2021, p. 503-513
Journal article > peer review
Kirstine Zinck Pedersen; Paul du Gay / COVID-19 and the Flexibility of the Bureaucratic Ethos
In: Organising Care in a Time of Covid-19: Implications for Leadership, Governance and Policy. . ed. /Justin Waring; Jean-Louis Denis; Anne Reff Pedersen; Tim Tenbensel. Cham : Palgrave Macmillan 2021, p. 99-120 (Organizational Behaviour in Healthcare)
Book chapter > peer review
Kirstine Zinck Pedersen / Economic Responsibilization of the Medical Profession : A History of Office-based Accountability in Danish Healthcare.
Abstract from 15th Conference of the European Sociological Association. ESA 2021, 2021
Conference abstract for conference
Kirstine Zinck Pedersen / Organisering af patientsikkerhed under covid-19 : Risikomanageres erfaringer.
In: Kvalitet og patientsikkerhed under covid 19: Bind 1. Håb er ikke en strategi. . ed. /Inge Kristensen; Mickael Bech; Nanna Kure-Biegel; Jan Mainz. Frederiksberg : Dansk Selskab for Patientsikkerhed 2021, p. 190-201 (Kvalitet og patientsikkerhed under covid-19, Vol. 1)
Book chapter
Anja Svejgaard Pors; Kirstine Zinck Pedersen; Peter Kjær / The Patient : Citizen, Consumer and Partner in Health Governance.
In: Citizen Categories in the Danish Welfare State: From the Founding Epoch to the Neoliberal Era. . ed. /Jesper Vestermark Køber; Niklas Olsen; Heidi Vad Jønsson. Odense : Syddansk Universitetsforlag 2021, p. 135-160
Book chapter > peer review
More results... (total 41 results)
Research Projects
Outside activities
Master of Public Health, Copenhagen University
Teaching on the course: Patient Safety and Learning Culture: Analysing the Context (2 x 3 hours per year)

Foredrag 'Nyt om læring'. Temadag om patientsikkerhed. Region Sjælland, Det Nære Sundhedsvæsen (September 2022)
Foredrag 'Organisering af patientsikkerhedsarbejdet', Den Regionale Patientsikkerhedskonference, Region Midtjylland (juni 2022)

Master of Public Health, Copenhagen University
Teaching on the course: Patient Safety and Learning Culture: Analysing the Context (2 x 3 hours per year)
Master of Public Health, Copenhagen University
No outside activities to report
No outside activities to report