, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 23-36

Conflict or control: Research utilization strategies as power techniques

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The sociology of research and knowledge use, argue the authors, could be a way of linking important parts of sociology, such as organization studies, the sociology of science to each other. In the article, they discuss the idea that organizational responses to environments are related to research utilization. Based upon an empirical investigation of city welfare departments, four empirical “utilization strategies” are presented and shown to be related to power and control patterns. While negative utilization strategies are hostile to uncontrolled research utilization and enhance the formation of bureaucratic expertise, conflict-oriented strategies are discursively productive and reinforce research use and alliance formation with social scientists to control the environment.

Kjell Nilsson presented his dissertation on research utilization in different policy sectors at Lund University in February 1992. He has written and cowritten one book and several articles in the field of knowledge and bureaucracy.
Sune Sunesson, Ph.D., is currently professor and head of the research department and Ph.D., program in the School of Social Work at Lund University. He has written several books and articles in the field of bureaucracy studies, the sociology of human service organizations and the utilization of knowledge.