Feature Articles

Knowledge,Technology and Policy

, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 23-36

Conflict or control: Research utilization strategies as power techniques

  • Kjell NilssonAffiliated withSchool of Social Work and Social Welfare, Research Dept., Lund University
  • , Sune SunessonAffiliated withSchool of Social Work and Social Welfare, Research Dept., Lund University

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Abstract

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.