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State Administration Database

Period: 1947-present

Datasets

Information about datasets under State Administration Database

'Datasets' contains detailed information about the basic data in the archive. 'Tables and figures' on the left depend on these datasets.

Specific remarks to the datasets under State Administration Database:

Not translated

Further detailed information in English, please contact us

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Abstract

Social science research projects, as well as the central government, produce enormous amounts of information and data on the organization, purposes and functions of the public sector and national government activities. However, data in available registers are limited in scope and time span. At present, no comprehensive data collections with extensive time coverage exist.

Norwegian Social Science Data Services (NSD) have tried to correct this deficiency. In collaboration with the Department of Administration and Organization Theory, University of Bergen we have established a project to design a database which is to contain information on the entire state administration. NSD is in charge of the computational side, data compilation and input and Department of Administration and Organization Theory has contributed on an advisory level. The time span covers the period 1947 to present.

The purpose of the database is to map:

The main units in the database consist of ministries including internal structure (divisions, sections, offices etc), bodies outside ministries but part of the state as a legal entity, state-owned companies and governmental foundations. These main units are further divided into smaller groups.

About State Administration Database

Contents

Mapped organizations

The Norwegian State Administration Database (NSA) uses the concept, form of affiliation, to divide public sector organizations in different categories. Form of affiliation indicates the legal status of a state organization and the way it is tied to government authority (ministries) and was introduced through the report from the Hermansen commission (NOU 1989:5).

An organization is mapped in the NSA if it is affiliated to the state:

In addition to these three main groups the database covers ministries together with its internal administrative units.

Until present, the NSA covers these three main forms of affiliation used to define “who is in and who is out”. By use of new affiliation criteria the database can be expanded to other organizations, for instance organizations in the non-profit sector, local administrative levels (municipalities) etc.

For a more complete discussion about public organizations and forms of affiliations, we refer to Paul G. Roness: "Types of State Organizations: Arguments, Doctrines and Changes Beyond New Public Management", printed in Tom Christensen og Per Lægreid (eds): Transcending New Public Management. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007.

The three main groups of form of affiliation in the NSA are further differentiated. This is outlined in the table below, starting closest to the executive on the top, and increasing degrees of structural devolution towards the bottom. The number in parenthesis is the code number in NSA.

Form of affiliation; Legal statute:

Ministries (10):
State administration outside ministries, but part of the state as legal entity:
State-owned companies, separate legal entity:
Governmental foundations, separate legal entity:

What are counted and how

Bodies within the Norwegian state administration are often very complex organizations (highly specialised and complex hierarchies). This sometimes makes it difficult to tell what constitutes one state organization as well as the question of what constitutes a state organization?

In the database, we have tried to attend to this problem by describing the basic type of organization in question. The organizations in the database are divided into three different main categories:

  1. National single organizations without subordinated units.
    The database covers all units in this category.
    And for practical purposes, all state owned companies and all foundations are registered as one national single organization in the database although several of them are organised as complex hierarchies.
  2. Service that consists of a central (national) unit and regional/local offices.
    All central units in services are mapped but not all of their regional and local offices. For obvious practical reasons, not all regional and local offices are registered with complete and detailed event history in the database. Some of the large civil service organizations in Norway consist of several hundred local offices. Therefore, regional and local offices that are reporting to a central national body are registered in the database in two different ways:
    • Detailed:
      Every single unit is registered in the database under their respective integrated civil service organization. Event history (change) is registered for every unit for all years.
    • Aggregated:
      Groups are shown as aggregated numbers in the in the database under their respective integrated civil service organization. Detailed event history is not registered. Groups registered in this way are usually large, complex groups like tax offices, post offices etc. Also groups where event history is difficult accessible / sources are poor, have been registered in this way.
  3. Group of similar organizations.
    Bodies with equal tasks reporting directly to a ministry are grouped together and counted as one here even though a lot of the units that make up a group are registered in the database, e.g. university colleges. Units included in a group are registered in the database in two different ways:
    • Detailed:
      Every single unit is registered in the database under their respective group. Event history (change) is registered for every unit for all years.
    • Aggregated:
      Units in groups are shown as aggregated numbers in the in the database under their respective group. Detailed event history is not registered. Groups registered in this way are usually large, complex groups like embassies, special schools etc. Also groups where event history is difficult accessible / sources are poor, have been registered in this way.

Through a filter it is possible to exclude regional/local offices (point 2) and units within groups (point 3) from reports and statistical analysis. This filter is used in the table above.

Organizational changes

The database tries to cover «life histories» of all public sector organizations from starting events to ending events. It is used 23 predefined categories for organizational change. If there are exceptions not covered by the predefined organizational change-code an explanation is added in a text field. The changes are organised in three main groups. The first is changes giving birth to an organization. The second is changes where the border of an organization is maintained but relationship to other organizations is changed. Example of maintenance changes is moving of organizations to a new superior organization, form of affiliation etc. Change of name is also in this category. The last main group is mortality or ending changes.

In the database, we have categorised organizational change as follows (the number in parenthesis is the code number in NSA):

Starting changes:

Continuation changes (organizational maintenance):

Ending changes:

Plus some codes necessary to handle technical changes.

We have four organizational processes involving more than one organization. Below is a short description of multiple-units organizational changes. Be aware of the use of different main categories of organizational change within the same organizational process.

Secession

102 New by secession > Unit C
102 New by secession > Unit D
202 Maintained by secession > Unit A

Absorption

203 Maintained by absorption > Unit A
303 Ending by absorption > Unit B
303 Ending by absorption > Unit C

Splitting

104 New by splitting > Unit B
104 New by splitting > Unit C
104 New by splitting > Unit D
304 Ending by splitting > Unit A

Merging

106 New by merging > Unit D
306 Ending by merging > Unit A
306 Ending by merging > Unit B
306 Ending by merging > Unit C

Variables

Every organizational change is a record in the database. A change can be anything from a founding to a change in name or a disbanding of a unit.

The fields in the database table are filled in depending on type of organizational change and according to a specific set of registration rules. This makes it possible to take care of all relations between units involved in complex organizational changes that include several units (i.e. merging, absorption, splitting and secession).

The most important variables are:

Background

Social science research projects, as well as the central government, produce enormous amounts of information and data on the organization, purposes, functions of the public sector and national government activities. However, data stored in available registers are limited in scope and time span. At present, no comprehensive data collections with extensive time coverage exist.

Norwegian Social Science Data Services (NSD) have tried to correct this deficiency. In collaboration with the Department of Administration and Organization Theory, University of Bergen we have established a project to design a database which is to contain information on the entire state administration. NSD is in charge of the computational side, data compilation and input and Department of Administration and Organization Theory has contributed on an advisory level. The time span covers the period 1947 to present.

The database is expected to become an important source of information for organizational research, in particular for the study of change and the emergence of new organizational forms in state administration.

The database may also serve as a point of departure for extended research on the public organizations. For example, a user can define what kinds of entities are to be targeted in the database. Consequently, the collected information can be linked to the database. In this manner, the database will accumulate and the ad hoc collection of data from special projects can be avoided.

The purpose of the database is to map all organizations under the different forms of affiliation for units in the Norwegian state administration 1947 to present, and changes in formal structure in these organizations for the same time period.

Quality of Data

The quality of data depends mainly on the main source, The Norwegian State Calendar (Civil service list). This source compared with other sources sometimes gives better information about bodies’ affiliation and organizational changes. It is difficult to have an opinion about to what degree we have collected all necessary information about our units.

The data in database has been consistency checked to avoid logical errors.

Use in Analysis

When we started to develop NSA in 1994 there was no other experience to build on. Until present we had to change the structure of the database to fit new demands of the representation of the information in the database. The stepwise change in structure has not compromised the retrieval efficiency of the database - but with our knowledge today we would probably have used a different database structure and designed other input routines for the database.

Completed tables / searching the database:

Sources

The main data source is The Norwegian State Calendar (Civil service list). Other important sources have been phone books from the ministries, handbook from Norwegian Public records, various commission reports focusing on the development and organization of the state administratrion, (central) government budgets. Also public administration home pages have been used as source.

About the datasets

Not translated

Further detailed information in English, please contact us

.

Appendix(es)