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New leadership appointed in 1977 to head Sweden's National Student Aid Board faces a near-desperate situation. So inefficient is the agency in processing student applications for college living expenses that some students, strapped for cash, face the prospect of asking for public assistance for the poor. CSN chief Billy Olsson, whose background had been in politics, and computer expert Karl-Johan Johansson face the task of finding a way for the agency to provide financial assistance, within the constraints of student income qualifications, in a timely fashion. This organizational production/operational capacity case describes the turnaround strategy--which they call "offensive cutback management"--successfully implemented by Olsson and Johansson such that, by 1991, the CSN was named one of the four best government agencies in Sweden.

Learning Objective:
This case can be used in conjunction with public sector management theories to illustrate a success story of strategic innovations that can potentially be applicable to other government agencies.

Other Details

Case Author:
Steven Kelman
Faculty Lead:
Steven Kelman
Pages (incl. exhibits):
Europe, Sweden