Labour market activation policies aimed at those with multiple barriers to employment require inter-agency collaboration between local organizations providing social and employment services. This local collaborative context is shaped by different institutional logics (state, markets, professions and community) that are crucial for policy implementation. Using case studies of nine German, UK and Swedish cities, it is argued that different institutional logics help shape the form and operation of local collaboration between different agencies and actors and thus the concrete support for service users at the local level. Although all three countries are characterized by centralized employment policies, each city shows a prevalence, but not exclusivity, of certain institutional logics over others. These differences, partly reflecting the local context, are likely to lead to local variations in understandings of solidarity, policy implementation, inter-agency collaboration and networks of actors and national–local tensions. The paper suggests that an institutional logics approach provides a useful framework for helping to understand local variations and potential national–local policy conflicts.
- inter-agency collaboration
- active labour market policies
- multiple barriers to employment
- institutional logics
- inter-organisational networks