New research shows how the quality work within non-profit social service can improve

By connecting improvement work of non-profit social service providers with the organisations’ core values, motivation for change is created. This is evident from a new thesis from the School of Health and Welfare, Jönköping University.

Swedish welfare is characterised by discussions on organisation and how profit is used, but also on how a higher degree of person-centeredness, co-production with patients and innovations can be achieved. One prerequisite for realising the latter in practice is that motivation and competences of the parties supposed to carry out the changes are successfully used.

The new thesis, written by Ph.D. Student Truls Neubeck, shows, among other things, the importance of connecting improvement projects to the core values of the organisation, and of formulating these projects with words and concepts from the common practice. This way trust and motivation for change are created.

“During my research it also became evident how important it is that local co-workers can take part in the decision making on what to measure and follow up. A local ownership over the work procedures, information systems and other infrastructure creates more participation”, says Truls Neubeck.

The purpose of the thesis has been to identify what enablers or constraints there are for systematic quality improvement within non-profit social service.

Truls Neubeck has during 5 years been studying more than 100 improvement projects carried out at a number of non-profit social service providers, all being members of the Swedish organisation Famna. Among the projects a number of interesting cases emerged, which were studied in more depth, and which showed how systematic quality improvement can be successfully combined with shared values in every-day work.

“The improvement projects concerned for example how mealtime situations within geriatric care can be improved, outdoor activities for children with disabilities, and cooperation between different non-profit organisations. It is important to consider how these improvements have succeeded and how this development can be spread”, says Truls Neubeck.

The last part of the study concerns the contact between Famna’s political work – for example to influence the design of new guidelines – and the everyday practice. Especially, it elucidates what the bridges between these two parts look like, and how you make policy work and practice mutually coherent.

Truls Neubeck will defend his thesis Quality Improvement within Non-profit Social Service Providers on Friday 20 May, at 1.00 pm. The defence takes place in Forum Humanum at the School of Health and Welfare, Jönköping University.

For more information, please contact Truls Neubeck,, 076-541 10 25

You find the thesis here Länk till annan webbplats, öppnas i nytt fönster.


Famna is a national organisation for non-profit health care and social service providers in Sweden.