Gry Cecilie Lunder Høiland

Image of Gry Cecilie Lunder Høiland
Norwegian version of this page
Visiting address Moltke Moes vei 31 Eilert Sundts hus blokk B 0851 OSLO
Postal address Postboks 1108 Blindern 0317 OSLO

Associate professor at the Department of Industrial Economics and Technology Management, Faculty of Economics and Management, NTNU - Norwegian university of science and technology.

Also holds a position as researcher at OSIRIS, TIK-center for Technology, Innovation and Culture.

Sociologist with a Ph.D. in management 



Impact of research in NAV



Organisational sociology

Implementation in complex organisations

Impact research

Public service innovation

Organisational case studies

Institutional theory

Critical realism

Emprical focus on the Health and welfare system in Norway



Norsi Alumni



Tags: Implementation process, Innovation process, Management of Innovation, organisational sociology, work and welfare, complex organisations, NAV


Organizing professional work and services through institutional complexity – how institutional logics and differences in organizational roles matter

Høiland, G. C. L. and Klemsdal, L. (2020) ‘Organizing professional work and services through institutional complexity – how institutional logics and differences in organizational roles matter’, Human Relations. doi: 10.1177/0018726720970274.


How is the complexity of contemporary professional work and services organized differently by management at the strategic level and professionals at the operational level? And what are the implications for managing this complexity? Drawing on literatures on institutional complexity, organizational roles and the analyses of case study data from interviews, observations and documents at a large public service provider in Norway, this article advances the understanding of management in complex organizations and makes the following three contributions to the institutional logics literature. First, we show how multiple institutional logics have different functions at strategic and operational levels, resembling a dynamic interplay in organizing professional work and services. Second, we show how these differences in handling multiple logics are contingent upon the different roles of the strategic managers and operational professionals. Finally, we advance the understanding of what institutional complexity may involve in organizations by disclosing how the significant conflicts stem not only from the presence of multiple logics, but also from differences within the organizations in how multiple logics are handled. Our findings have implications for the planning and management of organizational design and implementation strategies and demonstrate the utility of the institutional complexity perspective for managing complexity in contemporary organizations.


Frontline Policy Implementation in Public Organizations : A Sociological Analysis of the ‘how and Why’ of Implementation Gaps. 

Høiland, G. C. (2018). PhD Thesis no. 416. Universitetet i Stavanger.


Background and aims Innovation is promoted in politics and public service organizations as an essential factor for meeting the demands of society. How new policies or strategies can be implemented as intended in complex multi-level public organizations is a major practical and academic puzzle. We know from extensive research that there is often a gap between central policy formulations and their implementation in practice (Hill & Hupe, 2003; Hupe, 2014) created by frontline workers exercise of discretion and their outcomes (Lipsky, 1980, 2010). However, there is a need for empirical research on the ‘how and why’ of street-level implementation (Hupe, 2014) such as ‘how the workers actually arrive at their decisions’ (Goldman & Foldy, 2015 p.169), as well as the use of multi-leveled perspectives to investigate the problem of implementation gaps (Hupe, 2014). The thesis aims to investigate mismatches between centrally directed policy measures and their implementation on the operational level. Introducing the concept of ‘resistance-driven innovation’, the thesis challenges the normative tendency of viewing implementation gaps as implementation failures (Hupe & Hill, 2016).


Resistance-driven Innovation? Frontline Public Welfare Workers’ Coping with Top- down Implementation

Høiland, G. C. & Willumsen E. (2018). Nordic Journal of Working Life Studies

Employee-based innovation researchers point to the important role of welfare workers in public service innovations. Bureaucratic and New Public Management inspired managerial agendas, still widely present in Nordic welfare organizations have been tied to an increase in feelings of inau- thenticity and use of coping strategies by welfare workers. At the same time, post-NPM principles of collaboration and service tailoring are more in line with professional values of welfare workers. Drawing on a critical realist informed case study comprising qualitative interviews and observations in the Norwegian public welfare and employment services, we describe types of revision and resis- tance practices used by frontline employees when faced with top-down implementation instructions, linking them to different types of innovations. The article adds to literatures on employee-based innovation by conceptualizing resistance practices as value-motivated resistance-driven innovation that may have a function of calibrating public value creation in welfare organizations submerged in bureaucratic and NPM-inspired managerial regimes.


  • Magnussen, Siv; Andfossen, Nina Beate & Høiland, Gry Cecilie Lunder (2021). En oppsummering av kunnskap: Kommunal medvirkning og samarbeid med forsknings- miljøer om innovasjon og forskning i omsorgssektoren. Omsorgsbiblioteket.  ISSN 2464-4382.  (23)
  • Høiland, Gry Cecilie Lunder & Klemsdal, Lars (2020). Organizing professional work and services through institutional complexity – how institutional logics and differences in organizational roles matter. Human Relations.  ISSN 0018-7267. . doi: 10.1177/0018726720970274 Full text in Research Archive. Show summary
  • Høiland, Gry Cecilie & Willumsen, Elisabeth (2018). Resistance-driven innovation? : frontline public welfare workers’ coping with top-down implementation. Nordic Journal of Working Life Studies.  ISSN 2245-0157.  8(2), s 1- 20 . doi: 10.18291/njwls.v8i2.106153
  • Høiland, Gry Cecilie & Willumsen, Elisabeth (2016). Understanding implementation in complex public service organizations – implication for practice. Journal of Comparative Social Work.  ISSN 0809-9936.  11(2), s 1- 29 . doi: 10.31265/jcsw.v11i2.142
  • Høiland, Gry Cecilie & Willumsen, Elisabeth (2015). Innovasjon for mer integrerte tjenester : samarbeid på tvers i arbeidsinkludering, I: Elisabeth Willumsen & Atle Ødegård (red.),  Sosial innovasjon : fra politikk til tjenesteutvikling.  Fagbokforlaget.  ISBN 978-82-450-1587-4.  Kapittel.  s 213 - 232

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  • Tellmann, Silje Maria; Gulbrandsen, Magnus & Høiland, Gry Cecilie Lunder (2021). Finding the right research. Articulating and implementing demands for academic policy advice..
  • Høiland, Gry Cecilie Lunder (2020). Hvordan forstå avstanden mellom planlagt implementering og faktisk bruk i hverdagen.
  • Høiland, Gry Cecilie & Gulbrandsen, Magnus (2019). 'An easy match? Evidence-based policy meets science-based impact' Working paper for EU-SPRI conference 2019.
  • Høiland, Gry Cecilie & Gulbrandsen, Magnus (2019). Better together A critical discussion of the relationship between research and innovation in policy and practice.
  • Tellmann, Silje Maria; Gulbrandsen, Magnus & Høiland, Gry Cecilie (2019). Practices in Public Agencies’ R&D Departments.
  • Høiland, Gry Cecilie (2018). Frontline policy implementation in public organizations. A sociological analysis of the 'how and why' of implementation gaps..
  • Høiland, Gry Cecilie (2017). Applying critical realism in public service implementation research.
  • Høiland, Gry Cecilie & Willumsen, Elisabeth (2017). Frontline public welfare employees’ resistance practices as value-driven, employee-based innovation?.
  • Høiland, Gry Cecilie (2016). Innovasjon i arbeidsinkluderingstjenester.Top-down implementering i NAVs frontlinje.
  • Høiland, Gry Cecilie (2016). Researching a specific innovation process in NAV.
  • Høiland, Gry Cecilie (2016). Street-level bureaucrats and the paradox of embedded agency in a public policy implementation study.
  • Høiland, Gry Cecilie (2016). Street-level bureaucrats and the paradox of embedded agency through the lens of critical realism..
  • Høiland, Gry Cecilie (2015). Implementeringsprosesser i NAV. Fra ledelsesnivå til frontlinje.
  • Høiland, Gry Cecilie (2015). Understanding and researching work inclusion policy implementation in NAV. Constructing an analytical and methodological framework.
  • Høiland, Gry Cecilie (2014). The need for interorganisational and interprofessional collaborations for service innovation in work inclusion for young people with asperger syndrom..

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Published Sep. 17, 2018 1:33 PM - Last modified Nov. 17, 2020 9:00 AM