Identifying Power Structures in a Municipal Network: The Decision-making Process Behind Buying Ängelholm-Helsingborg Airport
Abstract: Small regional airports are known to be economically unsustainable. When the previous private owner of Ängelholm-Helsingborg Airport announced their intention to shut the airport down, seven municipalities in northwestern Skåne decided to buy it. This has raised debate about whether municipalities should allocate resources to an economically and environmentally unsustainable business. The purpose of this study is to identify power structures in a municipal collaborative network, Familjen Helsingborg, and find how they affect decision-making. Additionally, municipalities’ ways to rationalise buying the airport and the roles of different stakeholders are examined. An inductive approach and a qualitative method were chosen for this research. Eight local politicians from northwestern Skåne who represented municipalities of different sizes, as well as stances for and against airport ownership, were interviewed. Different narratives were identified and thematically analysed to gain insights into the network. The dominant narratives that emerged from the empirical data include rationalising for and against airport ownership, collaboration in Familjen Helsingborg and the airport holding company, and power structures in these networks. The narratives reveal that the municipal collaboration is successful due to a lack of clear power asymmetries and an open discussion culture. This is made possible by long personal relationships and trust that comes with them, as well as actively maintaining equality between municipalities of different sizes. The politicians, both for and against buying the airport, rationalised their stances using mostly the economic value, or lack of it, that the airport generates for the region. Symbolic values were also used, but only to support the more tangible economic rationalising.
AT THIS PAGE YOU CAN DOWNLOAD THE WHOLE ESSAY. (follow the link to the next page)