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Karianne Nyheim Stray

Karianne Nyheim Stray is a Public sector PhD employed by the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV), pursuing a PhD in Person-centred Healthcare Research at the University of South-Eastern Norway (USN).

Portrettbilde Karianne Nyheim Stray. Foto: Anne Nøstdal Glemme Karianne Nyheim Stray. Foto: Anne Nøstdal Glemme

In her PhD project, Stray studies caseworkers in the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Service (NAV) and their collaboration with employers in following-up sick listed employees. Specifically, she concentrates on a mandatory meeting termed Dialogue meeting No. 2 (DM2) between the sick listed person, his or her employer, doctor and the NAV caseworker. How the different stakeholders may contribute to the sick listed person’s return to work, is the agenda of the meeting. The dialogue meeting is also part of Norwegian government activation labour market policies (ALMP), defined as various measures that condition citizens’ financial support from the state. Law regulates such following-up routines and processes, however there is considerable use of discretion in implementation work. NAV caseworkers therefore play a pivotal role regarding implementing superior government policies and at the same time, providing tailored services to the individual citizen. While most ALMP research focus on the policy implications for the individual client, Stray studies the perspectives of frontline workers and their collaboration with employers. She conducts an ethnographic case study consisting of several data sources. She has collected reports, made tape recordings of DM2-meetings, conducted fieldwork and conducted in-depth interviews with NAV caseworkers at two different NAV offices. By gaining further knowledge on frontline work on the sickness benefit area, Stray aims to contribute to developing social services for the benefit of the organisation as well as for the clients.