Impression management in the market for residential care for children and youth in Sweden

Emelie Shanks, Tommy Lundström, Gabrielle Meagher, Marie Sallnäs, Stefan Wiklund

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
35 Downloads (Pure)


In what has become quite a turbulent quasi‐market for residential care for children and youth, providers now compete for public contracts. To create visibility and attract customers, many providers use marketing activities to project the desired impression of themselves to maintain or strengthen their market position. In this article, we analyse how companies that provide residential care for children manage the impressions they project on their websites and in advertisements. The results reveal that residential care providers use a range of impression management strategies to enhance their organizational image and to respond to potentially damaging or threatening images. The information providers choose to disclose leaves customers—in this case, the social workers responsible for choosing and purchasing care on behalf of clients—with rather limited opportunities to evaluate the quality of care. This is a significant problem considering other, more reliable, sources of information are difficult to access.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-96
Number of pages15
JournalSocial Policy and Administration
Issue number1
Early online date15 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2020. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • Sweden
  • impression management
  • privatization
  • quasi-market
  • residential care for children


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