The “Norwegian model” has become widely used for assessment and resource allocation purposes. This paper investigates why this model has becomes so widespread and influential.
A theoretical background is outlined in which the reduction of “uncertainty” is highlighted as a key feature of performance measurement systems. These theories are then drawn upon when revisiting previous studies of the Norwegian model, its use, and reactions to it, in Sweden.
The empirical examples, which concern more formal use on the level of universities as well as responses from individual researchers, shows how particular parts—especially the “publication indicator”—are employed in Swedish academia. The discussion posits that the attractiveness of the Norwegian model largely can be explained by its ability to reduce complexity and uncertainty, even in fields where traditional bibliometric measurement is less applicable.
The findings presented should be regarded as examples that can be used for discussion, but one should be careful to interpret these as representative for broader sentiments and trends.
The sheer popularity of the Norwegian model, leading to its application in contexts for which it was not designed, can be seen as a major challenge for the future.
This paper offers a novel perspective on the Norwegian model by focusing on its general “appeal”, rather than on its design, use or (mis)-use.