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In addition, well-selling public management texts circulate internationally and are imported by public services organizations. Osborne and Gaebler is perhaps the best known public-management-based text. These texts and models are often produced by elite American management consultancies e. These credible forces for convergence should be considered, alongside the argument for enduring local conditions and path dependency.

Public employment and management

The lively debate about the possible advantages and disadvantages of NPM reforms will now be reviewed. At a mundane level, public agencies were given annual efficiency savings targets to meet within tighter budget rounds. The greater employment of contract-based workers rather than permanent labor is indicative of a more flexible public-sector labor market, which might drive down wage levels.

Secondly, NPM reforms seek to create more pressure for higher public agency performance. Thirdly, NPM reforms foster greater choice and give a greater voice to the users of public services, who are now construed as customers more than as citizens. These reforms may reflect wider societal values that have become less deferential and more consumerist. For example, U. In return, universities have been compelled by the sectoral regulator the Higher Education Funding Council for England to implement mechanisms to increased voice to students such as student experience surveys and to publish key performance information on their websites e.

Fourth, and as already noted, NPM reforms are often seen as a policy instrument that can promote good governance and increased transparency in developing countries, where there may be inherited problems with extensive government and high levels of corruption that make simple donations of aid ineffective. A counterargument is that arguably the elaborate contracting processes associated with NPM reforms reopen the door to corruption. In the U. NPM reforms in the United Kingdom have typically shrunk the scope of elected local government and expanded that of appointed agencies.

A good example is the moving of the old U. Knight has criticized their governance model, which essentially adopts that of the Anglo-Saxon private firm: there is a strong vice chancellor who is expected to operate as a CEO, balanced by a small and senior group of nonexecutives, usually drawn from the business sector and deliberately recruited from outside the academic sector.

Staff and student representation at board level was weak, as was the academic board supposed to provide advice on academic matters. Not all government tasks are high volume or simple, or amenable to rapid productivity increases. Interagency fragmentation was a negative feature in the New Zealand case Halligan, , which later was unpicked. Fourthly, the NPM is based on strengthening management, directed against supposedly over mighty public sector producers.

Subsequent post-NPM reforms shifted away from promoting general management back to a broader and softer notion of leadership e. This leadership style is seen as more transformational than transactional and more likely to engage with skeptical rank-and-file staff Angawi, This concept suggests that an ambidextrous organization needs to achieve a balance between short-term exploitation activity and longer-term, more creative exploration activity.

Public Administration Reform: Lessons from the World Bank

NPM reforms typically reinforce the dominance of a short-term, target- and efficiency-driven, and operational-management-oriented agenda. Yet this perspective may have negative side effects and unintended consequences. Harvey et al. So how does longer term organizational learning, creativity, and innovation occur in NPM-orientated public agencies, if it does? The danger is that its short-term focus on securing measurable improvements in operational efficiency crowds out these longer term and more diffuse capabilities that are nevertheless critical for the long-term health of these agencies.

Thus Hartley and Rashman , p. They argue that the performance agenda has been overdominant in NPM- oriented public services and has marginalized alternative learning-based approaches. The danger is that such public agencies may not be able to sense or cope with unexpected or discontinuous environmental change, be resilient when faced with sudden crises, or able to launch radical innovations. The New Public Management invites comment from the public management discipline. NPM writing has involved various social sciences, including public choice economics Niskanen, , where powerful underpinning ideas have been generated.

A major contribution comes from political-science-based authors, especially from the public administration end of that discipline. What can the discipline of public management add to this extensive political-science-informed literature? More so than in political science, management research operates at the meso level of the public services organization seen in informal and in formal structural terms or even the micro level of the individual public manager, where roles and even identities may shift as individuals resist, adapt, or embrace NPM reforms. As an initial generalization, the European management research tradition shows greater emphasis on critical and interpretive approaches; by contrast, American management research tends to tilt toward quantitative and performance-oriented work.

There are, of course, many exceptions to this assertion, given that international networks of scholars working in either approach also cross national boundaries. Some management academics are eclectic and use various theoretical framings, depending on the problem. Nevertheless, the point remains that there is now strong diversity in academic management writing incorporating various mainstream but also more critical approaches.

This section briefly reviews work from different schools of management research, suggesting that they all usefully bring in new contributions but in distinctive ways. They presented in a rough order, ranging from the quantitative and functionalist toward the interpretive and critical though there are also important schools in the middle.

Their research agenda fits well with the orthodox NPM prism and its emphasis on performance. This tradition explores the correlates and modifiers of public agency performance in among others U. Alternative questions of democracy or equity in this stream remain less explored. For example, Andrews et al. Given that NPM reforms often create autonomized service delivery organizations with discretionary managerial action e.

The competitive forces developing in quasi-market-based or marketizing sectors now containing public services organizations may make other private-sector-based models of competitive strategy e. Porter and Teisberg apply standard Porterian concepts in analyzing the failings of the large, strategically significant American healthcare sector, arguing that it needs a better value-based style of competition, not less competition. There is a question of about whether generic strategic management models should still be customized to public services contexts. We now review what might be termed a centrist school of management research from the discipline of organization studies.

Public services organizations have historically been seen as highly professionalized, for example, in the health, education, and legal sectors. Healthcare is a sector of great interest in this field, given the historic success of the clinical professionalization project. Thus some classic sociology of the professions literature has historically been particularly interested in healthcare settings. A considerable empirically informed literature has by now examined these clinical managerial hybrids, their knowledge bases, how they construct their roles, and any shifts in underlying identities.

To what extent are these hybrids able to balance what might be seen as distinct professional and managerial roles and logics? For example, Llewellyn was relatively optimistic about the ability of doctors to take on managerial roles as long as they developed more financial expertise. It was easier for them to acquire managerial expertise than it was for general managers to acquire clinical expertise.

Croft, Currie, and Lockett , by contrast, were more pessimistic about the ability of in this study nurse managers to maintain an effective balance between the two different roles. Some authors recently argued for the revival of professionalism as a governing logic against what was now seen as an overdominant and failed managerialism Freidson, Martin, Armstrong, Aveling, Herbert, and Dixon-Woods explored the fate of attempts to restimulate professional logics in service improvement projects in the English NHS to secure genuine professional engagement with change.

These projects ran into the problem that the professional logic was not the only or even the dominant logic in the current healthcare field: managerial logic retained considerable power over the allocation of resources. While much of this literature has been healthcare based, it can be applied to other public services settings with influential professions e.

On the more radical side of the spectrum of management writing, critical management studies CMS has emerged as an important academic current, especially within the European and U. It can be seen as broadly anticapitalist in orientation and open to various theoretical currents from the wider field of social science. Influences include but go beyond the Marxist tradition of labor process theory to include a gender perspective and also a developing Foucauldian body of scholarship on the way new Information and Communication Technologies ICTs morph into electronic surveillance regimes Doolin, within public agencies.

CMS scholars are interested in the distribution and use of power in organizations and are broadly critical of the top-down nature of NPM reforms, which they see as alien and as imposed on rank-and-file staff. Currie, Ford, Harding, and Learmonth outline a manifesto for CMS approaches within public management that draws on several theoretical perspectives, including Foucualdian analyses, psychoanalytic studies of organizations, and theories of gender and sexuality. In addition, some labor process scholars have examined developments in public sector organizations from a work intensification perspective see Smith et al.

Such top-down reforms, in this view Currie et al. Alongside empirically informed critique, more normative CMS argumentation imagines alternative and more emancipatory organizational settings in a post-NPM public sector Currie et al. It is thus suggested that public management research and writing on the NPM has four strong and distinctive themes, which complement and adds to the broader literature from other social science disciplines, notably political science: a performance levels in public agencies, b their strategic management, c the management of public services professionals, and d a critical perspective on resistance to NPM reforms.

After nearly thirty years of NPM scholarship, a question is, how has this corpus of work evolved over time? Hood offered a high-level analytical overview of the main defining principles of the NPM movement—including but going well beyond the narrow focus on privatization and marketization apparent in political discourse—and related them to a rising set of political values that prioritized efficiency and value for money.

As might be expected, the later handbook by Christiansen and Laegreid contained many more analyses of major NPM reforms in action, both of countries and of important sectors e. There was also an attempt to explore the effects and implications of NPM for public agencies and, indeed, publics. The final section explored possible post-NPM models and so was more forward looking although it is also possible that NPM remains embedded, as explored later in the conclusion. It is possible that management researchers have come into the field later than their political science colleagues, perhaps as the effects of macro-level NPM reforms began to become more apparent at the meso level of the public agency, which is the unit of analysis of most interest to many management scholars.

There appears to be more mileage in some of the research themes introduced in this section, notably including the need for more work on the strategic management of NPM style public agencies. Looking forward, what, if anything, is new for management scholars to say about the long-standing NPM phenomenon? This NPM embeddedness problem could be tackled from an institutionalist viewpoint Oliver, by theoretically examining which processes might be expected to occur in any such deinstitutionalization. Such a theoretical look would helpfully inform later empirically based assessments.

Thirdly, the role of the core professions within public services organizations e. Will the old logic of professionalism eventually be remobilized against empowered managerialism Freidson, ; Martin et al. The evolution of the professions and individual professionals in the public agency setting is of great interest. Do the professions restratify internally into managerial, knowledge-oriented elites and a rank and file Freidson, , or do groups of professionals collectively recolonize originally managerial domains of work Waring, ?

In conclusion, this article reviewed the key characteristics of the major public management phenomenon that is the NPM. NPM has triggered much academic writing from various disciplines, with a major influence from political science, but the substantial contributions of some very different streams of public management scholarship to the analysis of the NPM was discussed and elucidated.

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Public Policy and Administration , 10 2 , — A model of cost cutting in government in government? The great management revolution in UK central government reconsidered. Public Administration , 91 1 , — A government that worked better and cost less? Hughes, D. NHS managers as rhetoricians: a case of culture management? Sociology of Health and Illness , 18 3 , — Ibbs Report Improving management in government: The next steps. Jarrett Report Report of the steering committee for efficiency studies in universities.

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Eleven worthy aims for clinical leadership of health system reform. Boston, J. Basic NPM ideas and their development. Laegreid Eds. Farnham, U. Boston J. Public management: The New Zealand model. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Boyne, G. Public service performance: Perspectives on measurement and management. Cambridge, U. Bryson, J. Strategic planning for public and nonprofit organizations: A guide to strengthening and sustaining organizational achievement Vol.

San Francisco: Jossey Bass. Buckland, R. Universities and industry: Does the Lambert Code of Governance meet the requirements of good governance? Higher Education Quarterly , 58 4 , — Casebeer, A. Knowing through doing: Unleashing latent dynamic capabilities in the public sector. Walshe, G.

Jas Eds. Chapman, R. The next steps: A review. Public Policy and Administration , 3 3 , 3— Christensen, T. The Ashgate research companion in public management. Clegg, S. Handbook of organization studies. Croft, C. An exploration of professional hybrids. Public Administration , 93 2 , — Currie, G. Making public services management critical. Abingdon, U. Davies, A. Managerialism and accountability in higher education: The gendered nature of restructuring and the costs to academic service.

Critical Perspectives on Accounting , 13 2 , — Denis, J. Formal strategy in public hospitals. Long Range Planning , 24 1 , 71— Doolin, B. Power and resistance in the implementation of a medical management information system. Information Systems Journal , 14 4 , — Du Gay, P. In praise of bureaucracy. Dunleavy, P. Public Policy and Administration , 10 2 , 52— New public management is dead: Long live digital-era governance. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory , 16 3 , — Eisenhardt, K.

Agency theory: An assessment and review. Academy of Management Review , 14 1 , 57— Elston, T. Developments in UK executive agencies: Re-examining the disaggregation-reaggregation thesis. Public Policy and Administration , 28 1 , 66— Ferlie, E. Analysing healthcare organizations. The new public management in action. Public Administration , 89 2 , — Making wicked problems governable? The case of managed networks in healthcare.

The political economy of management knowledge: management texts in English healthcare organizations. Public Administration , 94 1 , — Strategic management in public services organizations. Foss Hansen, H. NPM in Scandinavia. Freidson, E.


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Edited by Ewan Ferlie, Laurence E. Lynn Jr., and Christopher Pollitt

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