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Changing competences of public managers: tensions in commitment

Turo Virtanen (Department of Political Science, University of Helsinki, Finland)

International Journal of Public Sector Management

ISSN: 0951-3558

Article publication date: 1 July 2000



The literature on managerial competences has not sufficiently addressed the value contents of competences and the generic features of public managers. This article presents a model of five competence areas: task competence, professional competence in substantive policy field, professional competence in administration, political competence and ethical competence. Each competence area includes both value and instrumental competences. Relatively permanent value competences are understood as commitments. The assumptions of new public management question not only the instrumental competences but also the commitments of traditional public service. The efficacy of human resource development is limited in learning new commitments. Apart from structural reforms that speed up the process, the friction in the change of commitments is seen as slow cultural change in many public organisations. This is expressed by transitional tensions in task commitment, professional commitment, political commitment, and ethical commitment of public managers.



Virtanen, T. (2000), "Changing competences of public managers: tensions in commitment", International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 13 No. 4, pp. 333-341.




Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

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