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Financial management reforms after a political shift: a transformative perspective

Wouter Van Dooren (Public Management Institute (KULeuven), Leuven, Belgium)
Miekatrien Sterck (Public Management Institute (KULeuven), Leuven, Belgium)

International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management

ISSN: 1741-0401

Article publication date: 1 August 2006




The purpose of the article is to study the transformation of reform discourse after a major political shift and to discuss some of the factors that may explain change and continuity in reforms.


The study is an embedded case study of four financial reform initiatives in two countries with a political majority system: Australia and the USA. Data gathering is a combination of face‐to‐face interviews and the study of secondary sources.


Reforms do survive political shifts, but they are transformed through political and administrative processes. The retranslation of reforms seeks a correspondence to the dominant ideological environment and challenges the balance of power. Political élites are important but the position of political élites cannot be interpreted solely from their party political standpoint. Reform discourse is a relevant research subject to study the dynamics in reforms.


The main research issues in reform research are about the gap between rhetoric and reality, and the convergence and divergence between countries. The article adds to existing reform literature by focusing on transformation throughout time and on the political aspects of reforms.



Van Dooren, W. and Sterck, M. (2006), "Financial management reforms after a political shift: a transformative perspective", International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, Vol. 55 No. 6, pp. 498-514.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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