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The tides of agencification: literature development and future directions

Budi Waluyo (Department of Financial Management, Polytechnic of State Finance STAN, Tangerang Selatan, Indonesia)

International Journal of Public Sector Management

ISSN: 0951-3558

Article publication date: 15 September 2021

Issue publication date: 3 January 2022




This review frames the state of agencification studies to explore the development and results achieved to date (Q1: what has been done?) and identify future directions (Q2: what could be done?) of the studies.


A systematic approach is carried out to summarize how agencification is adopted, variability of implementation, and its effects, from literature published in the past 48 years (1973–2020). Eligibility criteria include a combination of literature quality (number of citation) and source reputation (journal impact factor). From this, 84 articles and 9 books were included in the review.


The review finds various country-specific adoptions of agencification and some similarities and differences of agencification practice across various administrative settings. Studies on the effects of agencification is limited and offer mixed results. Meanwhile, little attempt was made to reveal how micro-processes are happening in the everyday practice of agencification. The paper outlines a set of research agenda and possible alternative approaches for future studies.

Research limitations/implications

This review provides an avenue for scholars and practitioners to pay more attention to the “street level” of agencification. Future studies may challenge New Public Management's view of agencification by proposing new perspectives based on a direct observation.


This study contributes to the growing amount of agencification studies by synthesizing theoretical and empirical works across countries covering developed and developing economies in local, regional, and national levels of government.



The author wishes to thank Hendrik Vollmer (University of Warwick), Ulrike Marx (University of Leicester), Benny Tjahjono (Coventry University), Sandra van Thiel (Erasmus University) and three anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on a previous version of the paper. This study was funded by Lembaga Pengelola Dana Pendidikan (LPDP, in English: Indonesia Endowment Fund for Education) of the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Indonesia.


Waluyo, B. (2022), "The tides of agencification: literature development and future directions", International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 35 No. 1, pp. 34-60.



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