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Unraveling the Concept of Public Governance: A Literature Review of Different Traditions

Conceptualizing and Researching Governance in Public and Non-Profit Organizations

ISBN: 978-1-78190-657-6, eISBN: 978-1-78190-658-3

Publication date: 12 February 2013

Abstract

Purpose – The “governance” term has gained ground both in the academic debate and in the political rhetoric. A growing use of the term is perceived to go hand-to-hand with a loss of conceptual accuracy. A theoretical reference able to provide a context for the development of empirical governance research is needed. The research aims at systemizing the literature developed around the governance term, identifying its building blocks; this would allow the term to become a reference point in the theory and practice of public administration.Design/methodology/approach – The chapter is of a theoretical nature and based on literature review, both exploratory and synoptic, covering substantive and methodological material.Findings – Different public governance research clusters have been compared: Anglo-Saxon, Dutch, German, Scandinavian, and Italian. Important differences, with reference to contents or related to research approaches in use, are found to exist between and within these clusters. Nonetheless, some common elements are included in the “public governance” concept.Research limitations/implications – Linguistic barriers make different literatures accessible at different degrees to the researcher, resulting in different depth of analysis. This limitation has in part been dealt with research assistance kindly provided by native language colleagues.Practical implications – The clarification of the different meanings of governance facilitates a more precise use in the policy and public management discourse. Having identified interdependencies between the different levels enables a better design of public management reforms.Originality/value – Original features of this chapter are the international comparison of different administrative traditions and the analysis of different disciplinary approaches.

Keywords

Citation

Cepiku, D. (2013), "Unraveling the Concept of Public Governance: A Literature Review of Different Traditions", Gnan, L., Hinna, A. and Monteduro, F. (Ed.) Conceptualizing and Researching Governance in Public and Non-Profit Organizations (Studies in Public and Non-Profit Governance, Vol. 1), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 3-32. https://doi.org/10.1108/S2051-6630(2013)0000001005

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited