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Article
Publication date: 14 August 2017

Per Lægreid

The purpose of this paper is to examine three substantial trends in public administration research from a Norwegian perspective with a special focus on administrative…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine three substantial trends in public administration research from a Norwegian perspective with a special focus on administrative reform that addresses organizational arrangements rather than changes of policy by focusing on government capacity and good government.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is synthesizing trends in Norwegian public administration research over the past 30 years by using existing publications and also by contrasting it to development in other countries.

Findings

The paper describes, first, the theoretical development toward meso-level theories and an institutional turn in public administration research. Second, it focuses on the methodological development toward more time series analysis and comparative and objective data. Third, it addresses the trend from processes and administrative behavior to performance and effects.

Originality/value

The paper addresses the increasing internalization of public administration research, the strengthened focus on empirical studies of “living” organizations, the need to address the big issues and large forces in public administration and also the transformative periods and unsettled situations going beyond settled stable situations.

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 30 no. 6-7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 8 October 2018

Carsten Greve, Per Lægreid and Lise H. Rykkja

The chapter summarises findings from a study on administrative reforms covering all central government ministries and agencies in 19 countries, examining reform…

Abstract

The chapter summarises findings from a study on administrative reforms covering all central government ministries and agencies in 19 countries, examining reform trajectories seen from the top of the central administrative apparatus. Core structural features of the central bureaucracy are described, along with role perceptions, values and motivation of administrative executives. Reform processes, trends, content and management tools are addressed, leading up to similarities and differences between the Nordic countries and between them and other European families of countries. A main finding is that the Nordic bureaucracy represents a layered, complex and hybrid system combining different reform trends and that there is a clear North–South divide in Europe when it comes to administrative reforms.

Details

Bureaucracy and Society in Transition
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-283-3

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Book part
Publication date: 6 July 2015

Edoardo Ongaro, Dario Barbieri, Nicola Bellé and Paolo Fedele

The chapter furnishes empirical evidence about the extent and profiles of autonomy of EU agencies, the modalities whereby they are steered and controlled, and the…

Abstract

Purpose

The chapter furnishes empirical evidence about the extent and profiles of autonomy of EU agencies, the modalities whereby they are steered and controlled, and the interactions they have in EU policy networks. It thus provides the bases for a more complete picture of the EU multi-level administration.

Methodology/approach

The research is a survey-based design. A questionnaire was administered between July 2009 and April 2010 to 30 EU agencies included in the study population. The questionnaire was sent to the executive director of all the agencies included in the study. Questions were closed-ended, either in the form of multiple choices – with one answer or with check-all-that-apply and an option for ‘other’ to be filled – or in scale format. The resulting data set included ratio, interval, ordinal, and nominal scales. The reference model employed for the investigation relies on the analytical model developed within the framework of the research project COST Action IS0651 CRIPO (Comparative Research into Current Trends in Public Sector Organization – see also ‘Acknowledgements’) for the study of public agencies in Europe (Verhoest, Van Thiel, Bouckaert, & Lægreid, 2012).

Findings

EU agencies display a rather low level of managerial, especially financial, autonomy; conversely, they enjoy relatively high policy autonomy. As to the way in which multiple ‘parent’ administration steer EU agencies, it emerges a composite picture, in which the crossroads of steering and control by the parent administrations and accountability by the agency lies in the executive director. In terms of interactions within policy networks, EU agencies interact in a significant way with the European Commission, with national-level agencies in the pertinent policy field, and with specific technical bodies where they are part of the configuration of the policy sector, whilst interactions with national ministries as well as with other EU agencies are rare. No single model can capture in full the overall features of EU agencies, although the ‘community level institution’ model seems to capture a number of the profiles of these agencies.

Research implications

Both the literature on EU multi-level administration and research agendas in public management can benefit from inclusion of – and in-depth empirical knowledge about – EU agencies. The chapter provides important empirical evidence to these purposes.

Practical/social implications

EU agencies are actors in European public policy-making, albeit to a varied extent depending on the sector. The extent of autonomy and the way in which they are held to account are crucial aspects for an enhanced understanding of their influence on European public policy-making, as is their location in European policy networks.

Originality/value

Research presented in this chapter is the first systematic empirical investigation of EU agencies encompassing networking, steering and control and autonomy of EU agencies, based on primary data.

Details

Multi-Level Governance: The Missing Linkages
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-874-8

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 24 October 2011

Tom Christensen and Per Lægreid

One of the insights gained from studying reforms in public organisations is that the political-administrative system is in a state of flux. Views of how to tackle problems…

Abstract

One of the insights gained from studying reforms in public organisations is that the political-administrative system is in a state of flux. Views of how to tackle problems and what the goals, solutions and consequences should be are changing when preconditions and constraints are changing. One important observation is that there is a mismatch between the way the public administration is organised in contemporary democracies and the wicked issues that the public sector organisations are set to handle. Big problems and tasks are seldom following organisational borders but are cutting across administrative levels, sectors and units, creating a lot of challenges for political and administrative leaders. Thus, there is a need for new steering mechanisms focusing on broad social outcomes to handle this challenge.

Details

New Steering Concepts in Public Management
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78052-110-7

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Article
Publication date: 8 December 2020

Wai-Hang Yee and Sandra van Thiel

The paper proposes that public sector organizations facing institutionalized reform pressure may not only integrate the reform into their operation when it fits but also…

Abstract

Purpose

The paper proposes that public sector organizations facing institutionalized reform pressure may not only integrate the reform into their operation when it fits but also pace the integration while undergoing organizational cultural transformations to fit with the reform. The newly cultivated cultural characteristics, nonetheless, need to be compatible externally with the ideational basis of the reform and internally with existing values and beliefs embodied by the organizations.

Design/methodology/approach

Building on a neo-institutionalist perspective, the paper develops a model which considers the possibilities and conditions that local cultural change in the reforming organizations may facilitate reform integration. To test the model's analytical potential, the paper analyzed reform responses of semi-autonomous agencies from Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden under the New Public Management (NPM) reform. Ordinary least square (OLS) regression models were performed on the survey data collected from agency heads (or representative) during the peak of the reform trend. Analyzing this sample of later adopters whose government generally enjoyed high degrees of capacity and autonomy provided a preliminary test to the model's potential.

Findings

Significant statistical relations were found between the adoption of operation-level NPM practices and the extent that an agency's cultural characteristics fit with both the ideational basis of NPM and the exiting value-belief mix the agency embodied. Agency characteristics of “proactive responsiveness” and “goal-oriented cooperation” were found significantly related to adoption of NPM practices, showing the possibility of cultivating local cultural changes in reforming organizations.

Originality/value

While compatible with neo-institutionalist emphasis on local continuity, the paper describes an alternative scenario of reform integration for public managers.

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 34 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 24 May 2012

Linne Marie Lauesen

Quality is often defined as cognitive perceptual attributes or properties, and researchers often disagree about which terms should be appropriate in determining quality…

Abstract

Quality is often defined as cognitive perceptual attributes or properties, and researchers often disagree about which terms should be appropriate in determining quality(Reeves & Bednar, 1994). Business research in marketing attaches value to the properties of quality (Zeithaml, 1988) and measures this in terms of ‘money’ and customer ‘expectations’. The idea of connecting quality to values through a persistent market – that is determining measurable accounts to products and properties – relies on the idea of an invisible hand controlling the market by competition (March, 1994; Smith, 1776/1976), and it assumes there is a reliable way to control quality and value. But discussions and debates arise when discussing the quality or value of abstract phenomena such as service.

Details

Business Strategy and Sustainability
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78052-737-6

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Book part
Publication date: 24 October 2011

Sandra Groeneveld and Steven Van de Walle

Multifaceted issues such as safety, social inclusion, poverty, mobility, rural development, city regeneration or labour market integration require integrated approaches in…

Abstract

Multifaceted issues such as safety, social inclusion, poverty, mobility, rural development, city regeneration or labour market integration require integrated approaches in their steering. Governments are looking for instruments that can address the boundary-spanning nature of many social problems. In their quest to achieve valued social outcomes, they struggle with their new role, and the inadequacy of both market working and government-led central agency. After three decades of New Public Management (NPM)-style reforms, the strengths and weaknesses of this philosophy have become widely apparent. Fragmentation is a prominent observation in many evaluations of the NPM approach. The fragmentation of both policy and implementation lead to unsatisfactory public outcomes and a heightened experience of a loss of control on the part of policymakers. Achieving valued and sustainable outcomes requires collaboration between government departments, private actors, non-profit organisations, and citizens and requires tools that integrate the lessons of NPM with the new necessities of coordinated public governance. The public administration literature has in recent years been concerned with the ‘what's next?’ question, and many alternatives to NPM have been proposed.

Details

New Steering Concepts in Public Management
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78052-110-7

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Book part
Publication date: 8 October 2018

Abstract

Details

Bureaucracy and Society in Transition
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-283-3

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Book part
Publication date: 24 October 2011

Abstract

Details

New Steering Concepts in Public Management
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78052-110-7

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Article
Publication date: 29 August 2019

Barbara Czarniawska

This paper aims to describe and explain a contemporary phenomenon.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to describe and explain a contemporary phenomenon.

Design/methodology/approach

This is an analysis of research reports and fiction texts.

Findings

Universities use mergers and acquisitions to improve their ranking positions, ignoring the effects on research and teaching.

Research limitations/implications

More attention should be paid to current managerial fashions.

Practical implications

An opposition to thoughtless fashion following may lead to positive changes.

Social implications

If you mean “societal implications”, the state of universities is very important to democratic societies.

Originality/value

These are not for the author to judge.

Details

Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, vol. 17 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1176-6093

Keywords

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