Skill is a ubiquitous term but it is not always commonly understood. This chapter demonstrates that our understanding of skill varies, often as a reflection of our disciplinary interests. Three cross disciplinary lenses are used to examine varying views of skill: its meaning, acquisition, utilisation, recognition, and impact. These lenses: political economy of skill; skill as an organisational resource; and learning theory, enable an exploration of economic, political science, sociology, industrial relations, human resource management, organisation studies, education and psychology perspectives. It is argued that rather than a single or even cross-disciplinary view, multiple perspectives on skill are essential to effective policy development and positive influence on individual and social wellbeing.
Ewan Ferlie, Kathleen Montgomery, and Anne Reff Pederson
This introductory chapter offers an overview of the purpose and structure of the Handbook. It begins by explaining why the health care management field is a worthy object of academic study. Next, it offers a reasoned critique of two main streams of current literature in the field and then articulates three propositions that guided the Handbook structure: (i) both classic and emerging social science perspectives and theories can add analytical richness and variety to health management research today; (ii) an expanding range of health policy-related phenomena can and should be explored academically; and (iii) building a wider international literature base is a valuable endeavor. The second half of the introduction reviews the main themes of each chapter and the four Parts of the book. Finally, it discusses the extent to which the original three propositions have been fully worked out in the Handbook and where further work should take place.
The term “evaluation” encompasses a rich and dynamic set of approaches some of which are interesting counterpoints to the idea of a “happy marriage” between evaluation and new public management. The dual relation between evaluation and public management is reflected both in the content and in the design of this article. This article moves between the two, showing where they are in alignment, and where they are not. The first part of the article describes the evaluation wave, which has hit most western countries during the last decade or two. It shows that different explanations of the current interest in evaluation are possible, and that each type of explanation leads to different views on evaluation and different expectations about its promises and pitfalls. Next, it presents different approaches to evaluation. With the risk of unduly reducing the complexity of the field, the article argues that goal-oriented evaluation, theory-based evaluation, and responsive/participatory approaches to evaluation are useful labels to identify significant and often competing schools of thought in evaluation.
Stephen Bach and Ian Kessler
As human resource management (HRM) has developed as a field of study, the attention paid to public sector employment relations has been relatively limited. The preoccupation with the link between HR practice and corporate performance has been less applicable to public service organizations that are answerable to a range of stakeholders and in which HR policy has been geared to ensuring political accountability. There has been a recognition that the public sector confronts fiscal and political pressures that are altering HR practice. However, this observation has rarely been backed up by a sustained focus on people management in the public sector. This limited attention arises from characteristics of the sector. Defining the public sector is not straightforward because there are differences between countries in terms of the size, scope, and role of the sector.
Discussions of the performance of government have existed as long as government itself. Rulers—even autocratic ones—have usually sought to justify their rule by showing how it is beneficial to the ruled. In many modern democracies this has developed into a political theatre of performance where competing parties promise voters that their policies will deliver their version of “the good life”. This article starts by asking: Where does performance take place—with programs, organizations, or people? It then outlines some of the justifications and doctrines that have been developed in support of performance measurement and reporting and examines some of the counter-arguments which are typically advanced. The article then turns to examining some commonly employed models of performance and discusses performance audit. Finally, it examines what new challenges are on the horizon.
Lieke Oldenhof, Jeroen Postma, and Roland Bal
This chapter explores the meaning of place for health care governance. Although place is gaining importance in public health studies, it remains under theorized as an analytical concept. As a consequence, place is merely viewed as a context variable or a neutral backdrop for policymaking. This chapter provides a more dynamic reconceptualization of place by looking at the activity of replacing as a means to govern health care. Three different cases of re-placement of care are discussed that show how re-placements work out in practice: e-health, concentration of hospital care and neighbourhood care. The cases reveal not only the invisible work that is necessary to establish and maintain re-placements, but also demonstrate the political and symbolic uses of place for health care governance.
Patricia W. Ingraham
Reform of human resource management systems has been a prominent part of broader governmental reform and change in many nations for the past twenty years. Most often, however, it has not been the central focus. Budgetary change, downsizing, decentralization, and privatization have been more successful in capturing public and electoral attention. Of course, all of these are concerned with, or have an impact on, public employees' livelihood, compensation, motivation, and commitment to public service, that is to say, on human resource management. Most recently, distress in many western nations over the “War for Talent” or the mismanagement of vital “human capital” has given human resource management (HRM) issues a bit more urgency. Even the United States, long a champion of modest, incremental change in civil service and HR reform, is confronted by the reality of massive alterations in the way people are managed in two of the largest federal agencies: the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense.