Martin Lodge and Lindsay Stirton
Accountability in regulation will never reach a state of ‘perfection’ and stability, but will remain, given competing values and shifting priorities, in a state of continued tension and fluidity. In other words, debates require transparency regarding the very different ideas concerning the appropriate means and ends of accountability. This article develops this argument in three steps. First, it considers the background to contemporary debates surrounding accountability, pointing to traditional concerns as well as to a change in context captured by discussions about ‘polycentric’ or ‘decentred’ regulation. Second, this article points to key components of any regulatory regime over which demands of accountability are commonly asserted, and to four ways of considering institutional design and accountability. Third, and finally, this article suggests that debates on whether the rise of the regulatory state has led to a decline or rise of accountability and transparency are misplaced.
Kenneth J. Meier and Gregory C. Hill
Although numerous scholars claim the eminent demise of bureaucracy, this article argues that bureaucracy will not only survive in the twenty-first century but will flourish. The core of the argument is that the large-scale tasks that government must perform—national defense, a social welfare system, political monitoring of the economy, etc.—will remain key functions of governments in the twenty-first century and that bureaucracies, likely public but possibly private, will continue to be the most effective way to do these tasks. Bureaucracy has weathered other calls for its demise before; current efforts are likely to meet similar fates. After a brief discussion of definitions and the meaning of bureaucracy, the major sections of this article deal with six challenges to bureaucracy. Some of these challenges are intellectual; others are part of real-world ongoing reform efforts in a variety of countries.
Isabella Proeller and Kuno Schedler
This article aims to characterize French and German public administration and management, outline their specific reform trajectories, and indicate the influence both systems have had abroad. It begins by highlighting some characteristic traditions of the German and French systems. This is followed by an overview of important reform trajectories in each country, which highlights factors that have shaped the national administrative systems. The final section focuses on the influence of Germany and France on foreign public administrations.
Robert Hebdon and Ian Kirkpatrick
Few observers would dispute the fact that radical changes have been attempted in the funding and organization of public services in most developed countries. Increasingly the trend is said to be away from ‘outmoded traditional ways of organizing and conducting public business towards up-to-date, state-of-the-art methods and styles’. Such change is thought to have had implications for employment relations. The aim of this article is to present a critical overview of recent debates about the nature and consequences of public sector restructuring. It first describes some of the main characteristics of public service organizations and how these have been largely embedded in national-level institutions and policy traditions. Furthermore, this article analyses the forces that have driven restructuring and looks at how change has been associated with attempts to reshape public services through privatization and management reform.
For the last quarter century or so, decentralization has been virtually unassailable. Almost everyone has been in favor of it, from the centralized French to the already decentralized Germans; from the majoritarian British to the consensual Danes and Dutch, and so on. The aim of this article is to probe and problematize the concept of “decentralization.” More specifically, it takes note of the long history of decentralization; explores the concept, and identify its various meanings; considers the (often unspoken) alternative—”centralization”; and reviews (necessarily superficially) some of the evidence concerning the practice of decentralization.
Rod Sheaff and Jill Schofield
Inter-organizational networks have proliferated in health systems, as has network research, but coherent explanations relating the varieties of health network to their respective structures, activities and outcomes remain lacking. Focusing on their core productive processes and their governance structures, this chapter contrasts care networks with program networks. It compares these concepts with findings from some primary research on NHS health networks during 2005–10, and notes some implications for network theory and research. NHS networks’ dense, flat structures reflect these networks’ dual function as both care and as program networks. These findings are relevant to the “integrated care” networks developing in many health systems. The development of these networks appears, partly, to be a workaround for the obstacles that market and quasi-market health systems place in the way of coordinating complex care across multiple separate providers.
This article explores the key question: What accounts for the growing importance of management consultants in the public policy process? To do so, the article relies on historical-institutionalist theories emphasizing the interactions between processes of state formation (and transformation) and social knowledge. The approach used is both historical and comparative, looking at the role of consultants in public service reforms in various European and North American countries, and at how governments have used consultants since at least the 1960s with the Planning, Programming, and Budgeting System (PPBS) movement, whereas in the 1980s it was more linked to the “audit explosion” and more recently, to e-government. Whether the growing presence of consultants in government is the result of politicians who want to broaden their sources of policy advice, or of the lobbying efforts of consulting firms seeking to expand their activities in the public sector, is an open question.
Graeme Currie and Graham Martin
In this chapter we undertake a narrative analysis of health care policy reform. We consider the beguiling and rhetorical quality of health care policy reform, and how it positions “heroes” and “villains” as it attempts to shape imagined futures, under three narrative themes—management, measurement; markets. However, we highlight the policy narrative is not entirely beguiling. A countervailing professional narrative argues that regulatory bodies and clients put their trust in the experts, which has made change slow to realize in some areas. Meanwhile, a narrative critical of policy reform makes the case for a return to bureaucracy to counter excesses of flexibility, adaptability and emphasis upon delivery associated with new public management and entrepreneurial governance. To illustrate our analysis, we draw upon a particularly propitious health care setting for policy reform, that of the English NHS. We suggest our analysis is not just transferable to other national contexts, underpinned by new public managment policy, but extends to reforms in other national settings, although the detail of the management, measurement and market themes may vary on the ground, as illustrated in the case of the US and Nordic countries.
Networks and Inter-Organizational Management: Challenging, Steering, Evaluation, and the Role of Public Actors in Public Management
This article provides a brief overview of the literature on networks and looks at what it has to tell us about policy processes and public management. In essence the literature on networks and inter-organizational relations challenges some existing aspects of public management that are taken for granted. It stresses the interdependency of various organizations in realizing policy initiatives, it challenges the central position of public actors in decision making and implementation processes and it challenges the way policy processes are managed and evaluated. This article tries to explain the growth in popularity of the network concept. It provides an overview of the findings that two decades of network research have delivered. It also devotes attention to the main concepts that are used in network research. It focuses on networks as prescriptive theory and discusses the role of public manager in this perspective and the available strategies.
Robert Dingwall and Tim Strangleman
This article considers how an important social scientific concept became a management fad. It begins with the idea of culture and its history in organizational studies. It then looks at contemporary debates about the way that an understanding of culture may contribute to successful management and concludes by considering whether there are differences between public and private sectors that are relevant to this task. Anthropologists have traditionally seen the study of culture as a defining feature of their discipline: Social anthropologists, in studying the institutionalised social relationships that are their primary concern, have found it essential to take account of the ideas and values which are associated with them, that is, of their cultural content. No account of a social relationship in human terms can be complete unless it includes reference to what it means to the people who have it. Culture does not have a material existence, although physical objects may be treated as cultural artefacts, by virtue of the meanings that people assign to them.
David Coen, Wyn Grant, and Graham Wilson
What does political science as a discipline contribute to the understanding of the relationship between business and government? The field has long been a stepchild within the discipline with many fewer practitioners than the study of fields such as voting behavior, political parties, or legislatures. And yet, the relatively small number of political scientists involved in the field has generated at least four distinct debates on business and government. The first debate ironically concerns claims that the study of politics has relatively little to contribute to understanding business and government. In a highly influential book published four decades ago, the then prominent American political scientist, Charles Lindblom, argued that markets constituted a prison that robbed democratic governments of effective choice.
David M. Hart
This article argues for balancing corporate personhood—or, more precisely, the unitary rational actor political theory of the firm, which predominates in the social science literature—with two other theories of the firm that have not yet been as fully developed. These alternatives treat the firm as a complex nexus of contracts among individual rational actors or as a set of organizational routines enacted by individuals playing roles. Although the three theories sometimes yield conflicting hypotheses, they more often direct analytical attention to different phenomena. From this perspective, as the article argues, they are, at the broadest level, complementary, like the blind men who feel different parts of the elephant in the Indian folk tale.
This article discusses what the conditions of postmodernity are about, distinguishing between conditions in society (is there a postmodern epoch?) and in social research (how does one carry out postmodern research?). The subsequent focus is on how research in Public Administration has been influenced by postmodern ideas. The article's approach is inspired by an understanding that the organization of science matters. Only a brief overview of some aspects of postmodern analysis in Public Administration is delivered. It is not easy to define a sharp borderline of the analysis of Public Administration. The field itself is cross-disciplinary, and many policy analyses concern the role of Public Administration. Therefore, some segments of Policy Analysis are included, mirroring the fact that some scholars are involved both in Public Administration research and Policy Analysis.
Ewan Ferlie and Keith J. Geraghty
This article reviews the evolving literature on professionals in public service organizations. It then presents two contemporary, but alternative, narratives of public service reform, that of “New Public Management” and that of the “Governance Model,” considering implications for public service professionals. Examples are presented particularly from health care and higher education in different countries. These settings are selected because of their central role in many current reform strategies. The article outlines possible scenarios for the future and consider implications. More theoretical and empirical work is needed, but the emergent evidence points to more varied responses by professionals to public sector reform than often assumed.
Hal G. Rainey and Young Han Chun
In spite of various claims about the importance of the public–private distinction, the clearly prevailing consensus among scholars and experts on management holds that the distinction is not worth much. Many scholars have argued that the “sectors” involve such vastly diverse sets of management settings that distinctions such as public, private, and non-profit become confusing and misleading. In addition, over the years, major organization theorists have proclaimed that public and private management show more similarities than differences. These proclamations reflect a “generic” orientation among many management and organization theorists, who take the position that managers face common challenges in most or all settings, such as leading, motivating, and decision making.
Cheryl Rathert, Timothy J. Vogus, and Laura McClelland
Patient-centered care (PCC) has been a focus of health care management for many years, with emphasis ranging from the policy and health system levels to individual care at the bedside. This chapter examines the state of PCC research and practice in the early 21st Century. We discuss how PCC has been defined by scholars, practitioners, and patients. We then review current trends in the use of patient experience measures, a key focus in efforts to improve health care delivery. Conceptually, we show that an essential component of PCC is a therapeutic relationship between care provider and patient; yet, many PCC measures do not capture this. Next we review research on work environment characteristics that influence PCC. We suggest that work environments that support caring and compassion, for patients as well as for care providers, best provide a foundation upon which high quality PCC can flourish.
Jean-Louis Denis, Ann Langley, and Linda Rouleau
The notion of leadership has a long history in the administrative sciences and in popular management writings. Leadership is at the heart of what seems to make things happen in groups, organizations, or societies. This article first provides an overview of some of the dominant conceptions of leadership in the scholarly literature on organizational behavior and management. It then examines previous treatments of this topic in the public administration literature before offering three alternative conceptions that merit further development. These conceptions are grounded in a series of novel developments in sociology and organization theory that can enrich thinking about leadership in public organizations because they recognize the pluralistic nature of the organizational context within which the leaders of public sector organizations operate as well as the dynamic and collective nature of leadership processes in these settings.
This article investigates the various visions of virtuality which have been applied to public organizations over the past decade, discerning three ways in which we might expect organizations to become more virtual. It then examines the evidence to assess the extent to which organizations have experienced “virtualization.” Although the evidence does not appear to justify the wildest claims of some commentators, there is no doubt that two key trends in public management discussed elsewhere in this volume—e-government and new public management—are bringing virtuality in various guises. The final part of the article looks into the future, at the potential for these trends (and the relationship between them) for bringing further virtualization.
H. George Frederickson
Concepts of governance as public administration reflect a long-standing theoretical debate in the field, the matter of distinctions between politics, and policy on one hand and policy implementation or administration on the other. Easy dismissal of the politics–administration dichotomy serves to focus the study of public administration, particularly by some governance theorist, on the constitutional and political context of the organization and management of the territorial state or jurisdiction. From this perspective governance becomes steering and public administration becomes rowing, a lesser phenomenon in the scholarly pecking order, not to mention a lesser subject in governance. Public administration, thus understood, is the work that governments contract-out, leaving governance as the subject of our study. Although the lines between politics, policy, and administration are often fuzzy and changing, and although there is not a politics–administration dichotomy, it is nevertheless important to understand the empirical distinctions between political and administrative phenomena.