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Reforming the Public Sector

How to Achieve Better Transparency, Service, and Leadership

edited by Giovanni Tria and Giovanni Valotti

Publication Year: 2012

Many countries are still struggling to adapt to the broad and unexpected effects of modernization initiatives. As changes take shape, governments are challenged to explore new reforms. The public sector is now characterized by profound transformation across the globe, with ramifications that are yet to be interpreted. To convert this transformation into an ongoing state of improvement, policymakers and civil service leaders must learn to implement and evaluate change. This book is an important contribution to that end.

Reforming the Public Sector presents comparative perspectives of government reform and innovation, discussing three decades of reform in public sector strategic management across nations. The contributors examine specific reform-related issues including the uses and abuses of public sector transparency, the "Audit Explosion," and the relationship between public service motivation and job satisfaction in Europe.

This volume will greatly aid practitioners and policymakers to better understand the principles underpinning ongoing reforms in the public sector. Giovanni Tria, Giovanni Valotti, and their cohorts offer a scientific understanding of the main issues at stake in this arduous process. They place the approach to public administration reform in a broad international context and identify a road map for public management.

Contributors include: Michael Barzelay, Nicola Bellé, Andrea Bonomi Savignon, Geert Bouckaert, Luca Brusati, Paola Cantarelli, Denita Cepiku, Francesco Cerase, Luigi Corvo, Maria Cucciniello, Isabell Egger-Peitler, Paolo Fedele, Gerhard Hammerschmid, Mario Ianniello, Elaine Ciulla Kamarck, Irvine Lapsley, Peter Leisink, Mariannunziata Liguori, Renate Meyer, Greta Nasi, James L. Perry, Christopher Pollitt, Adrian Ritz, Raffaella Saporito, MariaFrancesca Sicilia, Ileana Steccolini, Bram Steijn, Wouter Vandenabeele, and Montgomery Van Wart.

Published by: Brookings Institution Press

Series: Brookings-SSPA Series on Public Administration

Front Cover

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Title Page

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Copyright Information

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Table of Contents

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Introduction: Challenges of Public Sector Reform

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pp. 1-10

Part One: Transparency: When the Auditor is the Society

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1. Shedding Light or Obfuscating? Audit in an NPM World

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pp. 13-25

This chapter examines the significance of audit in contemporary society. The role of audit within the public sphere—and its role in what has come to be called New Public Management, or NPM—has become the subject of intense debate.1 Specifically, this discussion focuses on the extent to which audit practices and audit work have become a dominant reference point in everyday lives of citizens as they go about their business,...

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2. Making Transparency Transparent: An Assessment Model for Local Governments

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pp. 26-47

Transparency in government is a highly regarded value, often studied by academics and emphasized by practitioners. In the literature, transparency is discussed as a tool to enhance governments’ accountability, as a principle to activate for reducing public administration corruption, and as a way to distribute information on government’s performance....

Part Two: Public Service Motivation: The Other Side of the Public Sector Productivity

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3. Does Making a Difference Make a Difference? Answers from Research on Public Service Motivation

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pp. 51-67

In a classic contribution to our insights about administrative reform, James March and Johan Olsen remind us that administrative reform typically entails two contrasting, but equally important, rhetorics.1 One is orthodox administrative rhetoric; it speaks of the design of administrative structures to facilitate the efficiency and effectiveness of bureaucracy and is mainly prescriptive...

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4. Public Service Motivation and Job Satisfaction in Various European Countries: A Tale of Caution and Hope

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pp. 68-95

The motivation of public servants in general and public service motivation (PSM) in particular have become important issues in public administration and public management research in recent years.1 Whereas the former refers to motivation in general, the latter refers to the motivation people have to contribute to society and is therefore a specific dimension of...

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5. Public Service Motivation: The State of the Art

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pp. 96-125

The concept of public service motivation, or PSM, can be traced back to 1982, when Hal G. Rainey studied middle managers at four public agencies and four private organizations to understand whether they reported any differences in their reward preferences. Results found that “public managers are higher, to a statistically significant degree, on the items concerning public service and work that is helpful to others.”...

Part Three: Leadership and Public Sector Reforms

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6. What Can We Learn from Thirty Years of Public Management Reform?

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pp. 129-135

A fundamental point is that there are always at least three kinds of learning—and especially so in the case of public management reform. The first kind is simply (or not so simply) learning what has happened. The second is unlearning—that is, learning what errors there were in some of the views that one held oneself, or influential others held, in the past. We could call this...

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7. Leadership Competencies and Their Relevance to Italian Government Reform

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pp. 136-156

Which leadership competencies are related to government reform? Since there are different types of reform, what are the specific competencies related to those distinct reform types?1 What types of reform are currently being instituted in Italy, through both the historic Legislative Decree 150/2009 and related legislative enactments, and how do they relate to the practical...

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8. Politicians and Administrators: Two Characters in Search of a Role

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pp. 157-170

Our title is a play on the title of a celebrated Italian work first performed in 1921, Sei personaggi in cerca di autore [Six characters in search of an author], by Luigi Pirandello. Pirandello won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1934, “for his bold and ingenious revival of dramatic and scenic art.” Contemporary politicians and administrators are indeed players on a public stage, seeking their appropriate contemporary roles....

Part Four: Measuring Public Sector Performance: Managing Governments by Numbers

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9. Public Sector Performance: Managing Governments by the Numbers

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pp. 173-193

To better understand how governments manage by numbers it is necessary first to look at the logic of numbers, and then at the logic of management. The logic of numbers includes a logic of consequences and appropriateness that is applied to performance. The logic of public management has increasingly included performance measures to manage internal...

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10. Strategic Management in Italian Ministries: An Empirical Assessment of Gains from and Gaps in Reforms

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pp. 194-215

In the two decades since 1990, governments have been facing very important challenges: the global financial and economic crisis, climate change, and demographic ageing are just the most recent of known issues that need to be addressed. Citizens are turning to the state, seeking immediate solutions to complex problems and demanding high-quality public services. While...

Part Five: International Perspectives on Public Sector Reforms

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11. The Study of Public Management: Reference Points for a Design Science Approach

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pp. 219-239

This chapter’s focus is on the study of public management itself, rather than on this field’s substantive concerns. The issue is how to conceive of good work within this field of study, where the functional role of such work is to contribute to research knowledge or to education about public management. In approaching this issue, I examine the argument that the form of the study...

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12. Government Reform and Innovation: A Comparative Perspective

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pp. 240-259

Twentieth-century government conducted its business through the governmental equivalent of the assembly line. For most of that time, in the United States and in other developed countries, the organizational structures of the private sector and the public sector were pretty much the same. The absence of information technology—especially large computers for storing and analyzing...

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13. Stakeholders' Inclusion: Measuring the Performance of Interactive Decisionmaking

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pp. 260-284

Interactive decisionmaking has become an established practice, especially in local governments.1 Many administrations involve citizens, social organizations, and, broadly speaking, stakeholders in the early stages of policymaking, before concrete policy proposals are developed.2 The goal of what has come to be called interactive decisionmaking is to adopt better and more democratic policy decisions and to avoid recurrent problems that are encountered...

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14. Public Sector Reforms: State of the Art and Future Challenges

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pp. 285-298

During the meeting of Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development ministers held in Venice on November 15, 2010, chaired by Renato Brunetta, the Italian minister for public administration and innovation, the most crucial concern was productivity in the public sector. As stated in the conference proceedings: “Boosting public sector productivity and maximizing...


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pp. 299-300


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pp. 301-311

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9780815722892
E-ISBN-10: 0815722893
Print-ISBN-13: 9780815722885
Print-ISBN-10: 0815722885

Page Count: 311
Publication Year: 2012

Series Title: Brookings-SSPA Series on Public Administration