Reforming the Public Sector
How to Achieve Better Transparency, Service, and Leadership
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: Brookings Institution Press
Table of Contents
Introduction: Challenges of Public Sector Reform
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Part One: Transparency: When the Auditor is the Society
1. Shedding Light or Obfuscating? Audit in an NPM World
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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,...
2. Making Transparency Transparent: An Assessment Model for Local Governments
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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
3. Does Making a Difference Make a Difference? Answers from Research on Public Service Motivation
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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...
4. Public Service Motivation and Job Satisfaction in Various European Countries: A Tale of Caution and Hope
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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...
5. Public Service Motivation: The State of the Art
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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
6. What Can We Learn from Thirty Years of Public Management Reform?
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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...
7. Leadership Competencies and Their Relevance to Italian Government Reform
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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...
8. Politicians and Administrators: Two Characters in Search of a Role
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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
9. Public Sector Performance: Managing Governments by the Numbers
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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...
10. Strategic Management in Italian Ministries: An Empirical Assessment of Gains from and Gaps in Reforms
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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
11. The Study of Public Management: Reference Points for a Design Science Approach
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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...
12. Government Reform and Innovation: A Comparative Perspective
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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...
13. Stakeholders' Inclusion: Measuring the Performance of Interactive Decisionmaking
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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...
14. Public Sector Reforms: State of the Art and Future Challenges
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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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Page Count: 311
Publication Year: 2012
Series Title: Brookings-SSPA Series on Public Administration