Chapter 13: Explaining contextual influences on the dynamics of public management reforms: reflections on some ways forward
As summed up by Christopher Pollitt in a co-authored paper based on a wide analysis of both academic and grey literature on the impact of (new public management [NPM]-type) public management reforms in Europe, the development of scholarly knowledge about the understanding of contextual influences on the dynamics of public management reforms has led to the recognition that certain ‘factors’, properly positioned along time and scale dimensions, exert an influence in a certain direction (facilitate vs. prevent) on certain contents of public management reform (Pollitt and Dan, 2011, pp. 35–47). This state of the art leaves the question ‘how can we then move forward and better qualify causal patterns?’ yet to be fully addressed, as it does for related questions such as ‘how can we bridge the stream of research on public management reform trajectories in different countries2 (which is by definition at a ‘macro’ level of analysis3) with strands of research in public management which aim at comprehending causes and effects in public management by uncovering what happens at more ‘micro’ a level (for example, the stream of research on Public Service Motivation [PSM] – see Perry and Hondeghem, 2008 and Vandenabeele and Hondeghem, 2008 – focused on the motivational structure of individuals working for the public sector)?’.
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