Innovation in Public Sector Services

Innovation in Public Sector Services

Entrepreneurship, Creativity and Management

Edited by Paul Windrum and Per Koch

This groundbreaking book provides new key insights and opens up an important research agenda. The book develops a new taxonomy of the different types of innovation found in public sector services, and investigates the key features and drivers of public sector entrepreneurship. The book contains new statistical studies and a set of six international case studies in health and social services.

Chapter 2: New Public Management and Cultural Change: The Case of UK Public Sector Project Sponsors as Leaders

Mark Hall and Robin Holt

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship, management and universities, organisational innovation, public management, economics and finance, services, education, management and universities, innovation and technology, organisational innovation, politics and public policy, public administration and management


Mark Hall and Robin Holt 2.1 INTRODUCTION Of the many initiatives aimed at improving the innovate nature of public service provision, one of the most significant in the UK has been the introduction of New Public Management. The spirit of this managerial reform is one of accountability in which public servants recognize and embrace responsibility for the direct delivery of service by being answerable to the clients and politicians, and open to competition from other potential providers. The idea is that this operational and limited strategic latitude and results-oriented assessment affords the civil servants institutional space to innovate based on their own insight and experience, relatively free from the shackles of daily political interference. Hood and Scott (2000) describe this as a bargain, where civil servants give up their right to anonymity and permanent positions and in exchange politicians give up their right to interfere in the managerial space of service provision. The hope is that in being free to act and innovate and having responsibility for the outcomes, improved service provision will result. What we investigate in this chapter is an empirical case of New Public Management in operation; specifically the cultural conditions by which the innovative aspirations of New Public Management might take root. We identify those experiences in which innovation was inhibited in some way (notably in the persistence of political influence, albeit in more formal, arm’s-length guises) and where, given the space, civil servants were able to innovate. 2.2 NEW PUBLIC MANAGEMENT...

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