Chapter 3: Neo-professionalization of the civil service: an institutional perspective on policy studies education
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The recent proliferation of degree and executive education programs in policy studies deserves closer examination. This chapter investigates this trend as a consequence of efforts to professionalize the civil service. While the practice of professional civil service has existed for centuries, recognition of a politics-administration divide provided a basis to theorize a politically neutral and professional civil service. Into the late-20th century, the academic and practitioner gaze was trained on operational efficiency and optimization, climaxing in new public management reforms. The inevitable hollowing-out of state capacity has led to a counter-movement aimed at reasserting the “public” in public services – and an associated interest in broadening bureaucratic capacity. This chapter examines these trends through the perspective of two generations of civil service professionalization, its spread via institutional isomorphism, and implications for policy studies education. The chapter applies the structure- institutions-actors perspective to analyze the case of Brunei’s Institute of Policy Studies.

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