Despite the salience of public administration reforms in Europe, there is surprisingly little systematic research identifying how and whether public sector reforms have been implemented, and with what outcomes. This introductory chapter introduces the topic of public administration reform, as well as the general approach and purpose of the book. With an aim of evaluating public administration reforms in different European countries, three reform paradigms are distinguished. The first has the implementation of Weberian-style structures and processes at its core; the second is the introduction of the New Public Management, and the third brings together elements of Weberianism with aspects of NPM. A secondary objective is to study convergence and divergence in European public administration reform through a comparison across a large set of European countries.
Steven Van de Walle, Gerhard Hammerschmid, Rhys Andrews and Philippe Bezes
Rhys Andrews, Philippe Bezes, Gerhard Hammerschmid and Steven Van de Walle
This chapter discusses the lessons that can be drawn from the findings presented in the book and outlines a future research agenda for European comparative public administration. The evidence on the salience of different reform paradigms in European central governments is summarised, along with the broad patterns of convergence and divergence in reform trends across Europe. Suggestions for more detailed analyses that can build on the research presented in the book are then made. The main lessons from the book are that: (a) between 2008 and 2013 most public management reforms were of a neo-Weberian/New Public Governance (NPG) type focused on transparency, collaboration and e-government; (b) important cross-country variations in the interpretation and implementation of public management reforms still persist; and, (c) future research should focus more closely on the influence of administrative and political cultures on the causes and consequences of management reforms.
The View from the Top
Edited by Gerhard Hammerschmid, Steven Van de Walle, Rhys Andrews and Philippe Bezes
Based on a survey of more than 6700 top civil servants in 17 European countries, this book explores the impacts of New Public Management (NPM)-style reforms in Europe from a uniquely comparative perspective. It examines and analyses empirical findings regarding the dynamics, major trends and tools of administrative reforms, with special focus on the diversity of top executives’ perceptions about the effects of those reforms.
Philippe Bezes and Gilles Jeannot
Based on the COCOPS Top Executive Survey on the contents and effects of administrative reforms, the chapter on France emphasizes the specificities of the French reform during the Sarkozy mandate (2007_2012). The impact of austerity through downsizing measures in the civil service as well as a policy of organizational merging are emphasized while, by contrast, reforms emphasizing transparency or citizen participation attract little attention. In comparative perspective, France has one of the weakest ‘equipment rates’ in managerial tools in Europe, with the exception of Spain, and together with two other Continental countries, Germany or Austria. Compared to other European countries, French top public officials are more critical about changes in the public sector and perceive signals of deterioration in the civil service based on a decline of staff motivation and attractiveness but also on negative perceived effects of reform on social cohesion or citizen participation.
Gilles Jeannot and Philippe Bezes
Based on the COCOPS Top Executive Survey on the contents and effects of administrative reforms, this comparative chapter offers a picture of the variations in the spread and perceived use of public management tools in 17 European countries. Focusing on management tools offers valuable insights to capture changes in management practices. The chapter first identifies the dominance of three instruments throughout European bureaucracies: management by objectives, strategic planning and performance appraisal. It offers an exploration of organisational variations in the use of management tools, showing that agencies are equipped with more management tools than central ministries, regardless of the tools considered but also that employment and welfare are the two policy sectors with the higher prevalence of management tools. At last, the chapter emphasizes evidence of the varieties of NPMisation between four clusters of countries: highly NPM-ised like the UK, the Netherlands or some Scandinavian countries; Continental; Southern Europe and post-communist countries.