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
Katy Huxley, Rhys Andrews, Gerhard Hammerschmid and Steven Van de Walle
This chapter explores public administration reform trends in Europe across 17 countries and 13 policy areas. The relationship between reforms, country and policy area were considered in relation to three public management paradigms (Public Administration (PA), New Public Management (NPM), and New Public Governance (NPG)), as well as four national administrative traditions (Napoleonic, Anglo-Saxon, Scandinavian and Organicist). The relationship between country, policy area and perceived public administration performance is also assessed. Country-based analysis indicated that transparency and open government, collaboration and a results focus were significant trends across Europe, reflecting the dispersion of NPG, whilst NPM reforms, such as privatization were less significant. Overall, the analysis presented in the chapter suggests convergence in reform trends, though Napoleonic countries were likely to rate reforms as less important and perceive performance to be lower. Variation by policy area was minimal.
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.
James Downe, Rhys Andrews and Valeria Guarneros-Meza
The survey of senior civil servants in UK central government was conducted at a crucial time as the impact of the fiscal crisis was starting to be felt. These perceptions are important as they reveal what reforms and instruments are working and how things could be changed in the future. The results suggest that the UK remains more committed to New Public Management (NPM) reforms and instruments, such as contracting out, privatization and business management practices, than other European countries. These reforms also seem to have been implemented in a more top-down way, with public sector downsizing being more important than elsewhere. Nonetheless, although the attractiveness of the public sector as an employer and trust in government appear to have weakened, we find high take-up of certain post-NPM reforms and practices, such as open government and external partnership, with a corresponding pay-off in terms of improved transparency and citizen participation.