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Riin Savi and Tiina Randma-Liiv

The chapter demonstrates that after more than 20 years of radical reforms and changes, the Estonian public sector is still highly reform oriented, especially when compared to the other European countries. The public sector managers report intensive use of various management instruments, and numerous public administration reform trends are held relevant and are being concurrently pursued. The prevalent public administration reform trends are focused at improving coordination and collaboration among different public sector actors, enhancing transparency and e-government via e-services. These reform initiatives are aimed at overcoming the current horizontal fragmentation of the public sector institutions and delivering public services more efficiently and effectively.

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Tiina Randma-Liiv and Riin Savi

This chapter outlines the responses of European governments to the recent financial crisis with special focus on cutback strategies, consolidation measures and effects of crisis on public management patterns. Applying cutbacks during the fiscal crisis was not a one-off event, but consisted of a series of stages in the majority of European countries. Among personnel cuts, hiring freeze was the most widely applied cutback measure, followed by pay freeze, pay cuts and the reduction of staff through layoffs. All European governments demonstrated a shift towards a higher degree of centralisation in decision-making which was operationalised through the extensive increase in the power of the Ministries of Finance and of organisational budget planning units, along with the general increase in centralisation of organisational decision-making. Crisis-led pressure for public administration reform was the largest in countries that were most severely hit by the crisis and had been compelled to request foreign financial assistance.

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Külli Sarapuu and Tiina Randma-Liiv

Small states have to live with a number of ‘governance paradoxes’ that derive specifically from their size and lead to unavoidable trade-offs in choosing appropriate response measures. This chapter seeks to unpack the constraints and opportunities that result from a relatively small population size, and including the small size of the public administration. It offers a rare but systematic overview of the core characteristics of small state public administrations, the limitations and opportunities that accompany them, and their impact on small state governance. The discussion focuses on the five core components of public administration systems that have been at the centre of public management reforms in the last decades: budgetary systems, personnel systems, public sector organization, performance measurement, and openness and transparency.

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Tiina Randma-Liiv and Külli Sarapuu

This chapter examines the issues and challenges facing small states. It points out that the challenges are often of an entirely different order to those faced by larger polities and that the lack of resources, especially human resources, is a limiting factor to the ability to change and modernize. They note there is a dearth of published research on small states and that the notion of what constitutes a small state is itself often a contested concept. They make the pertinent point that small countries are not simply smaller versions of larger ones. The chapter argues that as well as there being a qualitatively different nature to small states, the research needs to reflect this and explore notions and concepts of democracy from a small state perspective.

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Per Lægreid, Tiina Randma-Liiv, Lise H. Rykkja and Külli Sarapuu

Across Europe there has been an increasing trend towards addressing coordination problems within the public sector. New administrative instruments and reforms have been introduced to deal with the alleged disintegration or fragmentation brought about by NPM, to increase steering capacity and to deal with ‘wicked problems’. This chapter examines top executives’ assessments of horizontal and vertical coordination problems both internally, within the central government, and externally, in partnerships with stakeholders in the private and civil sectors. We present survey data from 17 European countries and explore variations in role identification relating to coordination culture, coordination mechanisms, the assessment of coordination quality and public management performance with respect to coordination. The study shows that although hierarchy is still a dominant coordination mechanism, the perceived quality of coordination is more linked to the use of network-type arrangements and the presence of a coordination culture.