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Public Governance Paradigms

Competing and Co-Existing

Jacob Torfing, Lotte Bøgh Andersen, Carsten Greve and Kurt K. Klausen

This enlightening book scrutinizes the shifting governance paradigms that inform public administration reforms. From the rise to supremacy of New Public Management to new the growing preference for alternatives, four world-renowned authors launch a powerful and systematic comparison of the competing and co-existing paradigms, explaining the core features of public bureaucracy and professional rule in the modern day.
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Giliberto Capano and Edoardo Ongaro

This is the first book of the newly launched Edward Elgar series Policy, Administrative and Institutional Change, which we have the pleasure to direct. It represents an absolutely magnificent way of starting up such an editorial project. This work – written by leading international scholars Lotte Bøgh Andersen, Carsten Greve, Kurt Klaudi Klausen and Jacob Torfing – weaves together with utmost competence and brilliance a wide range of the topics and themes the series aims to address.

The book addresses directly two of the three areas covered by this series, namely administrative and institutional change, through the notion of the public governance paradigms. It does so in a very sophisticated way and at the same time with an ease and grace of touch which only scholars who have mastered the topic by means of their studies and research over decades, and who have been not just beholders but active shapers of some of those paradigms, can achieve.

This work is about change, which is the key explanandum of this book series, aimed at deepening the social scientific understanding of the dynamics of change processes in public administration, policy and institutions in a very profound way. It is about the ideational bases of change, and as such it sheds light on a hugely important yet often overlooked driver of transformative processes in the public sector. It also ties in key issues of legitimacy of public governance, a topic which calls for a deepening of our understanding and furthering our grasp over the ideational bases of public governance (Ongaro 2017, Chapter 5).

This is also a rare example of a book which is able to talk to scholars and practitioners alike, and does so seamlessly, guiding readers though the turns and bumps of the road that leads to understanding and appreciating public governance paradigms, with a competent hand on the substance and the rare clarity and capacity to get straight to the point in style.

It is an honour to start up this series on Policy, Administrative and Institutional Change with Public Governance Paradigms: Competing and Co-Existing. This book sheds light on large swathes of the literature and opens up paths of integration of strands of inquiry which have so far too often not been able to talk to each other. Scholars can discover in this book a treasure trove of knowledge gathered through decades of conceptualizations about ‘reform models’, ‘doctrines’ and ‘paradigms’ in public governance and management, and practitioners will find much-needed guidance on how to navigate the complexity of contemporary public governance.