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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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Chapter 2: Bureaucracy

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


This chapter gives a historical overview of the first governance paradigm and presents the logic behind it. Today, some researchers refer to this governance paradigm as Old Public Administration, but one of the insights in the chapter is that bureaucracy is still important in many public organizations. New paradigms have, however, challenged the separation of politics and administration and the hierarchical chain of command with strong centralized control and horizontal division of labour. Rule-based governance is still important in many contexts, and most countries hire public employees based on their merits. The chapter describes how the bureaucratic governance paradigm had different expressions in different countries, and it places bureaucracy in the public governance diamond. The emphasis on rules and hierarchical governance structures means that it scores very high in terms of centralized control.

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