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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 3: Professional rule

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


This chapter presents professional rule as a governance paradigm. When parts of the public sector were professionalized, the professions became important for public sector governance. Historically, professional rule has coexisted with bureaucracy, and it now coexists with the new governance paradigms. Professional rule gives autonomy to the members of occupations with specialized, theoretical knowledge and professional norms. This challenges the hierarchical chain of command, because professional rule is based on horizontal collegiality, and the (professional) leaders are considered as primus inter pares. If professional rule dominates, the loyalty of both employees and leaders with backgrounds in strong professions will primarily be to these professions and their professional associations rather than with the public organizations they work in. Given that professional norms play an important role as governance mechanism, this paradigm scores very high on the use of value articulation.

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