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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 10: Managing a public sector with competing and co-existing governance paradigms

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


The criteria for managerial performance and success varies with the paradigms. In this chapter, it is discussed how managers may act in accordance with the rationale and the assumptions that are inherent in each of the seven paradigms. It is argued that each paradigm represents a normative and institutional framework that the managers have to decode, decipher, understand and act in accordance with, in order to harvest the full potential of the paradigm and gain and maintain legitimacy. In doing so they become capable of playing the roles stipulated by the paradigm. This, however, is not without problems and poses a number of challenges and dilemmas for the managers who have to identify with and act in accordance with moving targets as paradigms evolve, co-exist and intertwine, and as power is diffused between central actors accordingly.

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