International Handbook of Public Management Reform
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International Handbook of Public Management Reform

Edited by Shaun Goldfinch and Joe L. Wallis

This major Handbook provides a state-of-the-art study of the recent history and future development of international public management reform.
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Chapter 20: Conclusion: Is There a Common Thread?

Joe L. Wallis


Joe L. Wallis In writing the conclusion to what has become a relatively large collection comprising both theme chapters and chapters providing a comprehensive account and assessment of recent public management reforms in particular countries, it is difficult to recapitulate and summarize their main observations and arguments in a way that does justice to their nuance and detail. But is it possible to identify a common thread running through these chapters? I suggest that what most of the chapters in this handbook share in common is a more or less critical response to what can be called the ‘convergence line’ advanced by the champions of NPM-style reforms. This line is reflected in the following four propositions: ● ● ● ● There is a consensus on the package of measures that should be included in the public management reform agenda. This reform package is derived from a coherent policy paradigm. The observed divergence in the implementation of this reform agenda in different countries can be attributed to differences in the strength of policy leadership key players at the center of government exercise in implementing the reform. As the new public management (NPM) agenda is advanced toward completion in an increasing number of contexts, it will come to be consolidated as a stable dominant policy paradigm in the area of public management. This concluding chapter examines each of these propositions and the critical responses they have elicited from the various contributors before going on to make some general comments about the pattern of rhetoric reflected in...

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