Public Management Reform and Modernization
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Public Management Reform and Modernization

Trajectories of Administrative Change in Italy, France, Greece, Portugal and Spain

Edoardo Ongaro

Since the 1980s, a wave of reforms of public management has swept the world. The investigation into the effects of such major transformations has, however, been unbalanced: important countries have received only limited attention. This timely book fills the gap by investigating the dynamics of contemporary public management reform in five European countries that gave shape to the Napoleonic administrative tradition – France, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain.
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Chapter 5: Explaining the Dynamics of Public Management Reform in Italy

Edoardo Ongaro


INTRODUCTION This chapter aims at providing explanations for the dynamics of public management reform in Italy, thus addressing the first research question set out in Chapter 1: what are the dynamics of the formulation and implementation of public management reform in Italy? Or, more directly, what explains public management reform in Italy? By ‘explanation’ we mean providing a satisfactory understanding of why authoritative decisions about reforming the public sector were taken, and especially why certain outcomes of public management reforms in terms of process and system changes occurred or did not occur. We will broadly consider both the formulation and the implementation of the policy of reform of the public sector. To this purpose, we will draw also on the explanations provided in the previous two chapters about the unfolding of each component of the reform trajectory: (1) reform of financial management; (2) reform of performance measurement; (3) reform of personnel management; (4) reform of the macro-level organization of the public sector, and specifically the two dimensions of decentralization and devolution, and the coordination mix; and (5) the transformations that occurred in the organizational design of individual public sector organizations. Building upon those explanations, we will make an attempt at elaborating a larger explanatory framework about the factors affecting public management reform in its many components in Italy, a framework that will be revisited and elaborated in Chapter 6 through the comparative investigation of France, Greece, Portugal and Spain. In the search for ‘candidate’ explanations, we will first resort to...

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