International Handbook on Mega-Projects
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International Handbook on Mega-Projects

Edited by Hugo Priemus and Bert van Wee

This comprehensive and accessible Handbook presents state-of-the-art research on the decision-making processes in the deliverance of mega-projects – large infrastructure projects for the transportation of people and/or goods.
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Chapter 6: New Public Management and the new features of strategic behaviour

Ernst ten Heuvelhof and Martijn Leijten


During the 1980s and 1990s New Public Management (NPM) (Hood, 1991;Osborne and Gaebler, 1992; Pollitt and Bouckaert, 2004) appeared as are action to the government management policies of the previous decades that were viewed as having become too ‘self-centred’. Governments were accused of focusing too much on political objectives rather than meeting the needs of citizens. According to proponents of NPM, government bodies and state-owned companies were not sufficiently customer oriented, and were not innovative and were inefficient. In their view, government bodies should provide better service to citizens in efficient and innovative ways. In doing so, they should use private enterprise as an example. NPM supporters claimed that private companies are aware that their survival depends on their ability to meet the needs of their customers. Competition and self-interest stimulate companies to do this efficiently. NPM aims at introducing arrangements that enable and stimulate competition and/or give more room for pursuing self-interest. These criticisms also applied, with the necessary modifications, to public transportation companies, including railway, tram and underground rail companies. These companies were also accused of being insufficiently customer-oriented, inefficient and lacking innovation.

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