Handbook on Theories of Governance
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Handbook on Theories of Governance

Edited by Christopher Ansell and Jacob Torfing

In the past two decades, governance theories have arisen semi-independently across multiple disciplines. In law and regulation, planning, democratic theory, economics, public management, and international relations, among other disciplines, scholars have sought to describe new strategies of governing. As a result, the notion of governance is now one of the most frequently used social science concepts in the world. No single theory encompasses this diverse body of work, but rather multiple theories with different aims and perspectives. The Handbook on Theories of Governance collects these theories of governance together as an analytical resource for governing in an increasingly complex, fragmented and dynamic society.
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Chapter 3: Public management theory

Zoe Radnor, Stephen Osborne and Russ Glennon


This chapter argues that the underlying logic of public service delivery has been flawed and needs to be re-addressed through engagement with service theory. It outlines briefly the development of the prevailing paradigm of public management from public administration and develops a critique of its product-dominant bias. The chapter then presents a discussion of the development of New Public Governance from New Public Management and explores the potential of a public service-dominant logic to generate insights that are more ‘fit for purpose’ for contemporary public services. The final section of the chapter draws together reflections on this new approach to understanding public management.

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