Public Administration Reforms in Europe
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Public Administration Reforms in Europe

The View from the Top

Edited by Gerhard Hammerschmid, Steven Van de Walle, Rhys Andrews and Philippe Bezes

Based on a survey of more than 6700 top civil servants in 17 European countries, this book explores the impacts of New Public Management (NPM)-style reforms in Europe from a uniquely comparative perspective. It examines and analyses empirical findings regarding the dynamics, major trends and tools of administrative reforms, with special focus on the diversity of top executives’ perceptions about the effects of those reforms.
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Chapter 5: From smooth NPMization to structural changes in France: accelerated reforms, mixed perceptions

Philippe Bezes and Gilles Jeannot


Based on the COCOPS Top Executive Survey on the contents and effects of administrative reforms, the chapter on France emphasizes the specificities of the French reform during the Sarkozy mandate (2007_2012). The impact of austerity through downsizing measures in the civil service as well as a policy of organizational merging are emphasized while, by contrast, reforms emphasizing transparency or citizen participation attract little attention. In comparative perspective, France has one of the weakest ‘equipment rates’ in managerial tools in Europe, with the exception of Spain, and together with two other Continental countries, Germany or Austria. Compared to other European countries, French top public officials are more critical about changes in the public sector and perceive signals of deterioration in the civil service based on a decline of staff motivation and attractiveness but also on negative perceived effects of reform on social cohesion or citizen participation.

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