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 18: Public administration reforms in Portugal: a path between service improvement and cutback measures

Luís Mota, Maria Engrácia Cardim and Luísa Pereira


This chapter analyses the main trends and impacts of reform from the Portuguese public sector over the past three decades. It is based on a systematized and updated examination of previous studies and on results from a survey launched on Central Public Administration executives. The analysis indicates the reform process was particularly intense on issues related with bureaucracy reduction and, more recently, on management practices oriented to efficiency and results. Survey results indicate nevertheless the reform process was too top-down and cost-cutting oriented and rather unsuccessful and uncoordinated. Major recent problems are a deterioration of public sector performance, as well as decreasing levels of citizen trust in government, social cohesion and staff motivation.

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