Handbook of Innovation in Public Services
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Handbook of Innovation in Public Services

Edited by Stephen P. Osborne and Louise Brown

Leading researchers from across the globe review the state of the art in research on innovation in public services, providing an overview of key issues from a multi-disciplinary perspective. Topics explored include: context for innovation in public services and public service reform; managerial change challenges; ICT and e-government; and collaboration and networks. The theory is underpinned by seven wide-ranging case studies of innovation in practice.
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Chapter 1: Explaining patterns of public management reform diffusion

Joe Wallis and Shaun Goldfinch


The diffusion of substantively similar reforms in significantly diverse settings is a subject of considerable interest in the field of public policy and public administration. This is reflected in the volume of literature that has developed over the last 25 years on the diffusion of New Public Management (NPM) prescriptions. Different scholars have suggested different criteria for determining their substantive similarity. For example, Hood (1991) finds a commonality in their tendency to privilege ‘efficiency’ over both ‘fairness’ and ‘safety’ values while Dunleavy et al. (2006) find integrating NPM themes in processes of ‘disaggregation’, ‘competition’ and ‘individualisation’. In this chapter we propose that the overarching common theme of NPM is the adoption of putative market and private sector business practices into the management of the public sector.

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