Public Management: Seven Propositions

Christopher Hood

in The Art of the State

Published in print February 2000 | ISBN: 9780198297659
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599484 | DOI:
Public Management: Seven Propositions

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Discusses three conventional assumptions that are made about public management: that it is in the throes of a millennial transformation to a new style; that today's ‘new’ public management ideas differ sharply from those of earlier eras; and that the favoured doctrines of contemporary public management tend to be dubbed as economic rationalism. Goes on to point out that the book looks at public management from a different perspective, and reduces its arguments to seven related propositions, discussed in the remainder of the chapter that: grid/cultural theory captures most of the variety in both current and historical debates about how to organize public services; application of a cultural‐theory framework can illuminate many of the central analytic questions of public management; if we look across time and space, we can identify ideas about how to organize government and public services that correspond to each of the four polar categories contained in cultural theory; no one of those recipes for good organization has a clear claim to be considered more modern than any of the others and each has in‐built weaknesses; variation in ideas about how to organize in government is not likely to disappear; the dimensions identified by cultural theory enable analysis of organizational variety to be pursued at a range of levels; and the understanding of cultural and organizational variety, within a historical perspective, merits a central place in the study of public management. These seven propositions overlap, and some of them are given more space than others in the book; this chapter concentrates mainly on the first proposition, and aims to introduce grid/group cultural theory in the context of public management, but the other six propositions are also discussed more briefly, as a way of setting the scene for the remainder of the book.

Keywords: cultural theory; cultural variety; grid/cultural theory; organization of government; organization of public services; organizational variety; public management; public services

Chapter.  7337 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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