Calamity, Conspiracy, and Chaos in Public Management

Christopher Hood

in The Art of the State

Published in print February 2000 | ISBN: 9780198297659
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599484 | DOI:
Calamity, Conspiracy, and Chaos in Public Management

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In Chapters 2–3 of the Introduction, the cultural‐theory framework is used to explore two central problems of public management—the analysis of the characteristic ways in which different forms of organization can collapse and fail (this chapter), and the analysis of the range of forms of control and regulation (in the broadest sense) available in public management (the next chapter); in both cases, an examination through the lens of cultural theory can add an extra dimension or an alternative perspective to the analysis. Aims to show how a cultural‐theory perspective can assist the analysis of public management failure and collapse in two ways. First, such a perspective can help bring out some of the varying and contradictory attitudes towards scandal or catastrophe in public management, in the sense of who to blame or how to put matters right. Second, the four basic organizational ways of life that cultural theory identifies (as introduced in the first chapter) can each be expected to have its own characteristic pattern of in‐built failure. The different sections are Responses to Public‐Management Disasters; Four Types of Failure and Collapse; Private Gain From Public Office; Fiascos Resulting from Excessive Trust in Authority and Expertise; Unresolved Conflict and Internecine Strife; Apathy and Inertia: Lack of Planning, Initiative, and Foresight; and Accounting for Failure in Public Management.

Keywords: apathy; authority; calamity; chaos; collapse; conspiracy; cultural theory; expertise; failure; inertia; initiative; internecine strife; planning; private gain; public management collapse; public management failure; public management; public organization; unresolved conflict

Chapter.  9528 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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