The European Public Sectors in the Age of Managerialism

Publication by Giovanni Esposito (Doctoral Researcher in public sector organization and reform at the HEC Liège School of Management), Ewan Ferlie (Professor of Public Services Management at the School of Management and Business, King’s College London), Giuseppe Lucio Gaeta (Assistant Professor of Public Economics at the University of Naples ‘L’Orientale’).

Abstract :

During the past 50 years, European public sectors have undergone a profound process of organizational change, where managerial tools and principles from the private sector have permeated through governments and administrations of many countries. A substantial amount of academic literature has now been devoted to public management reforms. Many scholars have associated them with the diffusion of a managerialist ideology. However, the relationship between public management reforms, political ideology, and public expressions of support for these reforms by political parties has been a relatively under-explored topic within the literature and is the gap we address in this article. Using a longitudinal framework of study, our analysis shows how issues surrounding managerialist reforms have evolved across the electoral manifestos of European parties during the past 50 years. Our findings reveal that these reforms have enjoyed a growing political profile over time in many countries within Western and Eastern Europe. Furthermore, we also examine and discuss the differences and similarities of these reforms across countries.

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