This draft comment has been prepared for a panel on public management research and the state to be held at the research conference of the Public Management Research Association at the University of Aarhus in June 2016. Comments and responses are welcome.
By Brint Milward. About thirty years ago a cadre of young scholars (the writer included) began a movement to reorient public administration toward “the study of public management.” This was a movement that had two goals; the first was to break with the tradition of public administration, especially the normative aspects of it and second with behavioral political science. The belief was that as a professional field advice should be based on the empirical study of the structure and functioning of public organizations.
This approach had certain implications about what the “big questions” were in the field. It also had implications about what the level of analysis was (managers, organizations, and programs) and also carried with it some assumptions about preferred method of inquiry (quantitative and synchronic). There is no arguing with the success that the public management movement has had in the United States and around the world. Whether in China, parts of Western Europe, or the United States, this is the dominant mode of research in public administration, and it has made public administration much more of a social science than it was before.
But this success has not been without its cost. Read the rest of this entry »
Yves Tiberghien replies to a commentary on global governance research by David Coen and Tom Pegram: David Coen and Tom Pegram are right on two counts: our current global governance system is not working and our current theories of global governance are too fragmented to help us analyze the situation and suggest improvements. Yet, the problem is even more serious than what they describe. In fact, the current combination of systemic risks, dramatic power shift, and entropic forces facing our existing global governance architecture could well overwhelm it. And we could well miss it until it is too late.
Professors Brint Milward and Alasdair Roberts invite expressions of interest from academics interested in participating in a panel to be held at the Public Management Research Conference at Aarhus University on June 22-24, 2016. The short papers produced for the panel will be published as a collection in Governance 30.3 (July 2016).
Individuals who participate in the panel will be asked to write a short paper, not exceeding 1500 words, for submission by January 30, 2016. The short paper should address the theme: “Is public management research neglecting the state?” By this, we mean to ask whether public management research gives adequate attention to topics such as (1) recent changes in the architecture of the state; (2) longer-term processes by which state capabilities evolve; (3) the ability of existing state structures to address emerging challenges such as terrorism, climate change, economic transformation, or mass migration; and (4) the adequacy of mechanisms for maintaining control and accountability over state structures.
This project continues a discussion begun during the plenary session on “the state and public management” that was held at the 2015 Public Management Research Conference at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota.
By Sandford Borins. The results of the Oct. 19 Canadian election were both definitive and surprising: a majority government for the Liberal Party of Canada, which in the previous election had run third and was in danger of disappearing, and the defeat of a decade-old Conservative regime that had won the three previous elections by increasing margins and governed with ruthless political efficiency. Though public sentiment that it was time for a change had grown, the two major left-of-centre parties, the Liberals and the New Democrats, were competing with one another to capitalize on that sentiment. The Liberal Party won the election with a platform that moved noticeably to the left, a leader who conveyed optimism and passion, and an advertising campaign that overcame the Conservatives’ expertise in negativism.