You are not currently logged in.

Login through your institution for access.


Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

Governance in a Changing Environment

Governance in a Changing Environment

B. Guy Peters
Donald J. Savoie
Copyright Date: 1995
Pages: 352
Stable URL:
Find more content in these subjects:
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Governance in a Changing Environment
    Book Description:

    Fiscal cutbacks, the public's declining confidence in government, and new ideologies are forcing the public sector in industrialized democracies to undertake major reforms. In these essays contributing authors examine changes to the political and economic environment and the ways in which governments have responded. The essays explain what is happening in government in the late twentieth century and suggest changes that can be expected in the future.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6550-0
    Subjects: Political Science
    × Close Overlay

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations
  1. Front Matter (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface (pp. vii-x)
  4. Acknowledgments (pp. xi-xii)
    • Introducing the Topic (pp. 3-19)

      Governance is a fundamental problem for any society. The root word for governance, and also for government, refers to steering and thus we are concerned in this volume with the ability of human institutions to control their societies and their economies. Regardless of the nature of the society, there must be some means of responding to the inevitable host of demands for collective action and to the host of collective and individual human needs. The political system, or the “State,” is the mechanism usually selected to provide this collective direction to society. By employing its right to issue laws, its...

    • The Civil Service Culture and Administrative Reform (pp. 23-54)

      The fact that officials and other agents of the public service share a particular culture would seem to directly affect (or limit) any real opportunities to reform the governmental machine. When administrations seek to introduce management techniques or to transform the relationships they maintain with users, all governments of the industrialized Western world are confronted with the fact that the public service is organized around values that are not identified either with politicians’ values or with cultural phenomena occurring across society. For historical, sociological, and functional reasons, the public service cannot be considered as an undifferentiated group of men and...

    • The Marketization of the State: Citizens, Consumers, and the Emergence of the Public Market (pp. 55-81)

      The days when it made sense to perceive politics and markets as separate spheres of society and as different systems of resource allocation appear to be gone forever. Neither politics nor markets exist in their ideal forms in current capitalist democracies. Instead, it makes more sense to speak of different mixes in politics and different “patterns of subordination” between the two spheres of society (Offe 1984:38-45). Thus, following a period of political intervention in different markets, market-driven theories are today penetrating the public sector of the Western democracies.

      Some might find this to be a counter-intuitive or paradoxical statement. Many...

    • Globalization, Nation States, and the Civil Service (pp. 82-110)

      Looking back, one could easily conclude that the national civil services in many Western countries lost their way in the 1980s. It is considerably more difficult, however, to pinpoint precisely the reasons. Still, we know that public bureaucracies came under attack for a variety of reasons and from different quarters; the global economy is such that nation states exist today in an increasingly interdependent and competitive environment, with some experts insisting that “the nation state has become too small for the big problems of life and too big for the small problems of life” (Bell 1986:6). The political leaderships of...

    • Politicians, Public Servants, and Public Management: Getting Government Right (pp. 113-137)

      The malaise in contemporary governance, which began with the politics of restraint in the 1970s, sparked off a revolt against government that has yet to run its course. Everywhere governments continue in their efforts to roll back the state through some combination of privatization, contracting out, deregulation, expenditure reduction, program termination, downsizing the public service, and measures to contain pressures on the public purse. In many, but not all, Western democracies, bureaucracy-bashing accompanied the politics of restraint. In the Anglo-American democracies in particular, career public services were subject to an assault by politicians that was unprecedented in this century. Relations...

    • Policy Advice and the Public Service (pp. 138-172)

      The senior public service has not been immune from the tide of public sector reform with conscious action taken to target both the status of officials and their policy advisory role. The provision of policy advice was affected by readjustments in the central relationships that governed and shaped the conduct of public affairs. As a result, politicians have placed greater demands on senior bureaucrats. The increasing complexity of the policy environment has also been critical for the conduct of advising government. There has been a broadening of sources of advice, with the expanding involvement of actors both within and beyond...

    • Accountability and Administrative Reform: Toward Convergence and Beyond (pp. 173-199)

      In the report on progress attached to the first annual report on the implementation of Public Service 2000, the Clerk of the Privy Council, writing of accountability, insisted that “the principles are clear” (Tellier 1992:79). On the very next page, however, he noted:

      To put it more simply, Public Service 2000 involves the increased delegation of decision-making authority from headquarters to points of service delivery. Only by pushing authority down and out to the regions can federal departments and agencies provide services with the quality and efficiency that Canadians are demanding. At the same time, departments must assure Ministers, Parliament,...

    • Management Techniques for the Public Sector: Pulpit and Practice (pp. 203-238)

      There is a suspicious similarity to the sermons of many Western governments concerning the progress of the “new public management” (Hood 1991). Responsibility is to be decentralized, targets - not procedures - are to become the key focus for public officials, costs will be cut, bureaucracy eliminated, standards raised, and service to the citizen-customer thrust to the foreground of concern (see, e. g., Auditor General of Canada 1993; National Performance Review 1993; Prime Minister 1991). What is more, all these actions will be continuously monitored and evaluated (see, e.g., Duran and Monnier 1992; H.M. Treasury 1988). Taken together they will...

    • Quality Management in Public Organizations: Prospects and Dilemmas (pp. 239-259)

      In the past two decades, two sets of organizational reforms have been introduced in both public and private organizations that have struggled to become smaller, more flexible, and more innovative. There are tensions between the intent and the processes of the two sets,but they have often been adopted simultaneously or in close sequence. One set of reforms is characterized by an emphasis on greater efficiency, improved responsiveness to elected officials and various of decentralization and/ or privatization. Activities include pay performance, better financial management, contracting out, and movement of public corporations and activities to the private sector (Pollitt 1990; Hood...

    • Public Sector Innovation: The Implications of New Forms of Organization and Work (pp. 260-287)

      The common objective of this volume is to assess the impact of a number of important trends in the socio-economic environment of government on the theory and practice of public management. This particular chapter will look at how three major trends - the revolution in information technology, the pressure of financial constraint, and the challenge of a diverse work force - are shattering the traditional bureaucratic paradigm of public management.¹ After exploring this point on a conceptual level, we will look at concrete evidence about how a number of leading-edge public sector organizations, identified among the winners of two major...

    • The Public Service, the Changing State, and Governance (pp. 288-320)

      Dwight Waldo (1968) once wrote that public administration has had so many identity crises that in comparison the life of the average adolescent appeared idyllic. Professor Waldo was discussing public administration as an academic discipline, but the contemporary practice of public administration displays much of the same uncertainty. The questions of practice concern the structure of government, management of those structures, and the proper role of public administration in governance. Many of the old certainties about government and the role of the public service are now either totally altered or subject to severe questioning. At least four of the old...

    • Looking Ahead (pp. 323-334)

      Aaron Wildavsky, several years ago, remarked that “the most senior bureaucracy now is only for the brave” (Savoie 1994). The chapters in this book point to some of the difficult challenges politicians and public servants must now confront and the demanding environment in which they work. They also suggest that the most senior bureaucracy will remain only for the brave for some time to come. The purpose of this concluding chapter is to give the last word to practitioners.

      We know that bureaucrat-bashing has been in fashion for some time. As already noted, Herbert Kaufman concluded in the early 1980s...