T05P01 - Public Management Reforms across the Globe: Results, Challenges and Issues

Topic : Policy Formulation, Administration and Policymakers

Panel Chair : Zeger Van der Wal - zvdwal@gmail.com

Panel Second Chair : Salvador Parrado - sparrado@poli.uned.es

Panel Third Chair : Anne-Marie Reynaers - reynaers.annemarie@gmail.com

Objectives and Scientific Relevance of the panel

Call for papers

Session 1 Performance Management


Salvador Parrado - sparrado@poli.uned.es - UNED- Spanish Distance Learning University - Spain

Performance Appraisals – The Patterns of Their International Prevalence

Naomi Aoki - sppnma@nus.edu.sg - Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore - Singapore

Stuti Rawat - stuti.r@u.nus.edu - National University of Singapore - Singapore

A number of governments across the globe have been urged to adopt performance appraisals for their employees in keeping with a global paradigm endorsing managerial reforms, which has been expanding over the past few decades. However, the international prevalence of performance appraisals remains poorly evidenced, and reform discourse regarding what is old and new in the world of governance walks naked, in an empirical vacuum. Focusing on the education sector, and using 2012 internationally comparable datasets, our goal is to narrow this empirical gap. We not only report on the varying degrees to which performance appraisals were used and linked with monetary rewards across countries as of 2012, but also on whether these variations depended on a number of country-level contextual factors. We hypothesized that relevant factors included the type of political regime, market ideologies, the strength of teacher groups, national culture, isomorphic pressures, the structure of education systems, and the income levels of countries. We found that performance appraisals tended to be used and linked with salary and/or bonuses more in less liberal economies, in cultures with a lower degree of uncertainty avoidance and a higher degree of masculinity, in lower-income countries, and in those with more decentralized educational systems.


The application of the precepts of the NPM in the French Defense, failure or success?

Violette Larrieu - larrieuviolette@gmail.com - Université de Montpellier, CEPEL - France

In France, the successive reforms since the 2000s are in line with the New Public Management (NPM), consecrating the rationalization of the administration, the privatization of services and a search for economy. Defense, although regarded as sovereign, was no exception, especially since the reform of the armies that ended the conscription in 1996. Since then, the general reform of public policies (RGPP) of 2007, the modernization of public action (MAP) in 2012 as well as the successive military planning laws (LPM) have only confirmed the desire to restructure the armies to better rationalize them. This includes an increase in outsourcing, both on the national level and abroad, from logistics to intelligence. The state thus increasingly chooses to go through the market to provide a service that it is used to provide itself. However, does bringing these reforms, inspired by the precepts of the NPM, meet the expected success? As many studies have dealt with the Anglo-Saxon cases, showcase of the NPM, the case of France remains little explored. Similarly, the question of the outsourcing of the armed forces has been studied very much, but the question of outsourcing support services is often taken for granted.

This is why we will focus in this paper on the case of the military support services, and more specifically to the catering and the clothing in the armies. Two policies of outsourcing were launched in the years 2010 under the Sarkozy government, with the underlying idea to generate savings and to rationalize and reform the armies. Yet, a few years later, the government decided to re-integrate these services, even if at first sight its considered strategically weak and out of the military core. The government decided to rationalize the service internally through a process called “Régie rationalisée optimisée” (RRO, may be translate as “maximized and rationalized in-house services”), a term created for the occasion. Must we conclude, with the fail of this outsourcing, that NPM is difficult to apply in the field of Defense? Or should we consider these policies as an adjustment of the NPM to a sovereign domain, and the RRO as the best way to achieve the effective application of the principles of the NPM?

Through a deep analysis of the history of these policies, the actors involved, their perceptions and their cognitive frameworks (Muller 1990), we will try to explain how the application of the NPM by the political actors took place in the ministry of Defense, what were the obstacles encountered and the adaptations needed to impose the ideas under the reform.

To do this, we will rely on more than 80 interviews conducted in 2016 with the main actors as well as the reading of the grey literature.

This paper, which comes in the middle of my PhD, will also be an opportunity for me to present my first research results and to discuss them with the other participants.

Reforming the Performance Management System in the Philippines Based on NPM: The Case of the Performance Based Incentive System (PBIS)

Ador Torneo - ador.torneo@dlsu.edu.ph - Political Science Department, De La Salle University - Philippines

This study examines the results, challenges and issues that accompanied the adoption of the Performance-Based Incentive System (PBIS) by the Philippine government, particularly on the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), one of its largest national agencies.  The PBIS is a key component of the policy reforms adopted by the Aquino administration to reform the bureaucracy. The PBIS is largely based on New Public Management (NPM) principles and adopts mechanisms originally used by the private sector such as performance measurement, competition, and financial bonuses to encourage public sector individual employees and administrative units to improve their performance.

The PBIS was adopted in 2012 and was accompanied by system wide changes including the adoption of results based framework and changes in the performance evaluation systems.  This article combines the findings of a qualitative study based on interviews and thematic analysis from 2015 to 2016 and a survey study conducted from 2016 and 2017 as the PBIS was being rolled out and updated. Of special interest are the perceived effects of the new NPM based system on employee performance and morale.

The findings of this study expands our understanding of the results, challenges and issues that accompany the adoption of NPM based policy reforms in developing nations. While NPM has been declared to be dead in the developed West, its influence and adoption are still strong in many developing countries whose training and education was largely based on Western public administration. The Philippines provide a good case because its political and administrative structure was largely patterned after that of the US but its underlying development and institutional context is that of a developing Southeast Asian country with its own idiosyncracies. The author believes it provides a good empirical contribution that will help both scholars and practitioners understand the nature, results, and challenges of public sector reforms in different parts of the world.

Session 2 Managerialism expanding


Zeger Van der Wal - zvdwal@gmail.com - LKYSPP, NUS

The reform of the Belgian judicial, a paradigmatic revolution?

frederic schoenaers - F.Schoenaers@ulg.ac.be - University of Liège - Belgium

In recent decades, the Belgian judicial has been the scene of many evolutions, some of them discreet, orchestrated in the Courts of Justice, in the hearing rooms, others more. The latest, the Reform of the Judicial Landscape introduced in April 2014.
Based on a principle of enlargement of scale, for a more modern and effective justice, this reform has redesigned the ancestral map of the judicial districts. It is also accompanied by a mobility of magistrates and members of the judicial staff, what should give the system some flexibility which the bureaucratic thesis believed to be lacking (Guarnieri and Pederzoli, 1996). This reform will be completed in the near future by the establishment of autonomous management for the local judicial organization. Local entities, in the person of chiefs of jurisdiction (the “local manager”), will become responsible for the management of their human and financial resources. This transfer of responsibility will be based on a contractual mechanism through which the managers will commit themselves to their future results. This wave of reform and the new legislations accompanying it place the local managers at the heart of change. The contours of their function are thus redefined under the influence of new managerial competencies and the responsibility for change, following and thus reinforcing a trend begun in the 1990s (Schoenaers, 2014).
Indeed, the first steps of this transformation of the role of Head of Corps and the evolution of expectations towards them have already been posed during the past reforms: with the signing of the Octopus agreement, consecrating the creation of the Superior Council of The Justice (CSJ) in charge of appointments of the chiefs of jurisdiction; with the introduction of the management plans for candidates-heads of jurisdiction, incorporating a series of objectives for the years to come; at the time of the introduction of fixed-term mandates whose renewal is subject to the "evaluation" and approval of the CSJ; when the writing of an annual operating reports entered into the courts; etc.
Over time and legislation, the injunction to the accountability of the chiefs of jurisdiction has become more and more prominent. It is now taking on a new form marked by the disinvestment of the State in the concrete management of change. Once the impulse is given by the top of the State, the framework summarized and a few key principles formulated, the political world adopts a position of withdrawal, which puts the weight of the implementation and, above all, the success of the change on the local managers. The expectations given to the heads of jurisdiction would thus be added to an even more strategic dimension. Through this contribution, we propose to take stock of the introduction of the 2014 Reform in the Belgian Judicial Order at the start of the action of the heads of jurisdiction. We will thus question the transformation of their role and their professional practices and the impact the change strategy on the functioning of the Belgian Judicial.

Explaining Neo-liberal Reforms in Neo-patrimonial Systems: The Commercialization of Health and Education in Saudi Arabia

Alberto Asquer - aa144@soas.ac.uk - SOAS, University of London - United Kingdom

Ahmed Alzahrani - Zahraniaa@ipa.edu.sa - Institute of public administration - Saudi Arabia

The reasons and effects of public sector neo-liberal reforms have been investigated in the context of both Western democracies and industrialised countries and, to a more limited extent, developing and emergent economies. Yet, studies have typically conceived public sector reforms within conceptual frameworks for analysis that pay a tribute to the original environment of neo-liberal managerialism, where Traditional Public Administration variously adjusted to and combined with New Public Management, New Public Governance, or Public Value Management. In addition, studies have paid relatively little attention to the role of the context in the introduction of neo-liberal ideas into the public sector of developing and emergent economies, whose institutional and cultural features may largely deviate from those of Western democracies and industrialised countries. Paying attention to distinctive context features calls for an original reconceptualisation of the reasons and effects of neo-liberal reforms in the public sector, which depart from the conventional narratives of struggle and amalgamation between traditional tenets of bureaucracy and novel doctrines on public management and governance.


This paper aims to contribute to the comparative literature on public sector reform by explaining the introduction of neo-liberal reforms in the public sector in neo-patrimonial systems. Neo-patrimonial systems provide a kind of institutional and cultural context conditions that differ from those that are generally associated with Western democracies and industrialised countries. Neo-patrimonial systems combine features of legal-rational bureaucratic systems with those of patrimonial systems. The combination results in the operation of institutional logics that provide systems of formal justifications for decisions that are often taken in ways that do not correspond to canons of transparency and accountability, in the sense of Western democratic and industrialised countries. Additional features of neo-patrimonial systems, like blurred boundaries between the private and the public sphere and the primacy of vertical over horizontal lines, contribute shaping an institutional and cultural context that seems hostile to neo-liberal principles such as the marketisation of public services and the supremacy of consumers’ choice.


The commercialisation of health and education services in Saudi Arabia provides the basis for a case study of neo-liberal reform in the public sector in a neo-patrimonial system. As one of the very few absolute monarchies in the world, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia consists of an institutional and cultural environment where the policy process is highly dependent on the supreme authority of the king. Although the country established a generous system of welfare state, in the 2000s the provision of health and education services was partially opened to commercialisation with the establishment of so-called “business centres”, such as at the King Fahad Medical City Fund and the Institute of Public Administration. Building on theoretical resources drawn from Bourdieu, this study offers theoretical arguments for explaining reasons and effects of the introduction of neo-liberal-style reforms of public services in a neo-patrimonial system that place particular importance on the political economy of systems of public service provision.

The relevance of council–administration relations for the adoption of New Public Management concepts

Jens Weiss - jweiss@hs-harz.de - Hochschule Harz - Germany

This paper is based on results from a case study on the implementation of strategic management in German local governments. Even though these German municipalities underwent a NPM-inspired wave of reforms in the 1990s, most still operate with a more Weberian style of administration. Rigorous models of performance management or strategic management can hardly be found. Based on findings from a case study about the implementation of strategic management, the relevance of council–administration relations has been singled out. Trust seems to be an important precondition for the implementation of performance measurement, performance management, and strategic management in German local governments, which are typified by strongly asymmetrical information between councils and administrations.

More generally, the question is what significance the council–administration relations have in explaining variations in the adoption of NPM reform ideas. Initial comparative evidence based on findings from Canada and Switzerland provide good examples of the great variety of institutional settings for interactions between councils and administrations. For example, the sheer number of council members, as well as the politicization of councils, may have an impact on the possibility to implement managerial instruments. But there are also clues that informal norms are of importance regarding this issue.

A model for a more detailed, comparative, and quantitative research is set up to analyze the relevance of council–administration relations for the implementation of public management reforms, but this model has not yet been tested. The presentation will try to sketch an innovative perspective for comparative research on the implementation of local government reforms by focusing on the interplay between political and administrative dynamics.  

The main concepts of the work to be presented have been developed in a cooperation between James McDavid (University of Victoria, Canada), David Giauque (University of Lausanne, Switzerland and Jens Weiss (Harz University, Germany).

Peeping into Career Bureaucrats' mind: What do they make of innovation in public management?

Devasheesh Mathur - devasheesh.mathur@gmail.com - MDI Gurgaon - India

Bureaucracy inherently carries creative inertia for any change-big or small. Weberian bureaucracy is best suited to perform routine work and not to think outside the box. Innovation and bureaucracy are supposedly mutually exclusive. However, innovations do take place in public management and they are successfully diffused too. Paradigms like New Public Management (NPM) and Networked Governance have made it more possible for bureaucracy of a nation to understand and implement an innovation. However, the phenomenon and the environmental factors that give rise to innovation are still under study. Public service innovation is usually attributed to creative thinking and innovativeness of an individual officer who goes against the norm and innovates. This leaves the administration literature without any innovation theory of its own with the focus either solely on an individual or the broad macro factors. This paper explores and peeps into the psyche the environmental and individual factors according to a bureaucrat toward policy innovations using Q-sort technique which allows the researcher to peep into a bureaucrat’s mind and his understanding of innovation in public services. This enabled the researcher to come up with a typology of potential innovators. There are a few departures from public administration and public innovation theories which provide a significant insight into a career bureaucrat’s psychology.

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