Special Issue "Strategic Management in Public Sector: Reforms, Contexts, Traditions"

A special issue of Administrative Sciences (ISSN 2076-3387). This special issue belongs to the section "Strategic Management".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 July 2019) | Viewed by 8437

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Paul Joyce
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute for local government studies, University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK
Interests: strategic management and leadership in the public sector; change management; reform and modernization of the public sector
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Denita Cepiku
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Economics, University of Rome Tor Vergata, 00133 Roma RM, Italy
Interests: public management; network management; co-production; strategic management; healthcare management
Prof. Dr. Marco Meneguzzo
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Economics, Università della Svizzera italiana, 6900 Lugano, Switzerland
Interests: cultural institutions management; healthcare management; strategy; new public management; non-profit organization networks; social enterprise social innovation
Prof. Dr. Josef Bernhart
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
European Academy of Bolzano (EURAC), Institute for Public Management, 39100 Bolzano, Italy
Interests: public management reform; quality management; social management; brand management; management of sustainability

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Strategic planning is a “deliberative, disciplined effort to produce fundamental decisions and actions that shape and guide what an organization (or other entity) is, what it does, and why” (Bryson 2018). The growth of strategic management models and ideas within public sector was prompted in part by administrative reforms that took place in the 1990s (Hood, 1991; Pollitt & Bouckaert 2004), and that have made it an increasingly common practice in governments around the world (Joyce 2015; Ferlie and Ongaro 2015).

Although strategic management as an area of academic inquiry typically uses a contingency framework (Walker 2013), scarce attention has been paid to the influence of context on the design and implementation of strategic management reforms.

The cultural, political, historical and administrative contexts shape the ways in which public administrations work and the ways in which they may be changed (Ongaro and van Thiel 2018; Pollitt and Bouckaert 2017). However, the study of the evolution of strategic management from the New Public Management to the New Public Governance has not taken into explicit consideration the role of context. Administrative culture as a context determinant could have an interesting impact on public strategic management, not only in the formulation of a strategy, but also in how effectively a given strategy is implemented (Smith and Vecchio 1993). Strategic planning and management in government may have similarities around the world but there will also be important variations in both practices and results (Joyce 2015).

Common contextual features, although appearing with varying intensity, include the attempts to recover from the 2007/2008 global financial and economic crisis and the trend to populism, while differences persist in terms of variations in the strategic capabilities of the national governments (Cepiku et al. 2016; Drumaux and Joyce 2018). Besides the contemporary features of the context, administrative history, culture and traditions are expected to influence strategic management (Meneguzzo 2007).

Do such administrative traditions persist and influence strategic management practice or are they fading as a result of the “globalization” of public management studies? Is there convergence in strategic management reforms and practices? If differences exist, are we overlooking them, by simply classifying countries in pilots and laggards?

The aim of the special issue is to study the relationship between strategic management and national contexts from a comparative perspective. Researches that contribute to our understanding of how context, and in particular different administrative traditions, affects strategic management in different countries are welcome. The guest editors will look for a diversity of articles from different states (Napoleonic, including Mediterranean, Rechtsstaat, and Anglo-Saxon and the Scandinavian types; Kickert 2007) and models of administrative culture (the Weberian and the “public interest” administrative cultures; Pollitt and Bouckaert 2004).

References

Bryson, J. M. (2018). Strategic planning for public and nonprofit organizations: A guide to strengthening and sustaining organizational achievement. John Wiley & Sons.

Cepiku, D., Mussari, R., & Giordano, F. (2016). Local governments managing austerity: Approaches, determinants and impact. Public Administration, 94(1), 223-243.

Drumaux, A., & Joyce, P. (2018). The Strategic State and Public Governance in European Institutions. In Strategic Management for Public Governance in Europe (pp. 1-28). Palgrave Macmillan, London.

Ferlie, E., & Ongaro, E. (2015). Strategic management in public services organizations: Concepts, schools and contemporary issues. Routledge.

Hood, C. (1991). A public management for all seasons?. Public Administration, 69(1), 3–19.

Joyce, P. (2015). Strategic Management in the Public Sector. Routledge.

Meneguzzo (2007), The study of public management in Italy. Management and the dominance of public law. In Kickert, W. (Ed.). The study of public management in Europe and the US: a competitive analysis of national distinctiveness. Routledge.

Ongaro, E., & van Thiel, S. (2018). Languages and public administration in Europe. In The Palgrave Handbook of Public Administration and Management in Europe (pp. 61-98). Palgrave Macmillan, London.

Pollitt, C., & Bouckaert, G. (2017). Public management reform: a comparative analysis-into the age of austerity. Oxford University Press.

Pollitt, C., Bouckaert, G. (2004). Public management reform: A comparative analysis. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Smith C., Vecchio, R. (1993). Organizational Culture And Strategic Management: Issues In The Management Of Strategic Change. Journal of Managerial Issues, 5(1), 53-70.

Walker, R. M. (2013). Strategic Management and Performance in Public Organizations: Findings from the Miles and Snow Framework. Public Admin Rev, 73: 675-685.

Prof. Dr. Paul Joyce
Prof. Dr. Denita Cepiku
Prof. Dr. Marco Meneguzzo
Prof. Dr. Josef Bernhart
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Strategic management
  • Administrative tradition
  • Public management

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Article
Strategic Management in Finnish and Norwegian Government Agencies
Adm. Sci. 2019, 9(4), 80; https://doi.org/10.3390/admsci9040080 - 14 Oct 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1738
Abstract
The purpose of this article is to analyse the design and implementation of strategic planning and performance management in governmental agencies in two Nordic countries, Finland and Norway. Nordic countries are an interesting study from a comparative perspective because while they are commonly [...] Read more.
The purpose of this article is to analyse the design and implementation of strategic planning and performance management in governmental agencies in two Nordic countries, Finland and Norway. Nordic countries are an interesting study from a comparative perspective because while they are commonly assumed to have been high-intensity new public management reformers, they are also commonly assumed to have a distinct public management tradition. Moreover, these two countries are interesting to study because within the Nordic public management tradition, Finland and Norway specifically represent two different public management traditions. Finland belongs to the Eastern Nordic public management tradition, with an emphasis on decentralisation and agency autonomy, while Norway belongs to the Western Nordic public management tradition, with an emphasis on hierarchical governance, and hence, much performance management and reporting. Therefore, we expected to find more decentralised strategic management and an emphasis on evaluation in Finland, and more central, planning-like strategic management and reporting in Norway. Our comparison shows that both countries had mandatory strategic planning and utilised decentralised strategic planning in government agencies. The stronger legal orientation in the public administration in Finland, however, made strategic changes more complicated in Finland than in Norway. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Strategic Management in Public Sector: Reforms, Contexts, Traditions)
Article
Performance Budgeting in Context: An Analysis of Italian Central Administrations
Adm. Sci. 2019, 9(4), 79; https://doi.org/10.3390/admsci9040079 - 10 Oct 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1747
Abstract
The impact of financial austerity in many countries and the need to set the direction for governments have radically changed several aspects of Public sector management (Rubin and Willoughby 2014; Anessi-Pessina et al. 2016). A central component of this effort to transform public [...] Read more.
The impact of financial austerity in many countries and the need to set the direction for governments have radically changed several aspects of Public sector management (Rubin and Willoughby 2014; Anessi-Pessina et al. 2016). A central component of this effort to transform public management involves using strategic planning and performance measures for budgeting decisions (Joyce 1997). Over the last decade, there has been an increase in the use of performance budgeting at the national as well as at subnational and local level, with varying approaches and results across countries (Bleyen et al. 2017; OECD 2017). This article analyzes the dynamics of strategic planning and performance management practices in relation to the budgeting processes in the context of the Italian central government, with the aim of evaluating whether a predominant integration model is apparent in relation to those used in different countries at the OECD level. Starting in 2009, reforms concerning the implementation of performance management tools in the Italian public sector have been promoted and revised, although the need to fully integrate the performance and budgeting processes looks urgent. Based on data from Italian Ministries, this article analyzes the type of relationship and the degree of coherence between adopted strategic plans and budgets. The results show the persistence of a prevalent misalignment between planning and budgeting. Data that were collected from the analysis of strategic plans and budgets from ten Ministries depict a patchy situation, in which some ministries integrate the processes defining a consistent and comparable model, while some others do not. In the conclusions, areas for improvement of the process are identified, while providing policy implications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Strategic Management in Public Sector: Reforms, Contexts, Traditions)
Article
Political Leaders’ Experiences of Local Council, Board and Committee Work and Its Challenges in Finland
Adm. Sci. 2019, 9(4), 77; https://doi.org/10.3390/admsci9040077 - 27 Sep 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1361
Abstract
The relationship between political leaders and public administrators is a layered and multi-dimensional phenomenon influenced by both organizational characteristics and personal qualities and skills. Continuous reforms of local government structures lead to changes in the interaction between these key actors. The purpose of [...] Read more.
The relationship between political leaders and public administrators is a layered and multi-dimensional phenomenon influenced by both organizational characteristics and personal qualities and skills. Continuous reforms of local government structures lead to changes in the interaction between these key actors. The purpose of this article is to investigate if different interaction patterns of political leaders influence how they perceive their duties as political leaders. The empirical data was collected by a questionnaire from political leaders in six local government organizations in Finland. The political leaders were then grouped into three using factor analysis and k-means clustering according to their interaction styles in their positions in the strategic level decision-making. The further analysis utilized contingency tables. The results suggest that the three groups among the political leaders think and act in different ways. The differences are not based on political opinions, but on attitudes towards the decision-making process and the political leaders’ modus operandi. There are also differences what the political leaders find most difficult in their duties. These groups form one more layer in modern local government decision-making. Recognizing the different patterns of interaction may help us to better understand the dynamics of strategic management in the local government. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Strategic Management in Public Sector: Reforms, Contexts, Traditions)
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Article
Entrepreneurship as a Strategic Management Tool for Renewal—The Case of the Swedish Public Employment Service
Adm. Sci. 2019, 9(4), 76; https://doi.org/10.3390/admsci9040076 - 27 Sep 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1729
Abstract
In this paper, we study how entrepreneurial and strategic processes develop in a public-sector organisation through a theoretical lens of Strategic Entrepreneurship (SE). Previous literature on SE practices identified a number of organisational aspects—such as organisational culture, structure, and entrepreneurial leadership—that are important [...] Read more.
In this paper, we study how entrepreneurial and strategic processes develop in a public-sector organisation through a theoretical lens of Strategic Entrepreneurship (SE). Previous literature on SE practices identified a number of organisational aspects—such as organisational culture, structure, and entrepreneurial leadership—that are important to manage in order to benefit from new opportunities and strategic actions. So far, there is little knowledge about SE practices in the public sector and their possible consequences. There are also few qualitative studies in the field of SE, though arguments have been made for it. Our study is based on a longitudinal and qualitative process approach focusing on the work of the Swedish Public Employment Service’s (SPES) efforts to realise its new strategy through entrepreneurial and strategic processes. The results showed that there are several organisational tensions in relation to the processes of entrepreneurship. We have empirically contributed to previous literature by studying the SE practices of simultaneously balancing the processes of entrepreneurship and strategy. We have also contributed to a more nuanced discussion of the complexity of implementing SE practices and their relationship to organisational culture, structure and entrepreneurial leadership. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Strategic Management in Public Sector: Reforms, Contexts, Traditions)
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Article
Challenges for Management in Implementing Reforms at the Ministry Level and in Health and Social Service Organizations in Finland
Adm. Sci. 2019, 9(3), 66; https://doi.org/10.3390/admsci9030066 - 31 Aug 2019
Viewed by 1527
Abstract
The Finnish health and social care sector is currently undergoing numerous reforms. These reforms involve novel demands regarding the role of steering, decision-making, and management in health and social services. This article sheds light on some of the critical factors encountered by decision-makers [...] Read more.
The Finnish health and social care sector is currently undergoing numerous reforms. These reforms involve novel demands regarding the role of steering, decision-making, and management in health and social services. This article sheds light on some of the critical factors encountered by decision-makers and managers when implementing reforms to change health and social services. The article investigates cooperation between the steering ministries and different dimensions of management in local health and social service organizations. Interview data from the ministries were studied through content analysis, and quantitative survey data were analyzed using mean values guided by the model of multidimensional management. The co-operation between different ministries has intensified while implementing different reforms, but functional and cultural boundaries between them persist. The management dimensions in changing health and social service organizations stress the role of managers as facilitators and enablers, highlighting the significance of caring for the human resource dimension as one of the managers’ core tasks. The successful implementation of change should never be automatic. What emerges prominently is the skill essential to achieve cooperation which transcends the borders of both multiprofessional and traditional professional and administrative work both in ministries and local health and social service organizations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Strategic Management in Public Sector: Reforms, Contexts, Traditions)
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