Case Studies in Public Governance: Building Institutions in Singapore, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Case Studies in Public Governance

Building Institutions in Singapore, 1st Edition

Edited by June Gwee


198 pages | 29 B/W Illus.

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The case study, whether a simple scenario about choices in decision-making or a multi-dimensional narrative of conflicts and dilemmas, is a rich source of knowledge, ideas, and insights. Using case studies as a method to document and learn the experiences of nations and their institutions reveal the perspectives, rationale, trade-offs and actions of governments and people. This book is a collection of case studies on the development of Singapore institutions.

Here, a total of five case studies encompassing the areas of urban governance, education, social security and industrial relations are presented, each carefully selected to profile a particular sector. These case studies describe the importance of culture, leadership, and systems in building institutions, and how interactions between people – leaders and employees – and the organizations they belong to can influence institutional culture. This publication seeks to deepen global understanding of the Singapore government and its form of governance, as well as to advance theories and concepts of sustainable development on a global stage.


"Singapore’s rapid institutional transformation holds important lessons for developing and advanced countries alike. These useful case studies – drawn from a broad spectrum of public policy – describe the peculiar mix of leadership, culture, and organizational practices that have helped Singapore build the institutions that are the rest of the world’s envy."

Dani Rodrik, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

"The case studies in this excellent book combine to tell an important story of how the government adapted and organized itself to deliver policies and plans that define the Singapore of today. Tomorrow’s public officers will better understand the demands of public governance in all its complexity if they have access to thoughtful and substantive books like this."

Peter Ho. Centre of Strategic Futures, Singapore

"The world is in dire need of leadership and institutions that accept the responsibility to serve the needs of their societies without losing sight of the greater good. The Singapore Civil Service College offers us a collection of cases that helps us to understand how Singapore, a small Asian state, has created governance structures to deliver on social protection and environmentally sustainable urban solutions for its citizens. This is a valuable read for researchers and policymakers worldwide."

Noeleen Heyzer, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific

Table of Contents

General Introduction Part 1: Culture Case Study 1: Growing A City in A Garden Part 2: Leadership Case Study 2: Leading Change in the Ministry of Education Case Study 3: Sustaining the Value of Water Part 3: Systems Case Study 4: Design and Renewal of the Central Provident Fund Case Study 5: Managing Industrial Relations Through Tripartism

About the Editor

June Gwee is Principal Researcher with the Centre for Governance and Leadership at the Singapore Civil Service College. She specializes in case writing for research, teaching, and documentation.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Economics / General