Theory and Practice of Public Sector Reform: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Theory and Practice of Public Sector Reform

1st Edition

Edited by Steven Van de Walle, Sandra Groeneveld


280 pages

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Theory and Practice of Public Sector Reform offers readers differing theoretical perspectives to help examine the process of public sector reform, combined with an overview of major trends in the core areas of the functioning of the public sector. The book consists of three parts, the first addresses a number of conceptual and theoretical perspectives on public sector reform. It shows how different ways of looking at reform reveal very different things. The second part addresses major changes in specific areas of public sectors – 'objects of reform.’ Part three focuses on the study of public sector reform.

Aimed at academics, researchers and advanced students; this edited collection brings together many of the most eminent academics in the area of Public Policy and Management seeking to link to theory in part one and insights into specific thematic areas in part two, offering readers a display of theoretical perspectives to look at public sector reform.


"This book fills a gap in thought leadership on public sector reform. It consolidates current theory, themes, and perspectives from leading scholars, thereby raising consciousness of the too neglected reform pulse of public management."John K. Wilkins, York University, Canada

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Theory and Practice of Public Sector Reform

Steven Van de Walle and Sandra Groeneveld

Part 1: Perspectives on Public Sector Reform

2. An Institutional Perspective

Johan P. Olsen

3. A Transformative Perspective

Tom Christensen and Per Lægreid

4. A Principal-Agent Perspective

Sandra Van Thiel

5. An Innovation Perspective

Victor Bekkers and Lars Tummers

6. A Change Management Perspective

Joris van der Voet, Ben S. Kuipers and Sandra Groeneveld

7. A Cultural Theory Perspective

Christopher Hood

8. An Interpretive Perspective

R.A.W. Rhodes

Part 2: Objects of Reform

9. Reforming Organizational Structures

Steven Van de Walle

10. Bureaucrats and Politicians: Reform Begets Reform

B. Guy Peters

11. The Shift toward Network Governance: Drivers, Characteristics and Manifestations

Erik-Hans Klijn and Joop Koppenjan

12. Management of Human Resources: Trends and Variation

Sandra Groeneveld and Bram Steijn

13. Public Management Reform and Public Professionalism

Mirko Noordegraaf

14. Recent Shifts in Public Financial Management

Tiina Randma and Geert Bouckaert

Part 3: Studying and Practicing Reform

15. Public Sector Reform amidst Societal and Administrative Shifts

Kim Putters

16. Two Varieties of Administrative Reform: US vs. Europe

Richard Stillman

17. Becoming a Student of Reform

Frans-Bauke van der Meer, Christoph Reichard and Arthur Ringeling

About the Editors

Steven Van de Walle is Research Professor at the Public Governance Institute, KU Leuven, Belgium, and Professor of Public Management at Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Sandra Groeneveld is Professor of Public Management at the Institute of Public Administration of Leiden University, the Netherlands.

About the Series

Routledge Critical Studies in Public Management

The study and practice of public management has undergone profound changes across the world. Over the last quarter century, we have seen

  • the increasing criticism of public administration as the over-arching framework for the provision of public services
  • the rise (and critical appraisal) of the ‘New Public Management’ as an emergent paradigm for the provision of public services
  • the transformation of the ‘public sector’ into the cross-sectoral provision of public services
  • the growth of the governance of inter-organizational relationships as an essential element in the provision of public services

In reality these trends have not so much replaced each other as elided or co-existed together – the public policy process has not gone away as a legitimate topic of study, intra-organizational management continues to be essential to the efficient provision of public services, whist the governance of inter-organizational and inter-sectoral relationships is now essential to the effective provision of these services.

This series is dedicated to presenting and critiquing this important body of theory and empirical study. It will publish books that both explore and evaluate the emergent and developing nature of public administration, management and governance (in theory and practice) and examine the relationship with and contribution to the over-arching disciplines of management and organizational sociology. Books in the series will be of interest to academics and researchers in this field, students undertaking advanced studies, and reflective policy makers and practitioners.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Government & Business
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Affairs & Administration
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Economic Policy