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New public management and management changes in Dutch local government: some recent experiences and future topics


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  • Bogt, H.J. ter

    (Groningen University)

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    Since about 1985, Dutch municipalities and provinces, i.e. local government, initiated many reforms and change projects in the field of their management control, which are lumped together here as ?management changes?. Was the introduction of these changes mainly based on functionalist, ?rational? considerations, that is, a wish to improve economic performance, as New Public Management suggests? Or did economically seen irrational considerations perhaps also play a part, for example, a wish to follow new management trends and to look ?modern?? Based on documents and interviews with 23 politicians and professional managers in twelve Dutch municipalities and two provinces, this explorative paper examines experiences with various management changes implemented by local government as part of New Public Management (NPM), and with subsequent related changes. In addition, it discusses ?change initiating factors? that may have contributed to the high amount of major change initiatives that were started in a rather short space of time. Some of these factors are, for example, budgets cuts, trends and more demanding citizens/voters. One important change initiating factor that was mentioned is uncertainty amongst politicians, which is a consequence of the increased political volatility amongst voters. This factor suggests that, now and in the near future, for politicians and professional managers it could be ?politically rational? to try to increase the (economic) performances of their organization. Several authors have questioned or criticized the effects of NPM?s and government?s focus on economic efficiency and effectiveness. However, taking the change initiating factors into consideration, the paper speculates that in the future, too, it could be a rational survival strategy for politicians and managers to focus on initiatves that are intended to enhance performance and efficiency

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by University of Groningen, Research Institute SOM (Systems, Organisations and Management) in its series Research Report with number 06D04.

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    Date of creation: 2006
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    Handle: RePEc:dgr:rugsom:06d04

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