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Strategy in the Public Sector: Management in the Wilderness


  • Sue Llewellyn
  • Emma Tappin


The central question addressed in this paper is 'Why have organizational strategies emerged in the public sector?' Two broad answers are suggested. First, 'strategies' profile the organization through identifying aims, outputs and outcomes. Public services must, now, provide such transparency in order to secure on-going funding from government bodies. Once 'strategies' are being produced, they also offer an organizational vision that potential additional funding agencies can buy into (with both commitment and money). And public services are short of resources. Second, 'strategies' signal greater devolved responsibility in the public sector for both acquiring resources and achieving results. They enable the inclusion of managerial priorities and values in setting the direction of public services. And politicians desire more control over the professionals that dominate public services whilst, simultaneously, wanting to make them more responsible for outcomes. This article explores the growth of strategic planning in a particular area of the public sector - the national parks. Strategies as 'dormant documents' and strategies as 'funding pitches' are discussed. It is suggested that, in the public sector, strategies should be the object of strategy. Copyright Blackwell Publishing Ltd 2003.

Suggested Citation

  • Sue Llewellyn & Emma Tappin, 2003. "Strategy in the Public Sector: Management in the Wilderness," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(4), pages 955-982, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jomstd:v:40:y:2003:i:4:p:955-982

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    Cited by:

    1. Jesper Rosenberg Hansen & Christian Bøtcher Jacobsen, 2014. "Competition or cooperation? -A longitudinal case study of NPM reforms’ influence on strategic management in upper secondary schools," Study Papers 75, Rockwool Foundation Research Unit.
    2. repec:eee:crpeac:v:23:y:2012:i:7:p:572-594 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Aidan R. Vining, 2016. "What Is Public Agency Strategic Analysis (PASA) and How Does It Differ from Public Policy Analysis and Firm Strategy Analysis?," Administrative Sciences, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(4), pages 1-31, December.
    4. Sue Llewellyn, 2005. "Performance, Productivity and Innovation in Health Care Organisations: Comparing England and Scotland," Australian Accounting Review, CPA Australia, vol. 15(37), pages 15-24, November.
    5. Vanessa Stjernborg & Ola Mattisson, 2016. "The Role of Public Transport in Society—A Case Study of General Policy Documents in Sweden," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(11), pages 1-16, November.

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