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Formal planning and the reshaping of public sector professional work


  • Maria Lusiani

    () (Dept. of Management, Università Ca' Foscari Venice)


This paper deals with the ÔmanagerializationÕ of public sector professional work. Specifically, it will focus on the role of formal planning practices (as expressed in strategic planning, project management and budgeting practices) in changing public sector professional work. Planning and accounting are at the heart of public sector reforms, responding to a logic of having public service professionals transparent on what they do, on how they pursue their goals, and accountable on the use of resources and on results. Thus planning and accounting practices have been transferred from private sector management models to public, professional organizations. Yet public sector professional organizations can be conceived as a pluralistic setting characterized by diffuse power, fragmented objectives and knowledgebased and are deeply embedded in public administration regulatory logics: how can management models deriving from private, hierarchical firms be applied to the specificities and complexities of public, pluralistic settings? What is the specific meaning of formal planning practices in such complex contexts? Based on a qualitative, single case study design, this paper will show how the planning system (in its manifestation of strategic planning, project management and budgeting) applied in a public hospital apparently ÔfailsÕ when its deliberate role of serving as a tool for decisions is considered. Yet it is widely in use and widely accepted by professionals as well. Conclusions on the value of formal planning when other emergent roles are taken into account will be discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Maria Lusiani, 2013. "Formal planning and the reshaping of public sector professional work," Working Papers 33, Department of Management, Università Ca' Foscari Venezia.
  • Handle: RePEc:vnm:wpdman:69

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Brian R. Golden, 2000. "The Interpretation And Resolution Of Resource Allocation Issues In Professional Organizations: A Critical Examination Of The Professional-Manager Dichotomy," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 37(8), pages 1157-1188, December.
    2. Gherardi, Silvia & Jacobsson, Bengt, 2000. "Managerialese as the Latin of our times: reforming Italian public sector organizations," Scandinavian Journal of Management, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 349-355, December.
    3. Hood, Christopher, 1995. "The "new public management" in the 1980s: Variations on a theme," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 20(2-3), pages 93-109.
    4. Panozzo, Fabrizio, 2000. "Management by decree. Paradoxes in the reform of the Italian public sector," Scandinavian Journal of Management, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 357-373, December.
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    More about this item


    Planning; public sector; professionals; managerialism.;

    JEL classification:

    • M10 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - General

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