Administrative reform is not something that can be treated as a specific public policy field. It is simply a specific way to create administrative policies. Administrative reform thus is a way to design and implement administrative policies by introducing deliberate efforts to change the actual institutional arrangements, the processes, and the procedures of public administration. Thus, administrative reform can be considered and analytically treated as a specific policy process that has specific dynamics due to what is at stake; this means the redistribution of powers in the administrative arena among the different stakeholders, and especially between the policy makers and bureaucrats that are the most important actors in administrative policy. These characteristics are at the origin of the structural problem of administrative reform: It is difficult to properly design and very difficult to implement in a coherent way. Administrative reform cannot be predictable, because it is not simple to make hypotheses about how the various barriers and potential opportunities can mix to produce a specific outcome. Surely barriers are demanding. Institutional stickiness, hegemonic policy paradigms, deeply rooted administrative traditions, financial shortages, and robust vested interests are ponderous constraints to pursuing administrative reforms; however, there are always opportunities (crisis, contingency, and leaders and entrepreneurs searching to change equilibria) that allow the cyclical opening of reform trajectories. To understand administrative reforms, it is necessary to see them in action and thus to observe how they develop over time. The trajectories of administrative reforms very often are characterized by following the zeitgeist and, thus, implementing policy solutions that are considered more legitimate in that specific time. But the spirit of the age can change suddenly, and thus, very often, the solutions adopted yesterday are the problems of the present time. This is because different models of administrative reforms have been cyclically adopted in the last several decades, and the prevailing solution of three decades ago (new public management) has been progressively replaced by other competing recipes like the new Weberian state, the new public governance, digital era governance, and public value management. By studying the trajectories of administrative reforms (the dynamics of administrative policies), it is possible to better understand not only whether and how administrative reforms have been adopted in a comparative perspective but also why some solutions have been adopted in one country but not in another. Thus, the focus on the trajectories allows us to order the complexity of administrative reform processes and to understand why convergence is difficult (due to the national legacies and the contingent way in which the most relevant drivers can interact with each other), and it helps us to Page 2 of 20 Printed from Oxford Research Encyclopedias, Politics. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice). Subscriber: OUP-Reference Gratis Access; date: 29 September 2021 understand that, while in the short to medium run administrative reforms are perceived to fail or at least to result unsatisfactorily, in the long run they can produce stable changes.

Models of Administrative Reform / Capano, Giliberto. - ELETTRONICO. - (2021), pp. 1-20. [10.1093/acrefore/9780190228637.013.1436]

Models of Administrative Reform

Capano, Giliberto
2021

Abstract

Administrative reform is not something that can be treated as a specific public policy field. It is simply a specific way to create administrative policies. Administrative reform thus is a way to design and implement administrative policies by introducing deliberate efforts to change the actual institutional arrangements, the processes, and the procedures of public administration. Thus, administrative reform can be considered and analytically treated as a specific policy process that has specific dynamics due to what is at stake; this means the redistribution of powers in the administrative arena among the different stakeholders, and especially between the policy makers and bureaucrats that are the most important actors in administrative policy. These characteristics are at the origin of the structural problem of administrative reform: It is difficult to properly design and very difficult to implement in a coherent way. Administrative reform cannot be predictable, because it is not simple to make hypotheses about how the various barriers and potential opportunities can mix to produce a specific outcome. Surely barriers are demanding. Institutional stickiness, hegemonic policy paradigms, deeply rooted administrative traditions, financial shortages, and robust vested interests are ponderous constraints to pursuing administrative reforms; however, there are always opportunities (crisis, contingency, and leaders and entrepreneurs searching to change equilibria) that allow the cyclical opening of reform trajectories. To understand administrative reforms, it is necessary to see them in action and thus to observe how they develop over time. The trajectories of administrative reforms very often are characterized by following the zeitgeist and, thus, implementing policy solutions that are considered more legitimate in that specific time. But the spirit of the age can change suddenly, and thus, very often, the solutions adopted yesterday are the problems of the present time. This is because different models of administrative reforms have been cyclically adopted in the last several decades, and the prevailing solution of three decades ago (new public management) has been progressively replaced by other competing recipes like the new Weberian state, the new public governance, digital era governance, and public value management. By studying the trajectories of administrative reforms (the dynamics of administrative policies), it is possible to better understand not only whether and how administrative reforms have been adopted in a comparative perspective but also why some solutions have been adopted in one country but not in another. Thus, the focus on the trajectories allows us to order the complexity of administrative reform processes and to understand why convergence is difficult (due to the national legacies and the contingent way in which the most relevant drivers can interact with each other), and it helps us to Page 2 of 20 Printed from Oxford Research Encyclopedias, Politics. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice). Subscriber: OUP-Reference Gratis Access; date: 29 September 2021 understand that, while in the short to medium run administrative reforms are perceived to fail or at least to result unsatisfactorily, in the long run they can produce stable changes.
2021
Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics
1
20
Models of Administrative Reform / Capano, Giliberto. - ELETTRONICO. - (2021), pp. 1-20. [10.1093/acrefore/9780190228637.013.1436]
Capano, Giliberto
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/833925
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