Introduction: Administrative reforms and mergers in Europe - research questions and empirical challenges

Alistair Mark Cole*, Jean Michel Eymeri-Douzans

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


This special issue originated with two workshops held by the Comparative Public Administration Working Group (Groupe Science politique comparée des administrations-SPCA) of the French Political Science Association (AFSP) in April and September 2008. Our workshops focused on a rather under-researched dimension of comparative public administration: Namely administrative mergers and bureaucratic reorganizations as a dimension of contemporary reforms. We started from the observation that, in recent years, there has been a rich literature on the role of agencies and other forms of organizational decentralization, but much less on organizational and professional mergers within public administrations. Participants were invited to address a set of linked questions designed to try and elucidate the nature and scope of administrative reorganizations in the European countries under observation. Among these questions were the following: Under which conditions and to what extent do mergers and other forms of administrative reorganization have sustainable effects on the state apparatus? How does the multi-level structure of government, especially within federal states (Germany, Belgium), regionalized (Spain) or 'dual' states (United Kingdom) influence administrative reforms? What policy narratives are mobilized to justify and legitimize these reorganizations, and especially how important is the discourse of New Public Management (NPM) in that respect? Finally, what are the consequences of such reforms on civil servants' careers, professional identities and administrative cultures? The issue brings together a range of country-specific articles whose remit is, broadly, to address these questions and to contribute to enriching the comparative and empirically rooted reflection about the dimensions and forms of state reforms in the NPM era.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)395-406
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Review of Administrative Sciences
Issue number3
Early online date23 Sept 2010
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2010

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration


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