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.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Sociology and Political Science
- Public Administration