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Traditions of governance: interpreting the changing role of the public sector


Rhodes, RAW and Bevir, M and Weller, P, Traditions of governance: interpreting the changing role of the public sector, Public Administration, 81, (1) pp. 1-17. ISSN 0033-3298 (2003) [Refereed Article]

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The definitive published version is available online at:

DOI: doi:10.1111/1467-9299.00334


The role of the state is changing under the impact of, for example, globalization. The changes have been variously understood as the new public management (NPM), the hollowing–out of the state and the new governance. This special issue of Public Administration explores the changing role of the state in advanced industrial democracies. It focuses on the puzzle of why states respond differently to common trends.

This introductory article has three aims. First, we provide a brief review of the existing literature on public sector reform to show that our approach is distinctive. We argue that the existing literature does not explore the ways in which governmental traditions shape reform. Second, we outline an interpretive approach to the analysis of public sector reform built on the notions of beliefs, traditions, dilemmas and narratives. We provide brief illustrations of these ideas drawn from the individual country articles. Finally, we outline the ground covered by all the chapters but we do not summarize and compare their experiences of reform. That task is reserved for the concluding article.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:globalization, public management, public sector reform, public management
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Policy and administration
Research Field:Public administration
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Government and politics
Objective Field:Government and politics not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Rhodes, RAW (Professor Rod Rhodes)
ID Code:58848
Year Published:2003
Web of Science® Times Cited:236
Deposited By:Government
Deposited On:2009-10-30
Last Modified:2012-10-09

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