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The Art of the StateCulture, Rhetoric, and Public Management$
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Christopher Hood

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198297659

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198297653.001.0001

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Contemporary Public Management: A New Global Paradigm?

Contemporary Public Management: A New Global Paradigm?

Chapter:
(p.194) 9 Contemporary Public Management: A New Global Paradigm?
Source:
The Art of the State
Author(s):

Christopher Hood (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0198297653.003.0009

Returns to the general question of what sort of science public management is or can be and how cultural theory can contribute to that science. Critically discusses the pervasive ideas of modernization and global convergence in a cultural‐theory framework, suggesting there are more forces for divergence and less common ground on what modernity means in matters of organization than is commonly recognized. It argues that modernization is a rhetorically successful idea because when the powerful but implicit metaphor of technological development that underlies it is carried over into human organization it is inherently ambiguous—so it lends itself to quite different and contradictory ideas about the wave of the future that fit with each of the world views identified by cultural theory. Further, it argues that a vision of global transformation of public management into a convergent modern style is likely to be exaggerated because it ignores powerful forces of path‐dependency and self‐disequilibration—i.e. the capacity of management reform initiatives to produce the opposite of their intended result. The main sections of the chapter are: Modern, Global, Inevitable? The Claim of a New Paradigm in Public Management; Public‐Management Modernization as Deep Change; Public‐Management Modernization as Irreversible Change; Public‐Management Modernization as Convergent Change; Public‐Management Modernization as Beneficent Change; and Modernization—or ‘Fatal Remedies’?

Keywords:   change, contemporary public management, cultural theory, divergence, global convergence, modernization, path‐dependency, public management, self‐disequilibration

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