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Autonomy and managerial reforms in Europe: Let or make public managers manage?

Abstract : Drawing on a survey of top executives in central governments in 11 European countries (N=5190), this study explores variations in the extent and scale of managerial autonomy across and within European states. The article is based on a comparative, multidimensional and relational approach to autonomy. Confirming predictions of qualitative studies, it shows that these variations can partly be explained by the intensity of NPM reforms and provides a typology of European countries connecting the intensity of neo-managerial reforms (measured by the declared use of management tools) to the degree of managerial autonomy. Our findings support Donald Kettl’s hypothesis differentiating countries where the “let the manager manage” model prevails, as in the Northern countries, by contrast with those, such as United Kingdom, dominated by the “make the manager manage” programme, and expand it to other, less studied countries such as Germany or those of Southern Europe. The promise of managerial autonomy has also not been delivered to the same extent across but also within countries, where strong variations can be observed in the different dimensions of autonomy (human resource management, budget, reorganisation, policy decision, policy implementation).
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Contributeur : Gilles Jeannot <>
Soumis le : mercredi 10 janvier 2018 - 13:44:39
Dernière modification le : mercredi 26 février 2020 - 19:06:04




Philippe Bezes, Gilles Jeannot. Autonomy and managerial reforms in Europe: Let or make public managers manage?. Public Administration, Wiley, 2018, 96 (1), pp.3-22. ⟨10.1111/padm.12361⟩. ⟨hal-01680170⟩



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