Traditions of governance: interpreting the changing role of the public sector
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.
© 2003 Blackwell Publishing. The definitive version is available at [www.blackwell-synergy.com.]