The Impact of Contemporary Management Ideas: Their Influence on the Constitution of Public Sector Management Work

  • Christine Shearer
  • Stewart Clegg
  • Judy Johnston
Part of the Technology, Work and Globalization book series (TWG)


Drawing on empirical research conducted in Australia’s Public Service with Departmental Secretaries, we address the research question: how have contemporary management ideas influenced Departmental Secretaries and their work? Contemporary management ideas, the majority of which are various forms of managerialism, introduced by New Public Management theory, animated reforms of public sector management work from the 1980s. The role played by Departmental Secretaries, central agencies and the government in the acceptance or rejection of contemporary management ideas, how such ideas travelled, were translated, transferred and transformed, are considered. Many contemporary management ideas did not alter the constitution of public sector management work, because they were deemed inappropriate for the public actors, environments and roles and responsibilities that constitute public sector management work.


Decision-making power Globalizing webs Institutional polymorphism Institutional polypraxism Management fashions and fads Private/public divide Scepticism 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christine Shearer
    • 1
  • Stewart Clegg
    • 1
  • Judy Johnston
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Technology SydneyUltimoAustralia

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