Concepts and Assumptions of Public Management

  • Richard Parry


Public sector management brings together two concepts which are often kept too far apart — public administration and business management. On the one side is the legacy of rules and procedures from the political system, usually promoted with a sanctimonious reference to the propriety of the democratic process; on the other, a freewheeling world of deals, achievement and performance. Both have mythical figures to serve — the voter and the consumer — who in reality are the same individuals. Until the 1980s, these roles were usually treated as exclusive. Especially when the voter was seen as a ‘citizen’ with ‘social rights’, as in the writings of T.H. Marshall (1950), the tasks and products of the public sector seemed very different from the private. It was assumed that the complexity of public services like health and criminal justice precluded a management style suitable for clothing and soap powder. The experience of the 1980s has promoted the view that the similarities in tasks and products are greater than the differences, and that the preferred strategy for improving the quality of public service is the private sector notion of doing simple things well according to the competitive advantage of the producer.


Local Government Public Sector Civil Servant Public Expenditure Public Management 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1992

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  • Richard Parry

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