In previous articles, I have developed two inter-linked lines of argument. The first has been that the complexity of public services delivery in the twenty-first century has moved beyond a situation where it can be understood either by the policy and administrative focus of public administration or by the intra-organizational and managerial focus of public management. While these imperatives continue to be important, they are now subsumed within a pluralist environment where the delivery of public services requires the negotiation of complex inter-organizational relationships and multi-actor policy-making processes. This requires that the central (if not exclusive) issue for our attention is the governance 1 of these relationships and processes (Osborne 2006). The second line of argument has been that the consequence for the public management research community of this transition is a necessity to start asking new questions about public services delivery. It is now no longer appropriate to continue with a focus simply upon administrative processes or intra-organizational management. Rather these foci must be subsumed with a new one upon the governance of inter-organizational relationships and the efficacy of public serve delivery systems, rather than organizations. This shift requires therefore that the research community starts to ask new questions about public services delivery that recognizes this tectonic shift in the policy and service delivery landscape (Osborne 2009). This editorial essay now takes this argument one stage further. Its central proposition is that the core theory used to understand public services delivery is now no longer ‘fit for purpose’. Indeed it is questionable if it ever were so. Much of the theory that has formed the basis for research about public (services) management has in fact been drawn from the experience of the manufacturing rather than the services sector. This is a fatal flaw in the theoretical basis of our discipline and has persisted despite the existence of a substantive theory of services management. It is this latter body of theory, it is argued here, that should inform our understanding and analysis of the delivery of public services.

Delivering public services: time for a new theory?

OSBORNE, STEPHEN PETER
2010

Abstract

In previous articles, I have developed two inter-linked lines of argument. The first has been that the complexity of public services delivery in the twenty-first century has moved beyond a situation where it can be understood either by the policy and administrative focus of public administration or by the intra-organizational and managerial focus of public management. While these imperatives continue to be important, they are now subsumed within a pluralist environment where the delivery of public services requires the negotiation of complex inter-organizational relationships and multi-actor policy-making processes. This requires that the central (if not exclusive) issue for our attention is the governance 1 of these relationships and processes (Osborne 2006). The second line of argument has been that the consequence for the public management research community of this transition is a necessity to start asking new questions about public services delivery. It is now no longer appropriate to continue with a focus simply upon administrative processes or intra-organizational management. Rather these foci must be subsumed with a new one upon the governance of inter-organizational relationships and the efficacy of public serve delivery systems, rather than organizations. This shift requires therefore that the research community starts to ask new questions about public services delivery that recognizes this tectonic shift in the policy and service delivery landscape (Osborne 2009). This editorial essay now takes this argument one stage further. Its central proposition is that the core theory used to understand public services delivery is now no longer ‘fit for purpose’. Indeed it is questionable if it ever were so. Much of the theory that has formed the basis for research about public (services) management has in fact been drawn from the experience of the manufacturing rather than the services sector. This is a fatal flaw in the theoretical basis of our discipline and has persisted despite the existence of a substantive theory of services management. It is this latter body of theory, it is argued here, that should inform our understanding and analysis of the delivery of public services.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11565/3975737
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