Understanding and Improving Public Management Reforms

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Why do top-down reforms to public services so often over-promise and under-deliver? Using five concepts from psychology, economics and organisational sociology and diverse examples of successes and failures, Thomas Elston addresses this pressing question of good governance.

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Why do top-down reforms to public services so often over-promise and under-deliver?

Using five concepts from psychology, economics and organisational sociology, Thomas Elston addresses this pressing question of good governance.

Focusing on the practical challenge of how to undertake better public management reforms, he questions the assumption that failure typically occurs because of poor reform implementation. Instead, he shows how reforms are often badly designed from the outset, being fashion-led, more focused more on fixing errors than exploiting opportunities and ignoring implicit costs of change.

This concise, practically-orientated work employs diverse examples to propose ways to improve the design of public sector reform programmes – and the services that citizens receive.

Thomas Elston is Associate Professor of Public Administration in the Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford.

Author/Editor details at time of book publication.