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Exploring the Role of News Media in Complex Systems of Governance

First published as a special issue of Policy & Politics, this updated volume explores the intersections between governance and media in western democracies, which have undergone profound recent changes. Many governmental powers have been shifted toward a host of network parties such as NGOs, state enterprises, international organizations, autonomous agencies, and local governments. Governments have developed complex networks for service delivery and they have a strategic interest in the news media as an arena where their interests can be served and threatened.

How do the media relate to and report on complex systems of government? How do the various governance actors respond to the media and what are the effects on their policies? This book considers the impact of media-related factors on governance, policy, public accountability and the attribution of blame for failures.

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Author: Jon Pierre

Public service systems are transforming into market-like organisations of service delivery and in many countries there is experimentation with user boards, customer choice, and stakeholderism. Meanwhile, democratic governance looks surprisingly much like the way it did 25 or 50 years ago. This article reviews the transformation of governance from the vantage point of democratic values. The basic argument of the article is that western democracies are currently implementing governance reform and administrative reform to increase public sector efficiency without much reflection on the democratic ramifications of reform.

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The article examines how local government officials in Sweden use social media and to what extent the emergence of social media has altered the relationship to conventional news media. The article examines the development of local government-media relations across time on the basis of a unique survey-based data set comparing the local political and administrative leadership’s media strategies in 1989 and 2010. The 2010 survey also included questions on how local officials in Sweden use social media in their work, that is, Facebook, Twitter and blogs. The results show that local officials have appropriated social media in their work, but only to a moderate extent. Local officials engage in social media if and when the local government becomes the target of social media scrutiny. Our study also demonstrates that social media have not replaced conventional media as a means of communication with constituencies. Indeed, officials who are active social media users have more contacts with conventional media compared to less active officials. Social media thus contribute to an intensification of the mediatisation of local governance rather than replacing conventional media in local political communication.

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The article examines how local government officials in Sweden use social media and to what extent the emergence of social media has altered the relationship to conventional news media. The article examines the development of local government-media relations across time on the basis of a unique survey-based data set comparing the local political and administrative leadership’s media strategies in 1989 and 2010. The 2010 survey also included questions on how local officials in Sweden use social media in their work, that is, Facebook, Twitter and blogs. The results show that local officials have appropriated social media in their work, but only to a moderate extent. Local officials engage in social media if and when the local government becomes the target of social media scrutiny. Our study also demonstrates that social media have not replaced conventional media as a means of communication with constituencies. Indeed, officials who are active social media users have more contacts with conventional media compared to less active officials. Social media thus contribute to an intensification of the mediatisation of local governance rather than replacing conventional media in local political communication.

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Authors: Chris Moore and Jon Pierre

The restructuring of local economies in the face of declining traditional industries is a major problem confronting all advanced western societies. This article contrasts the experience of two countries with very different traditions of political management of their national economies, namely the UK and Sweden. The authors argue that whilst there are important divergencies in macro political and economic objectives, there is an interesting convergence in practice in tackling the impact of restructuring at the local community level. This convergence is based on the idea of market led regeneration and bringing private interests, in the form of big business, into a policy-making and implementation role.

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First published as a special issue of Policy & Politics, this updated volume explores the intersections between governance and media in western democracies, which have undergone profound recent changes. Many governmental powers have been shifted toward a host of network parties such as NGOs, state enterprises, international organizations, autonomous agencies, and local governments. Governments have developed complex networks for service delivery and they have a strategic interest in the news media as an arena where their interests can be served and threatened. How do the media relate to and report on complex systems of government? How do the various governance actors respond to the media and what are the effects on their policies? This book considers the impact of media-related factors on governance, policy, public accountability and the attribution of blame for failures.

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Authors: Jon Pierre and B Guy Peters

The article addresses the issue of public sector work motivation, particular the notion of bureaucratic ‘shirking’. Although a popular theoretical model among public choice scholars of public administration, the ‘shirking’ argument has not been empirically supported. The article compares two organisational models of ensuring public servants’ compliance; a contract regime which is common in public-interest-based, Anglo American countries, and a trust-based regime found in Continental European, Scandinavian and Asian administrative systems.

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English

Under the contemporary swell of globalisation, locality-based international initiatives are widely perceived as essential for the growth of city-regions. Absent such endeavours, city-regions are predicted to become uncompetitive. We challenge this optimistic scenario. City-regions undertaking such endeavours confront relatively inflexible global hierarchies, must attend to daunting organisational and technical issues, and run the risk of upsetting local political arrangements. We counsel caution and suggest that the development of local capacities take precedence over global pretensions.

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