Normativity and NPM: A Need for Some Theoretical Coherence

Authored by: Robert Gregory

The Ashgate Research Companion to New Public Management

Print publication date:  December  2010
Online publication date:  March  2016

Print ISBN: 9780754678069
eBook ISBN: 9781315613321
Adobe ISBN: 9781317042372


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As shown elsewhere, and in this volume, 20 years since the wave of NPM reform began there have been so-called second-generation or third-generation changes, in different jurisdictions, in different ways, at different times (Christensen and Lægreid 2001a, 2007a). In all of this, rigorously conducted empirical evaluations of the impacts of NPM are hard to come by. For its part, one of the leading international institutions behind NPM, the OECD, has itself been highly ambivalent about the general impact of NPM on member states (Manning 2006). Despite claims that NPM has enhanced efficiency and improved the standard of public service delivery, the evidence to support such claims remains mixed and ambiguous. Ultimately, assessments as to whether governmental reforms have achieved the aims espoused by their designers remain largely impressionistic and rhetorical, shaped as much by the beliefs and ideological perspectives of those making the judgements as they are by hard data and information (Boston 2001).

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