WGIIs research focus lies within the comparison of major internal managerial changes occurred in European local governments as a consequence of Post-NPM reform processes, with the goal to contribute to enhance the European interdisciplinary research and advance comparative evidence-based knowledge in the area of European local government management.
The WG will exploit their capacity of exploring soundly and comparatively a wide range of subjects included in the thematic area of “Internal (Post-) NPM Reforms”. Animated by this purpose, the WG II will promote research on two interrelated areas: a) performance measurement, management and new public service strategies, and b) modern HRM, change, innovation and quality. The topics to be investigated in more detail in the first research area are: strategy, mission, policies, internal financial control, strategic management and steering, evaluation, benchmark, participatory evaluation and design of public services, leadership, accountability and transparency. The topics identified in the second research area are: Restructuring, redesign, reengineering, (process) innovation, quality processes, customer focus, co-delivery of public services, e-administration, performance-related pay & HRM, culture (work values and ethics), leadership.
- To what extent have internal (Post-) NPM reforms been implemented at the local level of government and how can possible variations be explained from a cross-country comparative perspective?
- What are the major reform drivers and implementation strategies and who are the major stakeholders?
- What reform effects have resulted from the internal modernization efforts? In particular, the issues of fragmentation caused by internal NPM reforms and new instruments of strategic control/steering will be addressed.
- How do the external NPM reforms influence the outcomes of the internal NPM, democratic and territorial/functional reforms?
- To what extent do the internal NPM reforms shape the outcomes of the external, democratic and territorial/functional reforms?
Analytic Dimensions To Be (Possibly) Involved
The WGII will approach the area of INTERNAL (POST) – NPM Reforms in the following analytical steps/tasks:
- Investigation of actual institutional changes and explanation of (varying) degrees of reform implementation from a comparative perspective;
- Scrutiny of reform drivers/causes, promoters/stakeholders and implementation strategies;
- Evaluation of (intended and un-intended) reform effects
Possible Research Methods/Data Collection
After the systematic data collection and compilation, the data will be analyzed using qualitative and quantitative methods. In order to organize the comparative research, participating scholars will exchange methodologies, replicate validated methods and share techniques of mapping and analyzing reform changes. Different methods, such as aggregate data analysis, qualitative comparative analysis (QCA), and case studies will be discussed and evaluated as to their possible benefits for comparative research in this specific research area.
The main expected result is to produce new and useful knowledge in a field that was largely unexplored: comparative European local government management. The main material output of WGII will be books, articles for academic refereed journals and papers to be presented in international conferences. The inclusion of authoritative scholars from different disciplines and from several European countries along with the inclusion of young scholars is the best premise for addressing the informative needs of both the academic community and the non-academic one.
Possible Next Steps
The achievement of the above-mentioned objectives aims to contribute to fill a gap in the research field of comparative European local government management. To produce methodologically and theoretically sound comparative research on internal local government management sustained by the evidence of data and cases will provide the basis for new and fruitful research projects, for reinforcing scientific cooperation among European scholars of different disciplines and their Institutions, and the establishment of a new scientific European network.