The New Public Management in Europe: Adaptation and by Christopher Pollitt, Sandra Van Thiel, Vincent Homburg

By Christopher Pollitt, Sandra Van Thiel, Vincent Homburg

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Nevertheless there is evidence that, although the whole NPM package has not been ‘bought’ by many continental European countries, these countries have made selective and limited use of certain of its elements or instruments (for example contracting-out, performance-related pay, privatization). But this did not mean that the respective administrative systems were converging as totalities. Even the evidence of widespread use of specific instruments and techniques has to be interpreted cautiously, because there is a good deal of research to indicate that such elements are frequently extensively adapted or ‘translated’ when they are imported into new contexts.

State officials transformed from personal servants of the king into servants of the impersonal state. State officials became properly educated and trained professionals with the proper expertise. The nineteenth century witnessed the beginning of professional bureaucracies, like the transformation of the British civil service into a meritocracy after the Northcote-Trevelyan reform of 1853. Serving the British state was no longer the prerogative of the gentry. A qualified, non-political, administrative class educated in liberal universities replaced the aristocracy (Drewry and Butcher, 1988).

International dissemination of general knowledge about state, government and administration of southern countries like Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal remains restricted, even in the field of comparative politics and government, let alone in the scientific community interested in public management reforms. That is why this chapter, before proceeding to a comparative analysis of administrative reforms in the three countries, first presents a general historical-institutional ‘tour d’horizon’ on the three countries’ state, government and administration.

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