Policy Press

Understanding and Improving Public Management Reforms

By Thomas Elston

Published

Apr 30, 2024

Page count

128 pages

ISBN

978-1447360889

Dimensions

203 x 127 mm

Imprint

Policy Press

Published

Apr 30, 2024

Page count

128 pages

ISBN

978-1447360896

Dimensions

203 x 127 mm

Imprint

Policy Press

Published

Apr 30, 2024

Page count

128 pages

ISBN

978-1447360896

Dimensions

203 x 127 mm

Imprint

Policy Press
Understanding and Improving Public Management Reforms

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.

Rather than focusing on the challenge of implementation, Understanding and Improving Public Management Reforms reveals how flawed policy design is often the major contributor to reform failure. Cognitive bias, restrictive social institutions and inattention to ‘quiet costs’ during the policy-making process are essential to explaining the poor track record of reforms to date – and point the way towards better decision-making in future.

Written for policy professionals, service managers, students and researchers alike, this concise, practical and multidisciplinary study draws on varied examples to help reconceive the perennial problem of public management

reform – and to propose new solutions.

“Can government reform itself to deliver better public service? Thomas Elston adroitly addresses this question with a rich and engaging set of concepts and practical examples. Anyone seeking to make the public sector more effective would profit by reading this book.” Donald Moynihan, Georgetown University

"This book offers a fresh and important take on public management reform. Everyone who is interested in better government should read it." Christopher Hood, University of Oxford

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

Introduction

1. Public Management and Its Reform

2. Intuition, Bias and Reform

3. Efficiency, Legitimacy and Reform

4. Quiet Costs of Reform

5. Onward, Inter-disciplinary Reform