New Public Management: Current Trends and Future Prospects

By Kate McLaughlin; Stephen P. Osborne et al. | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Chapter 19

Researching the New Public Management

The role of quantitative methods

George Boyne

Most of the empirical work by public management researchers is based on qualitative methods. Academic effort has concentrated on case studies of, or commentaries on, government policies or management practices. By contrast, quantitative research has been rare. What are the reasons for the scarcity of quantitative studies, and for the lack of statistical tests of hypotheses concerning public management processes and outcomes? What is the potential contribution of quantitative methods to the development of this field, and what are the problems of realizing this potential? The aim of this chapter is to address these questions.

The limited presence of quantitative work in public management research is reviewed in the first part of the chapter. The focus here is on the UK, and in particular on publications in the leading journals since 1980. Some potential reasons for the absence of quantitative work are then identified. These are partly technical (an apparent lack of relevant research training), and partly associated with the dominant paradigmatic assumptions in the academic community. In the second part of the chapter, the potential benefits of quantitative research on public management issues are outlined, and criteria for evaluating the quality of statistical studies are identified. In the third part, some suggestions are made for improving the quality of this form of research, and for improving its practical relevance.

Quantitative methods in public management research

The extent of the use of quantitative methods can be identified through an analysis of the contents of the leading academic journals in the public management field. Although this procedure is straightforward in principle, it involves three complex issues in practice. First, what is 'public management' as an area of academic inquiry? Secondly, which journals should be included in the assessment? And thirdly, which techniques count as 'quantitative methods' for this purpose?

Public management has emerged as an area of academic inquiry in the last two decades. Its development has run roughly parallel to that of NPM as a set of government policies and management practices (Gray and Jenkins 1995; Hughes


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
New Public Management: Current Trends and Future Prospects
Table of contents

Table of contents



Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 355

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?