Unbundled Government: A Critical Analysis of the Global Trend to Agencies Quangos and Contractualisation

Unbundled Government: A Critical Analysis of the Global Trend to Agencies Quangos and Contractualisation

Unbundled Government: A Critical Analysis of the Global Trend to Agencies Quangos and Contractualisation

Unbundled Government: A Critical Analysis of the Global Trend to Agencies Quangos and Contractualisation

Synopsis

This comprehensive study discusses the series of changes in governmental systems and structures. The essays consider countries which have most enthusiastically embraced the 'New Public Management' - the UK, Australia and the USA, continental European countries which have generally been more cautious and also the governmental structures of transitional countries of central and eastern Europe and the developing world.

Excerpt

What is available and what is missing in the study of quangos?

Geert Bouckaert and Guy B. Peters

Numerous structural changes occurring in the public sector have increased the awareness of the existence and importance of autonomous and quasi-autonomous organizations. the role of these organizations first came to academic prominence during the 1970s when the term “quango” was introduced into the lexicon of political science and public administration (Hague, Mackenzie, and Barker 1975), at least in the Anglo-Saxon world. More recently, governments have created, or attempted to create, “agencies” or other forms of more or less autonomous organizations, to implement programs. in most instances these organizations remain responsible to the minister but yet have substantial autonomy from the ministries. These forms of organization have come to be used more commonly in a wide variety of countries around the world. in addition to the Anglo-Saxon countries, where these forms of organization have taken on a number of different names, other industrialized democracies and many less developed countries have copied these formats for their own governments with an even wider range of terminologies.

As well as the practical increases in the use of more autonomous and quasi-autonomous organizations, there has been a spate of research on the role of these organizations in governing. Although there has been substantial description, and some analysis, of this type of organization, there are a number of notable deficiencies in this body of research. Indeed, despite the investment of time and energy on this topic, there is still a great deal more to do to place these organizations in the broader theoretical and comparative literature on the public sector. We do know that there are (apparently) more of these organizations and that there are a number of managerial and accountability issues arising from their use. On the other hand, there have been relatively few testable propositions that have developed from the literature and seemingly little interest in moving beyond the descriptive. Arguably, we think we know much more about these organizations than we actually do, given the numerous assumptions that have been somehow elevated to the level of fact.

This chapter will examine what we consider to be major deficiencies in the existing literature that attempts to describe and explain this type of . . .

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