Online from: 1988
Subject Area: Industry and Public Sector Management
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|Title:||Public management reform in Portugal: successes and failures|
|Author(s):||Isabel Corte-Real, (Sintra, Portugal)|
|Citation:||Isabel Corte-Real, (2008) "Public management reform in Portugal: successes and failures", International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 21 Iss: 2, pp.205 - 229|
|Keywords:||Business administration, Ethics, Portugal, Public sector reform|
|Article type:||Research paper|
|DOI:||10.1108/09513550810855663 (Permanent URL)|
|Publisher:||Emerald Group Publishing Limited|
|Acknowledgements:||Though in a sense unusual, the author of the present paper would like to make explicit to the reader her background that, different from the authors of the other papers of this Special Issue, is that of a practitioner. The author was personally involved in the Portuguese reform process until 1995, first as a manager and afterwards in politics, as Secretary of State for Administrative Modernisation (1989-1995). The author later could observe, though more from the outside, the evolution of the reform trajectory of Portugal. The paper thus extensively reflects the author's own experience and analysis (and, of course, perception), as well as being the result of a wide review of literature on public management reform in Portugal and more broadly in European countries.|
Purpose – The purpose of the paper is to address the question of the influence of the administrative tradition and the politico-administrative context on the formulation and implementation of public management reform in Portugal.
Design/methodology/approach – The paper is based on empirical evidence collected from various sources. It reflects the personal experience of the author, who was personally involved in the reform process, and is also the result of a wide-ranging review of literature on public administration and public management reform in Portugal and other European countries.
Findings – The paper identifies different phases of reform, and acknowledges the existence of a recurrent problem with public expenditure and increasing public employment. It concludes that there has been no lack of great reforms, and suggests a different approach – one that does not require special speeches or special doctrine, but is based on discreet work by politicians and managers seeking to fulfil the traditional values of the public service.
Research limitations/implications – Mainly due to a lack of both studies and evaluation practices – make it difficult to assess the actual impact of the different waves of reforms. However, administration has managed to cope with the process of change while maintaining a key orientation towards the citizen and society.
Originality/value – The value of the paper is that it is the first time the whole cycle of reforms, from 1974 until 2007, has been covered and also related to the politico-administrative tradition. It contains summarised but complete information and suggests a new approach based on the ethical values of the public service.
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