Strategic Management in Government: Looking Backward, Looking Forward
The research carried out into strategic management in government and the wider public sector has made a lot of progress since the early 1980s. As a result, there have been major steps forward in the theory and understanding of topics, such as the development of strategy in the context of stakeholders and their relative powers, the responses of individual public sector managers to their experiences of strategic planning, and how to make strategic planning more effective. Some research directions have proved less fruitful. For example, some studies have taken ideas and propositions from the private sector literature on strategic management and investigated their extension to the public sector; this has involved substantial and rigorous research endeavors and produced only modest results. Future priorities for research should include research into strategic learning within the public sector, both in the form of emergent strategy and of intentional evaluation and learning as part of formal strategic planning. A second major example of where more research is urgently needed is research into the reform of public governance to make it more strategic, which is a matter where policy-makers and practitioners have been quite active and experimental since the mid-1990s. In this case priorities include research into the role of leadership in the conscious and purposeful reform of public governance institutions, and, probably even more urgent at the present time, research into how governments can engage citizens and other stakeholders in the formulation and implementation of government strategies.