This study investigates how public managers deal with the internal and external dynamics of public-sector organisations in contemporary (Western) societies, from a governance perspective. Characteristic of the current situation is that the roles of governmental institutions have become contested, unclear and vague. It seems that there are no longer any clear boundaries between public and private, between levels of government and between national and supranational constructs. The same applies to the internal organisation of public-sector institutions. Since the 1980s, market and network thinking have affected the alleged robustness of the classical hierarchical bureaucracies. The result is that public managers have to cope with a permanent clash of paradigms. They work with, and amidst, three competing ideas about steering and organising that to an extent undermine each other: hierarchical governance, network governance and market governance. This does not only apply to complex and unstructured problems, but to the entire range of problems they have to deal with, including routine issues and matters of emergency.
KeywordsPolicy Process Ideal Type Public Manager Soil Protection Policy Field
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