Public Administration in the Balkans from Weberian Bureaucracy to New Public Management

Academic Public Administration Studies

Public Administration in the Balkans from Weberian Bureaucracy to New Public Management

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Title: Public Administration in the Balkans from Weberian Bureaucracy to New Public Management
Author: Matei, Lucica(ed); Flogaitis, Spyridon(ed)
Abstract: The current volume reproduces papers presented in the Workshop which was organized in Athens, in February 2010 by the European Public Law Organization (EPLO) and the Faculty of Public Administration – National School of Political Studies and Public Administration (NSPSPA), Bucharest. The workshop entitled “Public Administration in the Balkans – from Weberian bureaucracy to New Public Management” has aimed to reveal relevant aspects on the developments of national public administrations in some Balkan states related to the traditional or actual models of the administrative organization. The organizers have proposed to approach theoretical and practical aspects focusing on Weberian bureaucracy and New Public Management (NPM). In this context, the general framework of debates was based both on specificity of public administration in the Balkan states and the European integration process, particularly the enlargement of the European Administrative Space to the Balkan area. As shown by a profound analysis in the papers, the characteristics of the public administrations are moreover diverse and get closer to the developments of the public administrations in Europe, such as the Mediterranean ones (Greece, Cyprus etc.) or those of the states in transition (Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, Serbia etc.). The interactions with different intensities between Weberianism and New Public Management emphasise, generally, the characteristics of “a new Weberian state” (NWS) for the Balkan states (Pollitt and Bouckaert, 2004, Meneguzzo et al, 2010), revealing a higher NPM impact (Cyprus, Greece, Croatia etc.) or a lower one (Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia etc.). NWS represents a metaphor describing a model that co-opts the passive elements of NPM, but on a Weberian foundation (Pollitt and Bouckaert, 2004, Brown, 1978). The fact that the Balkan states belong more or less explicit to NWS triggers their position in post-NPM era, thus the state remaining an important actor, able to facilitate the public-private dialogue and to sustain the processes for enhancing the effectiveness of public services and administration. The public administration reforms in the Balkan states have targeted one or several European models of national administrations. Even if the concepts on reform comprise visible differences, the tradition, geo-political specificity, human and material resources have determined similarities and common characteristics, which could be emphasized in the development and actual status of administration in the Balkan states. At the same time, the administrative reforms have already introduced elements that enable the administrations in the Balkan states to get closer to the features of “public governance”. Herewith we refer mainly to participating in decision-making, introducing the elements of “neo-corporatism” governance etc. The capacity of adaptation and openness represent a valuable feature of the Balkan administrations, most of them holding systemic connections of low intensity, thus being far away from what we call “strong administration”, found especially in the European developed states. Recent studies support the above ideas, referring to “main drivers of public administration modernization”, placing most Balkan states in the “very low” or “medium” area (Demmke et al., 2006). When referring to open government or ethics, the same studies place the Balkan states under the heading “very high influence”. Based on the above assertions, the papers emphasize concrete issues that could be synthesized in some large categories: - Balkan public administrations between tradition and modernity; - National experiences on the impact of the administrative reforms in Balkan states; - Myth or reality in considering “a Balkan model of public administration”; - Administrative convergence and dynamics as support of the evolution towards a certain model; - Assessing relevant case studies on enforcing NPM in local governance. It is also worth to mention that the approach of the participants in the workshop has been marked by the institutional innovations and trends in European governance, the debates concerning the model and characteristics of the European administration etc. The workshop was organized within the framework of Jean Monnet project “South-Eastern European developments on the administrative convergence and enlargement of the European Administrative Space in Balkan states” with the financial support of the European Community.
Date: 2011-02

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