OECD Working Papers on Public Governance

Selected studies on public governance policy prepared for use within the OECD. These papers address such issues as pensions, ageing, management, pay and decentralistion in the public sector.


Managing Change in OECD Governments

An Introductory Framework

This paper argues that reform and change are generally used as interchangeable concepts but that is not always appropriate as reforms do not always produce change and changes are not always the product of reform efforts. This study draws on the notion of receptivity to explain the practice of managing change in six OECD countries: Finland, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and Switzerland. Over the last few years, these six OECD countries have adopted major reform initiatives to modernise the management of their public service to meet society’s growing expectations in a context of limited financial resources and political pressure. Receptivity is an underdeveloped concept that intends to reveal the factors that contribute to organizations being either low-change, non-change contexts or high-change, receptive contexts. Managing change, it is argued, is an independent variable to explain change in government as it largely determines policy success. Four interconnected factors of analysis are used to explain managing change in government: ideological vision, leading change, institutional politics, and implementation capacity.

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