Title: Public action: a question of performance?

Authors: Salvatore Maugeri; Jean-Luc Metzger

Addresses: Laboratoire Vallorem, Orleans University, IUT de Chartres, 1, Place R. Joly, 28000 Chartres, France ' Laboratoire Interdisciplinaire pour la Sociologie Economique (CNAM-LISE), 2, rue COnté, 75003 Paris, France

Abstract: This paper examines the process of reforming public organisations in three European countries (Germany, Finland, France). These reforms are assumed to enhance the 'performance' of public action. They are realised by the introduction of many managerial principles, instruments, tools, equipments, but also institutions and professional groups. Beyond their diversity, these elements have common structures that we analyse with the category of 'management devices'. Thus, the role of think tanks in the dissemination of a managerial spirit in Germany, the effects of the balanced score card in Finland, the use of the ABC method in the management of water in large French cities or the computerisation and centralised control acts of care in psychiatric hospitals in France, can be analysed as management devices, aiming at reducing the cost and controlling the evolution of public services. As a result, the uses of management devices prevent civil servants to device a truly social performance.

Keywords: management devices; Europe; public action; public organisations; sociology of management; public sector reform; Germany; Finland; France; think tanks; balanced scorecard; BSC; activity-based costing; ABC; water management; computerisation; centralised control; psychiatric hospitals; cost reduction; service control; public services; new public management.

DOI: 10.1504/IJPSPM.2013.056068

International Journal of Public Sector Performance Management, 2013 Vol.2 No.2, pp.105 - 122

Available online: 27 Aug 2013 *

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