The 'steering state' model : The emergence of a new organizational form in the French Public Administration
Sociologie du travail
FR : Le Seuil
67 - 89 p.
Public administration, Bureaucracy, Administrative reform, New Public Management
Since the 1990s, a new organizational form of the administrative system in France has been steadily redefining relations between central administrations and local units of the state. Labelled “the steering state” or the “managerial state”, this new paradigm hinges on separating the strategic functions of steering and controlling the state from the operational functions of execution and policy implementation. The making of this new form of state organization involves two parallel processes: political and cognitive. For one thing, the adoption of concrete measures for “government at distance” results from power struggles between three major ministries (the ministries of the Interior, Budget and Civil Service). For another, a new legitimate “categorization of the state” is being formed in the major committees involved in the reform process of the 1990s; it is carried forward by top civil servants and inspired by the ideas of New Public Management.