Reform without Doctrine: Public Management in France
International Journal of Public Sector Management
GB : Emerald Group Publishing
Purpose – This paper aims to give an overview of the public management process in France and tries to explain why it is specific as compared to other countries. Design/methodology/approach – The paper is based upon a sociological and comparative methodology. It reports the empirical findings of a European survey. Findings – Management reforms in France are fragmented and do not fit in a general doctrine or a new philosophy of the state. The French managerial reform style is due to the domestication of management tools by Napoleonic structures. Nevertheless, management innovations are used in order to draw new frontiers within public administration between what is the centre and what is the periphery. Research limitations/implications – The methodology as well as the findings of the paper could be used for a more systematic comparative work in order to understand why and how public management tools fit in national political as well as professional traditions. There is scope for connecting public management research with broader historical and sociological studies of public administration. Originality/value – The paper shows that both political values and work practices have to be taken into account in order to understand why public sector management reforms are easier in some countries even within the Napoleonic tradition.