Public Management and Politics: Senior Bureaucrats in France
GB : Blackwell Publishing
473 - 501 p.
Why is new public management reform so difficult to implement in France? In order to answer this question, this article examines the changes that have affected the higher civil service since the late 1970s. Decision-making networks have been considerably politicized, and public policies are now largely devised by ministerial cabinets staffs. Simultaneously, the tasks of career senior civil servants are increasingly technical and specialized. The management reforms undertaken since 2002 by an economically liberal government might have offered senior bureaucrats the opportunity to regain a more active professional role, but the reforms run counter to their political culture, since the large majority of them still share a leftwing political ideology. Reformers seem to have no other choice than to change the institutional system in order to resolve this contradiction.