Managerial innovations in central government: not wrong, but hard to explain

Managerial innovations in central government: not wrong, but hard to explain Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore the adoption of managerial innovations in the public sector, identifying the reasons why their uptake and use may fail. Design/methodology/approach – The problem is investigated empirically through a case study approach. The change processes resulting from the adoption of two managerial innovations within the same Italian Central Government Institution are illustrated in detail. Findings – Both cases represent a failure in the adoption and use of managerial innovations, attributable to a complex interplay of external and organisational forces. The empirical investigation points out the relevancy of individuals' actions and choices. The real explanation for the failure of both projects in fact seems to be key individuals' inability: first to “make sense” of what the innovation was about and second to communicate this “sense” throughout the organisation. Research limitations/implications – The findings are based on data from the Italian Central Government, and as such are not extendable elsewhere. However, the mechanisms of change examined here may be of wider interest to other public sector organisations. Originality/value – The paper analyses a real‐world attempt to deploy managerial innovations in the public sector, and the resultant impact. A theoretical framework based on institutional theory and its recent advances is used to better understand the plural factors influencing the use of managerial innovations. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Journal of Public Sector Management Emerald Publishing

Managerial innovations in central government: not wrong, but hard to explain

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2010 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
0951-3558
DOI
10.1108/09513551011012349
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore the adoption of managerial innovations in the public sector, identifying the reasons why their uptake and use may fail. Design/methodology/approach – The problem is investigated empirically through a case study approach. The change processes resulting from the adoption of two managerial innovations within the same Italian Central Government Institution are illustrated in detail. Findings – Both cases represent a failure in the adoption and use of managerial innovations, attributable to a complex interplay of external and organisational forces. The empirical investigation points out the relevancy of individuals' actions and choices. The real explanation for the failure of both projects in fact seems to be key individuals' inability: first to “make sense” of what the innovation was about and second to communicate this “sense” throughout the organisation. Research limitations/implications – The findings are based on data from the Italian Central Government, and as such are not extendable elsewhere. However, the mechanisms of change examined here may be of wider interest to other public sector organisations. Originality/value – The paper analyses a real‐world attempt to deploy managerial innovations in the public sector, and the resultant impact. A theoretical framework based on institutional theory and its recent advances is used to better understand the plural factors influencing the use of managerial innovations.

Journal

International Journal of Public Sector ManagementEmerald Publishing

Published: Jan 26, 2010

Keywords: Public sector organizations; Managerialism; Innovation; Organizational change; Central government; Italy

References

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