New Public Management a re-packaging of extant techniques? Some archival evidence from an Irish semi-state power company

Martin Quinn, Liz Warren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)
165 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Purpose
The objective of this paper is to explore, if like some other management initiatives, New Public Management may be a repackaging of already existent concepts. Emerging in the 1970s and 1980s as an innovative way to manage public sector elements, New Public Management has affected both the ownership and management of public sector companies, services, and utilities. Minimal research has been undertaken previously, using historic archival sources of public entities, to explore if elements of the concept originated prior to the 1970s.

Design/methodology/approach
This research draws on archival records from a publicly-owned electricity company, covering about three decades from 1946, during which a large investment project was undertaken by the company. We draw on key tenets of what is today called New Public Management, examining prior research to ascertain if similar elements were present in the case organisation.

Findings
When reviewing the progress of the investment project, many of the key elements of New Public Management emerged, even during the early part of the project.

Originality/value
There is little historical research on the origins of New Public Management, and the findings here suggest it may not be entirely new. While this does not at all invalidate existing research, it suggests New Public Management may be to an extent a repackaging of previously extant techniques. This opens up possibilities for future historic research in terms of how and why it was repackaged, and also what was/was not repackaged.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)407-429
JournalQualitative research in Accounting & Management
Volume14
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Sep 2017

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