Public management, Peace-building and Creating Change: Shifting the Lens of Analysis from the Macro to the Micro

Joanne Murphy, Robert Galavan, Gary Brown, Maire Braniff

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Considerable time, research money and expertise has been spent exploring the complex reality of ethno nationalist conflict and the role that public management plays in supporting the transition from violent conflict to stability, order and prosperity (Esman 1999; Guelke and Milton-Edwards 2000; Brinkerhoff 2005; Brinkerhoff, Wetterberg et al. 2012; Rao 2014). However, there seems to be a gap in relation to the practical challenges of managing change within, through and beyond such conflict. This paper aims to begin the process of putting a framework around the real experience of public management in conflict and transition by shifting the lens of analysis from macros concerns about sequencing interventions (Rao 2014) and legitimate requirements of security, stability and service delivery (Brinkerhoff, Wetterberg et al. 2012) to a micro analysis of the attitudes, behaviours, challenges and compromises held and faced by those public servants on the front line of conflict management and conflict transformation processes. Using senior managers as the unit of analysis and Northern Ireland as an embryonic case study, this paper discusses the links between ethno nationalist societal conflict, public sector reform and manager behaviour. In doing so, it highlights some initial data from an early pilot study into the experiences of individuals in significant public service roles at various stages of the NI conflict / peace process and draws some tentative conclusions about the viability of a wider study.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 10 Sep 2014
EventBritish Academy of Management 2014 Conference (BAM2014) - Belfast, Belfast, United Kingdom
Duration: 09 Sep 201411 Sep 2014


ConferenceBritish Academy of Management 2014 Conference (BAM2014)
CountryUnited Kingdom


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