The Un-Politics of New Public Management in Ireland

Niamh Hardiman, Muiris MacCarthaigh

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

    20 Citations (Scopus)


    Many of the principles and indeed the rhetoric of New Public Management proved attractive to both politicians and senior bureaucrats across the developed world as a remedy for problems in policy processes. Ireland shares many features of its constitutional structures and political practices with Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, all of them early and enthusiastic adopters of NPM. Some of the organizational and procedural changes in Irish public administration do indeed bear similarities to those we would expect to see as a result of adopting principles of NPM. However, we contend that surface impressions are misleading. Drawing on a time-series database of Irish state institutions, we show that organizational changes were not necessarily driven by NPM. The absence of strong political drivers meant that reform initiatives did not fundamentally alter the configuration of the Irish public administration. Many of the problems that NPM was intended to address are only now coming under scrutiny.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationAdministrative Reforms and Democratic Governance
    EditorsJon Pierre, Jean-Michel Emeri-Douzans
    Place of PublicationLondon
    Number of pages13
    ISBN (Print)9780415557214
    Publication statusPublished - 16 Mar 2011

    Publication series

    NameRoutledge/ECPR Studies in European Political Science


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