Once upon a time in the bureaucracy: Power and public sector management

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Organization, 2002, 9 (2), pp. 225 - 247
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The paper considers empirical data drawn from organizational change of a large Australian public sector organization in the context of debate about reform of public sector organizations. It provides an ethnographic account of new public management that confounds propositions drawn from literatures both sympathetic and antithetical to this reform process. Empirically, we find that sedimented bureaucratic principles and innovative 'enterprising' freedom produce new power games around contradictory and unresolved dualisms. Neither reform hopes nor liberal anxieties are supported: instead, we identify continuing points for pressure in the organizational politics of bureaucratic reform.
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