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Recovering the craft of public administration

Recovering the craft of public administration
Recovering the craft of public administration
Public sector reform has rarely dropped off the political agenda of Western governments, yet the old craft
skills of traditional public administration remain of paramount importance. Th e pendulum has swung too far toward
the new and the fashionable reforms associated with New Public Management and the New Public Governance. It needs to swing back toward bureaucracy and the traditional skills of bureaucrats as part of the repertoire of governing. This article discusses the skills of counselling, stewardship, practical wisdom, probity, judgment, diplomacy, and political nous. Although these skills are of wide relevance, the article focuses on their relevance in Australia, Britain, Canada, and New Zealand. It concludes that the next bout of reforms needs to recover the traditional craft skills. It is not a question of traditional skills versus the new skills of New Public Management or New Public Governance; it is a
question of what works, of what skills fi t in a particular context.
craft, public administration, new public governance
0033-3352
638-647
Rhodes, R. A. W.
cdbfb699-ba1a-4ff0-ba2c-060626f72948
Rhodes, R. A. W.
cdbfb699-ba1a-4ff0-ba2c-060626f72948

Rhodes, R. A. W. (2016) Recovering the craft of public administration. Public Administration Review, 76 (4), 638-647. (doi:10.1111/puar.12504).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Public sector reform has rarely dropped off the political agenda of Western governments, yet the old craft
skills of traditional public administration remain of paramount importance. Th e pendulum has swung too far toward
the new and the fashionable reforms associated with New Public Management and the New Public Governance. It needs to swing back toward bureaucracy and the traditional skills of bureaucrats as part of the repertoire of governing. This article discusses the skills of counselling, stewardship, practical wisdom, probity, judgment, diplomacy, and political nous. Although these skills are of wide relevance, the article focuses on their relevance in Australia, Britain, Canada, and New Zealand. It concludes that the next bout of reforms needs to recover the traditional craft skills. It is not a question of traditional skills versus the new skills of New Public Management or New Public Governance; it is a
question of what works, of what skills fi t in a particular context.

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More information

e-pub ahead of print date: 8 December 2015
Published date: 29 June 2016
Keywords: craft, public administration, new public governance
Organisations: Politics & International Relations

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 408220
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/408220
ISSN: 0033-3352
PURE UUID: 1d5ea305-8df6-4512-80a0-9954f54b48e0
ORCID for R. A. W. Rhodes: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-1886-2392

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 17 May 2017 04:02
Last modified: 28 Apr 2022 02:06

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