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Modernization in Large European Systems of Public Administration

Eugen Pusić ; Faculty of Law, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia

Puni tekst: hrvatski, pdf (2 MB) str. 233-267 preuzimanja: 233* citiraj
APA 6th Edition
Pusić, E. (2002). Modernizacija velikih europskih upravnih sustava. Hrvatska i komparativna javna uprava, 4 (2), 233-267. Preuzeto s
MLA 8th Edition
Pusić, Eugen. "Modernizacija velikih europskih upravnih sustava." Hrvatska i komparativna javna uprava, vol. 4, br. 2, 2002, str. 233-267. Citirano 30.10.2020.
Chicago 17th Edition
Pusić, Eugen. "Modernizacija velikih europskih upravnih sustava." Hrvatska i komparativna javna uprava 4, br. 2 (2002): 233-267.
Pusić, E. (2002). 'Modernizacija velikih europskih upravnih sustava', Hrvatska i komparativna javna uprava, 4(2), str. 233-267. Preuzeto s: (Datum pristupa: 30.10.2020.)
Pusić E. Modernizacija velikih europskih upravnih sustava. Hrvatska i komparativna javna uprava [Internet]. 2002 [pristupljeno 30.10.2020.];4(2):233-267. Dostupno na:
E. Pusić, "Modernizacija velikih europskih upravnih sustava", Hrvatska i komparativna javna uprava, vol.4, br. 2, str. 233-267, 2002. [Online]. Dostupno na: [Citirano: 30.10.2020.]

The modern State developed in the course of the last five hundred
years primarily in Europe, It stabilized social interaction in larger
territories than were the units of the previous feudal order. It also
differentiated, interacting with its environment, and was integrated
within an evolving framework under the impact of increasing social
density, increasing information and knowledge and hence increasing
productivity of labour, as well as a widening circle of socially legitimate interests, It went through alternating phases of concentration and deconcentration of power, from absolute monarchy, to democratic reforms and revolutions, to the State of industrial societies with a maximum o f concentration in totalitarian States, to a reaffirmation of a deconcentration of power, of human rights and on to the first emergence of institutions of global society.
In a globally interacting human society the individual State, limited
by its territorial borders, has not the reach necessary to regulate worldwide processes, from the stock market to global criminal networks, nor is it sufficiently adaptable to the increasing speed of global change.
How did large European Systems of public administration react to
ibis situation?
In Great Britain the conservative government under Margaret
Thatcher set itself the objective to modernize the British economy,society and State in order to reverse what was seen as a general decline of the country, its performance and its international standing. The reforms were inspired by the neo-liberal economic ideology favouring the market over the State. In the field of public administration this ideological orientation produced a movement for a new public management, i.e. for the application in the public sphere of methods and forms developed in business. This included far-reaching privatization of formerly public activities, the creation of central executive agencies only under the general regulative control of ministries, the creation o f quasi-markets within the public administrative System, fiat forms of organization with the use of teams, a tendency towards decentralization, networking and a reduction of bureaucratie formalism. Posts at higher levels of the civil service were opened to candidates outside the organization in which the vacancy occurred and even outside the public administrative System altogether. Appointments were made in the form of contracts usually for a limited time. Pay was made dependent on results achieved. The financing of public services was decentralized and linked to the achievement of goals. The performance of comparable organisations is compared, wherever possible on the basis of quantitative indicators. The interests and wishes of the public were given greater weight. Methods of monitoring performance and of controlling were developed. The reforms were said to have reduced the over-all costs of public administration by
20%. Along with their positive evaluation, the reforms were also criticized for overemphasizing economy and efficiency over other, equally legitimate goals of the System o f public administration, for over-valuing the principles of the market generally and especially in relation to public services, for underestimating the difficulties of evaluating a service, for jeopardizing the achieved level quality of the civil service.
In general, the ideologically motivated market orientation of the
Thatcher government has been judged excessive, but the quest for a
more economical and more efficient system of public administration has been accepted as a permanent goal of administrative reform, and has been continued by the Labour government o f T. Blair, man endeavors to modernize public administration proceed different set of historical preconditions than the British: the federal character of the State, the tradition of the “Rechtsstaat” that in Germany preceded the emergence of the democratic order, the high social esteem enjoyed by the German civil service, as well as formidable task of incorporating the former German Democratic Republic. The German reforms continue the long-standing reformist tradition since the Stein-Hardenberg reforms of 1806.
The movement for modernizing the administrative system found first ‘acceptance at the local level with the aim of transforming, particularly, cities into “service-enterprises”. For the system of German public administration as a whole, modernisation should make the system expensive, to apply to its methods from business administration, to introduce contracts, controlling, benchmarking, cost-benefit a analyses, pervasive informatization and computerization, combinations a of public and private efforts instead of outright privatization. There is less readiness for a reform of the personnel system.
It is too early to assess the results of the German reforms towards modernizing their System of public administration. German scholars and practitioners in the field feel that they started their reforms with a delay of 10 years. Also their commitment to the ideas of the New Public Management is not without reservations. They agree among themselves that the values of democracy and the rule of law should take precedence over the goals of efficiency.
The French, like the British and Germans, are aware of the decisive macro-changes in the world: globalization and the information-revolution, as well as of the implications of these changes for the System of public administration. Their attachment, however, to the traditions of the French State and its public law, as well as to the high valuation of the French civil service educated in the grandes ecoles, first of all in the National School of Administration (ENA) seems to be even greater than the corresponding attitude in Germany. They are also aware of their delay in responding to the global changes in the public sector. On the other hand, they have significant doubts about the advantages of markets in public services. They prefer to work at perfecting the System of laws, making it more adaptable, introducing consultation of the interested parties in the process of legislation as well as in the implementation of laws. They favour the use of the instrument of contract in regulating behavior in the public field. They accept that the value of the law should be measured also by the criterion of efficiency and economy. The civil service, though excellent, is expensive and does show a tendency towards caste-like closure. It is accepted that public administration should be made more efficient. The traditional hierarchy should be made more flexible by constructing flatter organizations. The flood of legal norms of all kinds and of administrative prescriptions should be stopped.
The limits of possible reforms, though, are seen in the attitudes of those responsible for analysing theoretically and guiding practically the administrative System. These people are sceptical as to the possibility of transferring methods evolved in industry to the State and the field of public administration generally.
Comparing the three countries and their approaches to modernising their Systems of public administration leads to the conclusion that the movement towards reform was more radical in Great Britain, possibly under the influence of the neoconservative ideology of the Thatcher government, while the reformers in Germany and France were partially blocked by the strong traditions of the “Rechtsstaat” and of administrative law, as well as by the high valuation of the civil service in these countries. Great Britain has also worked for a longer time at the modernization reforms and can show some results that are still in the future for the other two countries. The comparison does not justify, at present, any generalizations about the modernization process. On the other hand, all the countries are facing the same world-wide changes - globalization and the information revolution - and all of them are, therefore, under pressure to improve their world-wide competitive position. It seems likely that this situation will lead them to compare solutions and, thus evolve increasingly successful models of modernizing reforms.

Ključne riječi
state administration; public administration; economy; efficiency; autonomy

Hrčak ID: 197913



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