Department of Political Science

New Public Governance in the Baltic States: Flexible Administration and Rule Bending

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The New Public Governance approach advocates a more flexible and participatory public administration as means to higher efficiency and increase legitimacy. Increasing flexibility and thereby public employees’ discretion may, however, pose a risk to equality and impartiality, core values in democratic and rule of law societies. Using a survey among Baltic public employees, this article explores this risk. We ask if public employees’ preferences for flexible rule application go hand in hand with accept of bending rules, even if it means a breach of impartiality. We find that this is the case. We also find that in contrary to what the New Public Governance approach expects, neither citizen participation nor generalized trust works as a control on rule bending. On a positive note, however, we find that control mechanisms associated with Weberian Public Administration e.g. meritocratic procedures and coordination lessens the acceptance to bend the rules.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPublic Performance and Management Review
Volume41
Issue3
Pages (from-to)648-667
ISSN1530-9576
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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