The majority of information systems developments are unsuccessful. The larger the development, the more likely it will be unsuccessful. Despite the persistence of this problem for decades and the expenditure of vast sums of money, computer failure has received surprisingly little attention in the public administration literature. This article outlines the problems of enthusiasm and the problems of control, as well as the overwhelming complexity, that make the failure of large developments almost inevitable. Rather than the positive view found in much of the public administration literature, the author suggests a pessimism when it comes to information systems development. Aims for information technology should be modest ones, and in many cases, the risks, uncertainties, and probability of failure mean that new investments in technology are not justified. The author argues for a public official as a recalcitrant, suspicious, and skeptical adopter of IT.
The literature on public management reform exhibits two intertwined convergence myths. First, a world‐wide consensus on a new public management (NPM) reform agenda is seen to exist amongst policy reformers and practitioners. If this agenda is not fully implemented in all cases, this is generally explained by political and reform setbacks rather than disagreement on policy aims. Second, this NPM agenda is now seen as challenged and even abandoned and replaced by an emergent post‐NPM or ‘public value leadership’ agenda and/or policy paradigm. We show the NPM convergence is overstated, with a remarkable resilience of existing institutions, and a diversity of public management systems. On the other hand, even within NPM exemplars that have putatively now adopted a post‐NPM agenda, there is debate to what degree NPM has been abandoned, and over the novelty, coherence and resilience of the post‐NPM agenda. Divergence and contextual variation prevail. The role of myth in policy reform is further examined.
Drawing on 438 telephone interview surveys in Australia and 500 in New Zealand, we find evidence of a 'participation divide' where those participating in politics do so using a range of means, including electronic ones. Those less likely to participate in politics, are less likely to participate across all means measured. Those with higher levels of education and income and of European ethnicity are more likely to participate. We confirm the existence of the socalled 'digital divide' with those that use e-government means and those that do not, being stratified by education, ethnicity, income, gender and age. Contrary to our expectations we find that lower levels of trust in government are associated with higher levels of some types of participation, including e-government ones.
Using an online panel, we surveyed a representative sample of 500 each in Australia and New Zealand during July 2020, in the middle of the Covid‐19 pandemic. We find trust in government has increased dramatically, with around 80% of respondents agreeing government was generally trustworthy. Around three quarters agreed management of the pandemic had increased their trust in government. Over 85% of respondents have confidence that public health scientists work in the public interest. Testing four hypotheses, we find that income and education predict trust in government and confidence in public health scientists, as does voting for the political party in government. Trust in government and confidence in public health scientists strongly predict Covid‐19 phone application use, largely through convincing people the App is beneficial. Trust in government then is both an outcome and antecedent of government effectiveness. Building trust is important for governments implementing difficult policy responses during a crisis.
This article seeks to enhance the actor perspective on major policy reforms. It builds upon the literature on "policy entrepreneurs" and addresses its explanatory vagueness by specifying five hypotheses outlining the actions that proponents of major policy change need to take in order to be effective in forging departures from existing, path-dependent policies and to overcome entrenched opposition to reforms. These hypotheses on "reformist political leadership" (after Blondel) are applied to the four attempts to reform key aspects of macroeconomic policy in Australia under the first two Labor governments led by Robert J. Hawke.
During the mid-1980s and early 1990s the New Zealand economy moved from being one of the most regulated outside the former communist bloc to among the most liberal in the OECD. Largely unheralded and begun by an ostensibly social democratic Labour government, changes included the floating of the exchange rate; extensive liberalization of financial, capital and other markets; lowering of trade protection; fiscal restraint and monetary disinflation; changes to the machinery of government; corporatization and then sale of state assets; and changes to industrial relations frameworks (
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