Despite their immense importance for many aspects of public service management, the specific features of places have been largely ignored in recent public management literature. Technologies have received much more attention, but mainly within the specific field of e-government. In this book Christopher Pollitt puts together a powerful and engagingly-written case for paying much more attention both to place and to technological change, and the interactions between them.
The book synthesizes theories and concepts from a range of disciplines and focuses them on the many ways in which public services shape places, and places shape public services. Using extensive and varied original empirical material, it examines the role that new technologies have played in these interactions. This theme is traced through internationally comparative studies of central government agencies, hospitals, population registration, and the police. It raises questions about the longer term effects of the increasingly 'virtual' relations between the citizen and government. The book opens up new perspectives on the organization of our most basic and vital public services.
Christopher Pollitt is Research Professor of Public Management at the Public Management Institute, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. He is author of more than 60 scientific articles and author or editor of more than a dozen scholarly books, including Managerialism and the Public Services, The Essential Public Manager, Public Management Reform: A Comparative Analysis (with Geert Bouckaert - third edition), and Time, Policy, Management. He has also undertaken extensive consultancy and advice work for a wide variety of organizations, including the European Commission, the OECD, the World Bank, H.M Treasury, the Finnish Ministry of Finance, the Dutch Ministry of the Interior, and the Danish Top Executives Forum. From 1980-1989 he was editor of Public Administration and since 2006 he has been editor-in-chief of the International Review of Administrative Sciences.
I have lost count of the number of books and articles about public management that begin with a shopping list of (usually exaggerated) socio-economic, technological, and other changes that are supposedly driving change. Yet there is usually then a complete void, a chasm, between these lists and the analysis of public policy and organizational change that follows. Christopher Pollitt continues, in this book, a journey to fill the gapto analyse precisely how social and technological
changes shape, and are shaped by, government actions. Through analysis of concrete cases, and focussing here on the relationship between place and technology, Pollitt teases out the actual links in the chains of recursive causality that literally shape government-context interactions. Highly
recommended to those who prefer to see the goods and not just the shopping list!
(Professor Colin R. Talbot, Professor of Public Policy and Management, Manchester Business School)
Pollitt demonstrates brilliantly that once one brings space back in, our understanding of government alters in significant ways. In highlighting government's role as a "placemaker" and the technologies available to it New Perspectives on Public Services shows the close relationship between a range of phenomena and processes usually considered in isolation. With this book and his earlier volume Time, Policy, Management Pollitt pioneers a truly multidimensional
approach to the study of government and public management.
(Ed Page, Sidney and Beatrice Webb Professor of Public Policy at the London School of Economics)
Unusual approaches and novel analyses are by definition scarce in the social sciences. Christopher Pollitt's new book is a gladly-seen exception
(Professor Michiel de Vries, Radboud University Nijmegen)
1: Introduction: Where is the Government?
2: Theories of Place and Technology: a Review
3: Placeshifts: Technologies and the Scale of Change
4: Governments as Placemakers: Modalities and Effects
5: Capital Flight - Moving Out from the Big City
6: Save our Hospital!
7: Births, Marriages, Deaths, and Identities
8: The Police
9: Discussion and Conclusions
Annex A: Technology, Place and Task (TPT): Brief Summary of a Research Programme