This major international handbook provides a complete review and guide to past and present knowledge in this essential field of inquiry. Assembling an outstanding team of scholars from around the world, it comprehensively explores the current state of the art in academic thinking and the current structures and processes for the administration of public policy following this period of rapid transformation and change.

Environmental Perspectives on Public Institutions

Environmental perspectives on public institutions

‘Beware’, Charles Perrow warned, of ‘unspecified “environments”’ (Perrow, 1986: 278). His primary concern was that analysts should not ignore powerful actors and interests that might manipulate organizations or their members. More sharply delimited environments also are critical to myriad others, including public administration scholars seeking fuller understanding of the activities, evolution and impact of government organizations, and agency officials hoping to improve, or at least maintain, funding, performance or constituency support.

As in organization theory more generally, conceptions of organizational (and institutional) environments in public administration have been ‘undergoing rapid and varied transformations’ (Scott, 1995: 44). This chapter traces some of this development, directing particular attention to views of environmental dynamics drawn from theories of contingency, resource ...

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