From responsiveness to collaboration: Governance, citizens, and the next generation of public administration

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The evolution of the New Public Management movement has increased pressure on state bureaucracies to become more responsive to citizens as clients. Without a doubt, this is an important advance in contemporary public administration, which finds itself struggling in an ultradynamic marketplace. However, together with such a welcome change in theory building and in practical culture reconstruction, modern societies still confront a growth in citizens' passivism; they tend to favor the easy chair of the customer over the sweat and turmoil of participatory involvement. This article has two primary goals: First to establish a theoretically and empirically grounded criticism of the current state of new managerialism, which obscures the significance of citizen action and participation through overstressing the (important) idea of responsiveness. Second, the article proposes some guidelines for the future development of the discipline. This progress is toward enhanced collaboration and partnership among governance and public administration agencies, citizens, and other social players such as the media, academia, and the private and third sectors. The article concludes that, despite the fact that citizens are formal "owners" of the state, ownership will remain a symbolic banner for the governance and public administration-citizen relationship in a representative democracy. The alternative interaction of movement between responsiveness and collaboration is more realistic for the years ahead.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)527-540
Number of pages14
JournalPublic Administration Review
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Marketing


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