Turnaround management strategies in local authorities: Managerial, political and national obstacles to recovery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Over recent decades, nations worldwide have been struggling with public finance difficulties and other organizational and functional challenges that, inter alia, led to the EU Fiscal Stability Treaty in 2012. Under various reforms, poor-performing local authorities are subject to continuous pressure to employ turnaround management strategies-strategies borrowed from the private sector that are assumed to be effective in public-sector contexts. Based on insights from institutional theory, we argue not only that turnaround management strategies have been either poorly matched to the causes of failure in the government sector or poorly implemented, but that turnaround management strategies will almost always tend to fail in the public context. Based on survey data collected in local authorities, we empirically verify this argument. Theoretical and practical lessons for improving reforms in the government sector and other public organizations that face crisis are suggested.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-138
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Management and Organization
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Cambridge University Press and Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management.


  • central-local relation
  • institutional theory
  • isomorphism
  • local government
  • poor-performing public organizations
  • public recovery
  • resource-based theory
  • turnaround management strategies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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