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Usted está aquí: Inicio Acerca del CLAD Publicaciones Revista del CLAD Reforma y Democracia Artículos por número publicado 031, Febrero 2005 From There to Here, from Now till Then: Buying and Borrowing Public Management Reforms

From There to Here, from Now till Then: Buying and Borrowing Public Management Reforms

Christopher Pollitt

The international traffic in public management ideas and practices is not new, but it does seem to be growing. Too often, these transfers are conceived as a “technical fix”, or as convergence on some global trend. But the idea that standardized solutions can be transplanted is usually an illusion. There is no one version of “good governance”, or “reinvention”, or even of Total Quality Management or accruals accounting. Management transplants are often risky, and involve extensive adaptation. “Management tools” are not clean and surgical; they come stuck together with cultural and institutional assumptions, which may not fit the importing country. A number of key studies now point to the need to take into account the cultural environment, the institutional pattern, the management strategies and the primary task characteristics. The more these match between the exporting and importing jurisdictions, the easier the transfer is likely to be. The more they diverge, the higher the risk of failure or distortion. The paper illustrates this “matching” approach with a worked example based on the spread of executive agencies.

In conclusion, those responsible for borrowing or buying management ideas from other countries cannot afford to be passive. Local knowledge is important in several respects, and should play an equal role with technical expertise. The expert doesn’t always know best (and the best experts know that!).

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