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Managerial innovations in central government: not wrong, but hard to explain

Arnaboldi, Michela, Azzone, Giovanni and Palermo, Tommaso ORCID: 0000-0002-6021-6052 (2010) Managerial innovations in central government: not wrong, but hard to explain. International Journal of Public Sector Management, 23 (1). pp. 78-93. ISSN 0951-3558

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Identification Number: 10.1108/09513551011012349


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore the adoption of managerial innovations in the public sector, identifying the reasons why their uptake and use may fail. Design/methodology/approach – The problem is investigated empirically through a case study approach. The change processes resulting from the adoption of two managerial innovations within the same Italian Central Government Institution are illustrated in detail. Findings – Both cases represent a failure in the adoption and use of managerial innovations, attributable to a complex interplay of external and organisational forces. The empirical investigation points out the relevancy of individuals' actions and choices. The real explanation for the failure of both projects in fact seems to be key individuals' inability: first to “make sense” of what the innovation was about and second to communicate this “sense” throughout the organisation. Research limitations/implications – The findings are based on data from the Italian Central Government, and as such are not extendable elsewhere. However, the mechanisms of change examined here may be of wider interest to other public sector organisations. Originality/value – The paper analyses a real-world attempt to deploy managerial innovations in the public sector, and the resultant impact. A theoretical framework based on institutional theory and its recent advances is used to better understand the plural factors influencing the use of managerial innovations.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2010 Emerald
Divisions: Accounting
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
J Political Science > JS Local government Municipal government
Date Deposited: 17 Jun 2011 11:12
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2024 23:12

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