The fiscal crisis faced by political executives across Europe and the wider world has had a dramatic effect on public administration. In attempting to re-balance budgets, governments of varying political hues have adopted strategies to reduce the size and cost of the state bureaucracy. An emerging trend, which this Workshop shall explore, is the pursuit of collaborative efficiency measures in government.
Collaborative efficiency measures are reforms to organizational structures and processes that are designed to produce cost savings through cooperation with one or more additional organization(s). The efficiencies are generally the result of greater economies of scale, pooled investments, and professionalization. Examples of such reforms include: sharing back-office functions like HR and finance; creating procurement syndicates, where multiple agencies collaborate in order to increase their buying power; infrastructure consolidation, where the same electronic service delivery platform is used by multiple agencies for multiple purposes; and public service ‘one-stop-shops’.
The move towards collaborative efficiency raises a variety of challenges and opportunities for scholars of politics and government. In particular, it raises questions about the process of contemporary public management reform; about political control and accountability in the increasingly complex landscape of public organizations; and about performance and coordination in government.
The Co-Directors are in the process of developing international comparative research on collaborative efficiency in government. Currently, the field is rather underdeveloped, with key insights scattered among different sub-disciplines (political science, public administration, public management and organization studies). Therefore, the Workshop will gather together these and other researchers in one venue for the first time, providing new impetus for internationally coordinated and multidisciplinary research. Our intention is to use the Workshop to advance empirically rich and theoretically informed papers towards readiness for publication in either an edited book or journal symposium.