Coordinating for Cohesion in the Public Sector of the Future

WP8: Futures and scenarios

Futures and scenarios in public sector reform


  • To compile insights from leading academics and policy makers about future trends in public sector reform, using a Delphi method
  • To develop scenarios for the future of the public sector based on these insights
  • To inform policy makers and the academic community about future trends in public sector reform

Work description

NPM has dominated the public sector reforms in the 1990s and early 2000s. Some trends are emerging internationally (see WP5), and new modes of governance are likely to emerge. These diverging trends range from coordination, over regulation, to demand-driven and responsive government. In addition structural changes include a growth a network governance-style arrangements and a virtualization of the public sector through the growth of e-government. In this WP, we will identify trends and draft scenarios for the future of the public sector.

Work package related outputs

In 2013 we conducted a survey among Public Administration academics in European countries. Respondents were asked to reflect on the state of the discipline, and general trends within the discipline. This includes topics such as academic publishing and the reputation of journals, disciplinary affiliations, time use, research funding, and emerging research topics.

Academic publications


Andrews, R. & Esteve, M. (forthcoming). Still Like Ships in the Night? The Relationship Between Public Administration and Management Studies. International Public Management Journal.

Lægreid, P. & Wise, L.R. (forthcoming). Reforming Human Resource Management in Civil Service Systems: Robustness and Flexibility. In F. van der Meer, T. Toonen & J. Raadschelders (eds), Comparative Civil Service Systems in the 21st Century. Houndmills: Palgrave.

Pollitt, C. (forthcoming). Towards A New World:  Some Inconvenient Truths For Anglosphere Public Administration. International Review of Administrative Sciences.

Further academic publications can be accessed here.

COCOPS research reports, working papers and policy briefs

Current and Future Trends in Public Sector Reform: The Views of Trade Unions and Consultants in Ten European Countries COCOPS Research Report (2014, D. Curry, W. Blijleven & S. Van de Walle)

Future Trends in European Public Administration and Management: An outside-in Perspective, COCOPS Research Report (2014, C. Pollit)

Public Administration as an Academic  Discipline: Trends and Changes in the COCOPS Academic Survey of European Public Administration Scholars, COCOPS Research Report (2014, D. Curry, S. Van de Walle & S. Gadellaa)

The Future of Public Administration: Public Sector Reform in Europe, COCOPS Policy Brief  7 (2014, W. Blijleven & D. Curry)

Trends for the Future of Public Sector Reform: A Critical Review of Future-looking Research in Public Administration, COCOPS Research Report (2014, D. Curry)

Work package leader:

Steven Van de Walle
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Department of Public Administration
The Netherlands

This page has been modified on 24 September 2011