New Public Management (NPM) is the label which many academics have given to a series of reforms from the 1980s onwards, to improve the efficiency and performance of western governments and/or public sector organizations. Examples are the development of performance indicators and benchmarking, personnel reforms aimed at ‘normalising’ public sector employment on private sector models, placing executive bodies at arms’ length from ministries, establishing public private partnerships and introducing new management techniques and instruments. Continental European governments have adapted and re-interpreted many of the Anglo-American ideas underpinning the NPM, to adjust them to their own national politico-administrative contexts. As a consequence, reforms of the public sector may have the same labels in different countries but need not be the same in practice or in meaning; there is both convergence and divergence.

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Management Online Review
Department of Public Administration

Pollitt, C., van Thiel, S., & Homburg, V. (2007). New Public Management in Europe. Management Online Review, 1–6. Retrieved from