Beyond Fragmentation in Public Governance: the Search for Connective Capacity
Introduction. In the first chapter of this volume we have argued that fragmentation has become a major characteristic of public administration and society. One the one hand fragmentation is the result of the process of modernization and progress that has evolved over centuries. Within the public sector, the ideas of the New Public Management (NPM) movement has intensified it in the last decades. In this perspective, fragmentation can be seen as the inevitable outcome of a process of specialization in which rather autonomous organizations are involved in carrying out specific tasks and dedicated functions. For instance, contemporary health care has its roots in the medieval hospitals, which not only provided a minimal form protection and care – based on especially religious reasons - to sick people, but also to children who lost their parents, to widows, to elderly people, or to mentally and physically disabled persons as well to alcoholics, tramps and pilgrims. Some centuries later the medieval hospitals have evolved into highly specialized institutions that provide highly professional care, based on scientific knowledge, to well defined groups, which increasingly are being considered as customers.