During the past thirty years or so, governments across Europe have grown ever more accustomed to developing initiatives to enhance the performance of key institutions and organizations. At the same time as being subject to the introduction of wide-ranging management reforms, many of those institutions and organizations are now increasingly charged with responding effectively to complex and intractable social problems. Amongst the so-called “wicked issues” public organizations are expected to address is the cohesiveness of the societies that they serve. In fact, European governments have implemented a swathe of initiatives designed to prompt public organizations to devote more energy to addressing the supposed centrifugal tendencies associated with globalisation and the breakdown of traditional social structures. In this context, the main objective of this report is to analyse emerging trends in social cohesion, beginning with socio-economic influences on social solidarity and social order in Europe before evaluating whether public management matters. To do so, the report draws upon primary and secondary research carried out in the COCOPS Work Packages 1-5, and blends this with analysis of Eurobarometer data and interviews with European policy-makers carried out specifically for Work Package 6. The findings of the report suggest first that social cohesion is largely determined by socio-economic disadvantage and that the economic strain associated with the financial crisis has also had a detrimental effect on the cohesiveness of European societies. At the same time, public management also matters, with some reforms and practices found to have beneficial effects for social solidarity and social order – though some others were found to have a negative effect. Since it seems that public management can make a positive difference to the cohesiveness of society, there is good reason for the countries of the EU to continue to invest in developing better policies aimed at promoting social cohesion.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Social cohesion, public sector reform, financial crisis
Persistent URL hdl.handle.net/1765/78039
Series COCOPS - (COordinating for COhesion in the Public Sector of the Future)
Grant This work was funded by the European Commission 7th Framework Programme; grant id fp7/266887 - COordinating for COhesion in the Public Sector of the Future (COCOPS)
Andrews, R, Downe, J, Guarneros-Meza, V, Jilke, S.R, & Van de Walle, S.G.J. (2013). Public management reforms and emerging trends and effects on social cohesion in Europe. COCOPS - (COordinating for COhesion in the Public Sector of the Future). Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/78039