The Introduction of New Public Management Principles in the Italian Public Sector



Over the last few decades, the Italian public administration has undergone significant reform, which aimed to rectify the structural defects in the system, leading to inefficiency in public management and an improper allocation and utilization of resources. The Italian legislator, following the New Public Management (NPM) guidelines, introduced private principles and instruments in the public field to improve the efficiency, effectiveness and financial stability of state enterprise. In particular, one of the main innovations introduced in this field regarded the recognition of the principle of distinction between politics and administration and the transfer from a bureaucratic model based on norms to a managerial model based on performance. The reform has the aim of changing the traditional “weberian bureaucratic” approach of the Italian public administration, in accordance with the NPM principles. This reform process regarded also other European countries that have undergone profound changes. As well as Italy, the reform process in these countries was based on the principles of NPM which proclaims: an increased focus on results in terms of efficiency, effectiveness and quality of service by setting standards of productivity; an orientation towards citizens-consumers in terms of service quality and customer satisfaction; the introduction of market mechanisms; a more strategic focus on the reinforcement of strategic capacity. This paper is underpinned by an analysis of the regulation introduced by the reform of the Italian public administration to observe whether its main objectives have been really achieved. It is also based on a comparative analysis of the effects produced by reforms in Italy and in other European Countries. Lastly this work aims to verify if it is possible to individuate a framework of convergence based on the principles of new public management.

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