Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management

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Volume 4 Issue 3 (September 1996), Pages 119-184

The Integrity of the Managerial State (pages 125-132)

Corruption is back on the public agenda in many European countries. After years of neglect and diffidence, politicians, administrators and scholars have voiced serious concern about the moral integrity of the public sector. However, there is something peculiar about these debates in The Netherlands. As yet, there is no empirical data available that confirms this generally accepted picture of a public service tainted by corruption. This paper tries to explain this huge discrepancy between public concern and empirical data. The public concern, it is argued, is not just a matter of symbolics or bureau‐politics, it is also a case of institutional insecurity, caused by the transformation that the public sector is going through. Never before has government in The Netherlands, as in many other Western countries, engaged in commercial or market‐oriented activities as it has in the last decade. Step by step, the managerial state is replacing the administrative state. The present public debate about integrity in government is at least partially a reflection of the struggle in the public sector to cope with the issues that are raised by the managerial shift in Western governments. Some of the issues are probably transitional in character; they can be designed away. Some important parts of the managerial shift might cause permanent perplexities. The reason for this could be the institutional instability, both normatively and practically, of mixed arrangements.

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