Transferring new public management to the periphery: UK international development organizations applying project technology to China

Kerr, Ron (2008). Transferring new public management to the periphery: UK international development organizations applying project technology to China. International Studies of Management and Organization, 38(4) pp. 58–77.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.2753/IMO0020-8825380403

Abstract

This paper addresses the following question: what happens when ideas from new public management from the West are used in the context of international development? Drawing on empirical data from the field of international development, it follows the trajectory of the "logical framework" as a governance technology from the level of government in the United Kingdom to the level of operations in China. This trajectory can be reconstructed as moving downward through a hierarchical structure of carrying organizations—from an ideology that is pervasive in government, through the government departments to the quasiindependent international development agencies, and then to the practitioners in the field. As shown in this paper, what is transferred to the periphery is not the only intended aims of the project—in this case, teacher training—but also the policy preoccupations of the central bureaucracy with how to perform accountability by translating the messy local context into uniform categories in order that the center may monitor and hold the periphery to account.

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