The Serendipity of Fragmentation: Bringing Organization Back Into Public Governance

Stephan Leixnering, Renate E. Meyer

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Reform approaches in the public sector led to significant changes in the sector’s design. Especially NPM-inspired reform measures which had largely aimed at organizational disaggregation created pluriform landscapes of public sector organizations (PSOs). Following a core public governance principle, it was the central government’s task to coordinate, steer and control the newly emerged decentralized organizations. This raises questions about the overall design of the public sector at present. Our paper engages with the prevalent public governance phenomenon of fragmentation from a design perspective in order to understand governments’ lacking capability to steer and control PSOs. Therefore, we lift the level of analysis from single organizational entities to the organizational landscape to explore its organizational architecture and to grasp the status of the overall entity.
By investigating the structure of the City of Vienna which employs more than 90,000 people, we shed light on the design that structures collective action within the city’s multi-organizational setting. We find that the overall design is rather serendipitous than consciously decided. In more detail, it displays characteristics of a hybrid form of organizing between networks and formal organization: lacking a single center and featuring multiplex and multifaceted relations within the politico-administrative apparatus and between government and PSOs, high fragmentation, local and robust action, but latent structures of significant formal authority and an implicitly shared idea of the overall joint objectives and collective values of ‘the city‘ as a whole.
To present our case, we use a twofold strategy of data collection. First, we explored publicly available sources for the architecture of the city’s organizational landscape that provided insights in how structures and relations were formally designed. Second, we interviewed top officials and executives who performed key tasks in the coordination and management of the city’s autonomous units.
Reform approaches in the public sector led to significant changes in the sector’s design. Especially NPM-inspired reform measures which had largely aimed at organizational disaggregation created pluriform landscapes of public sector organizations (PSOs). Following a core public governance principle, it was the central government’s task to coordinate, steer and control the newly emerged decentralized organizations. This raises questions about the overall design of the public sector at present. Our paper engages with the prevalent public governance phenomenon of fragmentation from a design perspective in order to understand governments’ lacking capability to steer and control PSOs. Therefore, we lift the level of analysis from single organizational entities to the organizational landscape to explore its organizational architecture and to grasp the status of the overall entity.
By investigating the structure of the City of Vienna which employs more than 90,000 people, we shed light on the design that structures collective action within the city’s multi-organizational setting. We find that the overall design is rather serendipitous than consciously decided. In more detail, it displays characteristics of a hybrid form of organizing between networks and formal organization: lacking a single center and featuring multiplex and multifaceted relations within the politico-administrative apparatus and between government and PSOs, high fragmentation, local and robust action, but latent structures of significant formal authority and an implicitly shared idea of the overall joint objectives and collective values of ‘the city‘ as a whole.
To present our case, we use a twofold strategy of data collection. First, we explored publicly available sources for the architecture of the city’s organizational landscape that provided insights in how structures and relations were formally designed. Second, we interviewed top officials and executives who performed key tasks in the coordination and management of the city’s autonomous units.

Conference

ConferenceThe 19th Annual Conference of International Research Society for Public Management. IRSPM 2015
Number19
LocationUniversity of Birmingham
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityBirmingham
Period30/03/201501/04/2015
Internet address

Keywords

    Cite this

    Leixnering, S., & Meyer, R. E. (2015). The Serendipity of Fragmentation: Bringing Organization Back Into Public Governance. Paper presented at The 19th Annual Conference of International Research Society for Public Management. IRSPM 2015, Birmingham, United Kingdom.
    Leixnering, Stephan ; Meyer, Renate E./ The Serendipity of Fragmentation : Bringing Organization Back Into Public Governance. Paper presented at The 19th Annual Conference of International Research Society for Public Management. IRSPM 2015, Birmingham, United Kingdom.27 p.
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    abstract = "Reform approaches in the public sector led to significant changes in the sector’s design. Especially NPM-inspired reform measures which had largely aimed at organizational disaggregation created pluriform landscapes of public sector organizations (PSOs). Following a core public governance principle, it was the central government’s task to coordinate, steer and control the newly emerged decentralized organizations. This raises questions about the overall design of the public sector at present. Our paper engages with the prevalent public governance phenomenon of fragmentation from a design perspective in order to understand governments’ lacking capability to steer and control PSOs. Therefore, we lift the level of analysis from single organizational entities to the organizational landscape to explore its organizational architecture and to grasp the status of the overall entity.By investigating the structure of the City of Vienna which employs more than 90,000 people, we shed light on the design that structures collective action within the city’s multi-organizational setting. We find that the overall design is rather serendipitous than consciously decided. In more detail, it displays characteristics of a hybrid form of organizing between networks and formal organization: lacking a single center and featuring multiplex and multifaceted relations within the politico-administrative apparatus and between government and PSOs, high fragmentation, local and robust action, but latent structures of significant formal authority and an implicitly shared idea of the overall joint objectives and collective values of ‘the city‘ as a whole.To present our case, we use a twofold strategy of data collection. First, we explored publicly available sources for the architecture of the city’s organizational landscape that provided insights in how structures and relations were formally designed. Second, we interviewed top officials and executives who performed key tasks in the coordination and management of the city’s autonomous units.",
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    Leixnering, S & Meyer, RE 2015, 'The Serendipity of Fragmentation: Bringing Organization Back Into Public Governance' Paper presented at, Birmingham, United Kingdom, 30/03/2015 - 01/04/2015, .

    The Serendipity of Fragmentation : Bringing Organization Back Into Public Governance. / Leixnering, Stephan; Meyer, Renate E.

    2015. Paper presented at The 19th Annual Conference of International Research Society for Public Management. IRSPM 2015, Birmingham, United Kingdom.

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review

    TY - CONF

    T1 - The Serendipity of Fragmentation

    T2 - Bringing Organization Back Into Public Governance

    AU - Leixnering,Stephan

    AU - Meyer,Renate E.

    PY - 2015

    Y1 - 2015

    N2 - Reform approaches in the public sector led to significant changes in the sector’s design. Especially NPM-inspired reform measures which had largely aimed at organizational disaggregation created pluriform landscapes of public sector organizations (PSOs). Following a core public governance principle, it was the central government’s task to coordinate, steer and control the newly emerged decentralized organizations. This raises questions about the overall design of the public sector at present. Our paper engages with the prevalent public governance phenomenon of fragmentation from a design perspective in order to understand governments’ lacking capability to steer and control PSOs. Therefore, we lift the level of analysis from single organizational entities to the organizational landscape to explore its organizational architecture and to grasp the status of the overall entity.By investigating the structure of the City of Vienna which employs more than 90,000 people, we shed light on the design that structures collective action within the city’s multi-organizational setting. We find that the overall design is rather serendipitous than consciously decided. In more detail, it displays characteristics of a hybrid form of organizing between networks and formal organization: lacking a single center and featuring multiplex and multifaceted relations within the politico-administrative apparatus and between government and PSOs, high fragmentation, local and robust action, but latent structures of significant formal authority and an implicitly shared idea of the overall joint objectives and collective values of ‘the city‘ as a whole.To present our case, we use a twofold strategy of data collection. First, we explored publicly available sources for the architecture of the city’s organizational landscape that provided insights in how structures and relations were formally designed. Second, we interviewed top officials and executives who performed key tasks in the coordination and management of the city’s autonomous units.

    AB - Reform approaches in the public sector led to significant changes in the sector’s design. Especially NPM-inspired reform measures which had largely aimed at organizational disaggregation created pluriform landscapes of public sector organizations (PSOs). Following a core public governance principle, it was the central government’s task to coordinate, steer and control the newly emerged decentralized organizations. This raises questions about the overall design of the public sector at present. Our paper engages with the prevalent public governance phenomenon of fragmentation from a design perspective in order to understand governments’ lacking capability to steer and control PSOs. Therefore, we lift the level of analysis from single organizational entities to the organizational landscape to explore its organizational architecture and to grasp the status of the overall entity.By investigating the structure of the City of Vienna which employs more than 90,000 people, we shed light on the design that structures collective action within the city’s multi-organizational setting. We find that the overall design is rather serendipitous than consciously decided. In more detail, it displays characteristics of a hybrid form of organizing between networks and formal organization: lacking a single center and featuring multiplex and multifaceted relations within the politico-administrative apparatus and between government and PSOs, high fragmentation, local and robust action, but latent structures of significant formal authority and an implicitly shared idea of the overall joint objectives and collective values of ‘the city‘ as a whole.To present our case, we use a twofold strategy of data collection. First, we explored publicly available sources for the architecture of the city’s organizational landscape that provided insights in how structures and relations were formally designed. Second, we interviewed top officials and executives who performed key tasks in the coordination and management of the city’s autonomous units.

    KW - Organization

    KW - Organizing

    KW - Public governance

    KW - Public sector organizations

    KW - Fragmentation

    M3 - Paper

    ER -

    Leixnering S, Meyer RE. The Serendipity of Fragmentation: Bringing Organization Back Into Public Governance. 2015. Paper presented at The 19th Annual Conference of International Research Society for Public Management. IRSPM 2015, Birmingham, United Kingdom.