What is public service improvement?

George A. Boyne*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    160 Citations (Scopus)


    Five conceptual models of public service improvement are derived from the large literature on organizational effectiveness. These are the goal, systems-resource, internal process, competing values and multiple constituency models. The strengths and weaknesses of each of these models is evaluated and a working definition of improvement is proposed. This emphasizes that concepts and measures of public service improvement are political rather than technical, and contingent rather than universal. Conclusions are drawn on the implications for academic research and policy development.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)211-227
    Number of pages17
    JournalPublic Administration
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2003


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