Continuing Public Sector Management Education – Long-Term Trends, Emerging Issues and Novel Experiments

Call for papers for: International Journal of Public Sector Management

Guest Editors: Morten Balle Hansen and Anja Overgaard Thomassen, Aalborg University, Denmark and Dag Olaf Torjesen, Agder University, Norway

With this special issue, the objective is to enhance new knowledge about varieties of continuing public sector management education and to add new dimensions to discussions about the role of public sector management education in modern civil service systems and how it may be improved. Both solid descriptive analysis of basic characteristics of public sector management education in different national contexts as well as analyses of experiments with new types of management education and analyses of more normative discourses about how to improve public management education are welcome.

The question about how to ensure relevant and state of the art competencies as well as the right ethical habitus among those who work in the service of the state as leaders and managers is an ancient one (Rutgers 1997). It was debated famously by Plato, Aristotle and Seneca in the Greco-Roman era around two millennia ago and has been a core issue in Public Administration since its establishment as an academic field at the end of the 19th century (Wilson 1886; Weber 1968).

In recent decades however, the rapid expansion of the welfare state in advanced economies in the post-war era and the New Public Management movement of the 1980s and 1990s enhanced a new focus on Public Management education in many advanced economies. In many countries continuing (also called lifelong learning) public management education has become an expanding industry with heavy involvement by Universities, University colleges and private consultancy companies. Education programs such as master’s in public administration (MPA), master’s in public management (MPM), master’s in public governance (MPG) and master’s in public policy (MPP) are provided in several countries.

Thus today, the approach towards public management education has changed dramatically in many countries, as continuing (lifelong learning) professional management training is emphasized as important for the continuous development of the public sector.

At present public sectors experience a number of divergent developments. For instance, in advanced economies demographic changes pressure public expenses which combined with a lowering workforce decrease the level of financial resources. This implies that new and different approaches within e.g. care and education must be developed requiring, in some situations, quite fundamental organizational changes.

In many countries, the present situation has also increased the debate on post-NPM initiatives and the possible implications of for instance turning public organizations from New Public Management (NPM) towards New Public Governance (NPG) priorities. It is however not an easy task to implement a new paradigm and develop new ways of organizing and collaboration with various groups of citizens. More often different paradigms of governance coexist and create tensions, dilemmas and paradoxes to public managers (Torfing, et. al., 2020). These tensions between different managerial paradigms illustrate the level of complexity, which public managers often experience in their daily practice.

Due to increased organizational complexity and organizational changes, management education has gained increasing interest in recent years at a number of levels: societal, political, organizational, and individual.

Thus, in this special issue we invite papers discussing public management education from various levels and perspectives. Especially we are interested in comparative studies elaborating on educational systems’ and structures’ effect and impact, how to develop and transfer new knowledge between the organizational and the educational context, and the motives and arguments behind the engagement in continuing management education (Thomassen & Jørgensen, 2020).

The objective of the special issue is to provide new knowledge and new insights into the area of public management education that are useful in the ongoing efforts to develop public organizations capable of coping with the changes of tomorrow.

Suggested topics

  • The interrelatedness between continuing education and organizational practice
  • Managers’ individual or organizational motives and objectives for management education
  • Societal developments increasing the perceived relevance of management education
  • From New Public Management to New Public Governance – the relevance of management education
  • Country studies of the evolution, current status and evolving issues of public management education in specific countries
  • Comparative studies on various themes related to national educational structures and approaches to management education
  • Challenges and opportunities in continuing management education

Important dates:

  • February 2021 – public call for papers to special issue
  • 15 May – Deadline for submission of abstracts
  • 1 July – Decision and feedback concerning acceptance or rejection of abstracts
  • 15 November – Deadline for submission of full paper
  • Spring to Summer 2022 – review and revision process
  • Fall 2022 – Special issue finalized and accepted ready for production process
  • Early 2023 – Publication of special issue

Send abstracts no later than 15 May 2021 to either Morten Balle Hansen [email protected]; Anja Overgaard Thomassen [email protected] or Dag Olaf Torjesen [email protected] 

Submission of full papers based on accepted abstract should be delivered through ScholarOne no later than 15 November 2021.



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Knassmüller, M., & Veit, S. (2016). Culture matters–the training of senior civil servants in Austria, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland. Teaching Public Administration34(2), 120-149.

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