UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose


Geert Bouckaert on the Neo-Weberian State

06 March 2024, 12:00 pm–1:30 pm

Geert Bouckaert on the Neo-Weberian State

A talk at UCL IIPP by Geert Bouckaert

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to

All | UCL students






IIPP Comms

This event is open to IIPP's students and faculty only

Hosted at UCL IIPP on Wednesday 6th March 2024 from 12:00 - 13:30 (GMT) for a talk by Geert Bouckaert.

Geert Bouckaert will talk about 'The neo-Weberian state: From ideal type model to reality?' Public sector reforms have been a feature of past decades. Many of these reforms reacted against hierarchy and bureaucracy to shift to markets and networks. Next to New Public Management (NPM) and New Public Governance (NPG), the neo-Weberian state (NWS) also remained a crucial ideal type, certainly for the Western European practice which is embedded in Weberian public administration (PA). A theoretical and empirical question is whether NWS is sustainable and resilient in re-inventing and re-appraising ‘bureaucracy’ in the 21st century. This contribution claims that initially there was an empirical observation, certainly in continental Europe, of neo-Weberian public administration derived from the dynamics of public sector reforms in the second half of the 20th century. It was then ‘upgraded’ as an NWS ideal type model for theoretical reasons. NWS is a hierarchy-driven system within a hierarchy-market-network space. This NWS (based and driven by hierarchy) then moved to one of the normative reform models. It is also claimed and assumed that NWS, contrary to NPM (market-driven) and NPG (network-driven), will ensure the three core functions of a ‘whole of government’ strategy within a ‘whole of society’ context: inclusive and equitable service delivery, resilient crises governance, and effective innovation for government and society. 

This brown bag lecture is part of Creative Bureaucracy brown bags on Wednesdays throughout Term 2.
The talk is being organised as an enrichment event as part of an IIPP MPA module led by Prof Rainer Kattel. Students who would like to be notified of other events in the future can sign up by emailing IIPPComms@ucl.ac.uk.

Read more about Creative Bureaucracy brown bag lectures here

About the Speaker

Geert Bouckaert

Honorary Professor at UCL Institute for Innovation for Public Purpose (IIPP)

Geert Bouckaert
Geert Bouckaert is professor at the KU Leuven Public Governance Institute, globally one of the leading institutes of its kind. As past-president of the International Institute of Administrative Sciences, and of the European Group for Public Administration and current Vice-Chair of the Committee of Experts of Public Administration of ECOSOC, United Nations, he is a highly influential thought-leader in public administration.

Professor Bouckaert is one of the globally-leading public administration scholars, his research profile is wide-ranging and covers topics that are of vital interest to IIPP’s development, for instance his research on public sector reforms in the OECD countries and his focus on performance management. He is a highly cited scholar and his book, Public management reform: A comparative analysis (co-authored with Christopher Pollitt), is in its 4th edition and already belongs to the canon of classic works in public administration.

Teaching on public sector perfromance management in our MPA in Innovation, Public Policy and Public Value, Professor Bouckaert focusses on how governments connect performance to management and governance. Public sector performance is fundamental to ensuring that the public sector remains relevant and part of the solution to societal problems. Legitimacy and trust in the public sector is increasingly linked to the capacity to demonstrate a well performing public sector for its service delivery and its policies.

More about Geert Bouckaert