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Competency and bureaucracy: diffusion, application and appropriate response?

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Competency, a long-standing concern with the skills and capabilities of bureaucrats and bureaucracies, has recently attracted renewed attention for public service reformers and consultants. This study explores three questions about the recent fashion for competency language in public management. First, it considers whether contemporary approaches to competency have been diffused from a single source by briefly examining the history of the competency movement in three countries. Second, it analyses, on the basis of case studies drawn from the UK Department of Trade and Industry and the German Federal Economics ministry, how government departments organise competency by assembling policy teams that reflect the problem constellations for particular policy issues. Finally, it raises the issue of whether national administrations have adopted appropriate responses to competency in the light of contemporary demands placed in national bureaucracies. It concludes that there is only a limited tendency to diffusion, that departments respond to problems more by inertia than design and that the national responses offer only limited solutions to justified concerns about competency.

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en

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http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/17907/

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