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Shadow Management : Neoliberalism and the Erosion of Democratic Legitimacy through Ombudsmen with Cases Studies from Swedish Higher Education

Sörensen, Jens and Olsson, Erik J LU (2020) In Societies
Abstract
We argue that the neoliberal tradition and new public management reforms of the public sector effectively erode the core (liberal) democratic values of the rule of law and transparency. The tension between public law and managerially-influenced governmental policy is in practice resolved by the emergence of what we call “shadow management” in public administration, whereby managerial decisions that clash with constitutional and administrative law are dealt with in internal memos or consultancy reports and hidden from public view. The consequence is a duality in the public sector, which potentially reduces public trust in institutions and undermines their democratic legitimacy. Finally, we argue that when governmental neoliberal policy... (More)
We argue that the neoliberal tradition and new public management reforms of the public sector effectively erode the core (liberal) democratic values of the rule of law and transparency. The tension between public law and managerially-influenced governmental policy is in practice resolved by the emergence of what we call “shadow management” in public administration, whereby managerial decisions that clash with constitutional and administrative law are dealt with in internal memos or consultancy reports and hidden from public view. The consequence is a duality in the public sector, which potentially reduces public trust in institutions and undermines their democratic legitimacy. Finally, we argue that when governmental neoliberal policy clashes with legal requirements, the likely effect is that the popular institution of the (governmental or parliamentary) ombudsman, originally introduced for legal supervision over civil servants, takes on the new deceptive role of providing pseudo-legal justification for neoliberal reform, making neoliberalism and ombudsmen a particularly problematic combination from a democratic and legal perspective. We support our contentions by a case study of Swedish higher education and hypothesize that the mechanisms we highlight are general in nature. (Less)
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publication status
published
subject
keywords
neoliberalism, shadow management, ombudsman, new public management, rule of law, transparency, higher education
in
Societies
publisher
Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI)
ISSN
2075-4698
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
4236d9b8-4f21-450b-bcbf-2ecd849ce309
alternative location
https://www.mdpi.com/2075-4698/10/2/30
date added to LUP
2020-03-23 09:28:58
date last changed
2020-03-30 14:34:58
@article{4236d9b8-4f21-450b-bcbf-2ecd849ce309,
  abstract     = {We argue that the neoliberal tradition and new public management reforms of the public sector effectively erode the core (liberal) democratic values of the rule of law and transparency. The tension between public law and managerially-influenced governmental policy is in practice resolved by the emergence of what we call “shadow management” in public administration, whereby managerial decisions that clash with constitutional and administrative law are dealt with in internal memos or consultancy reports and hidden from public view. The consequence is a duality in the public sector, which potentially reduces public trust in institutions and undermines their democratic legitimacy. Finally, we argue that when governmental neoliberal policy clashes with legal requirements, the likely effect is that the popular institution of the (governmental or parliamentary) ombudsman, originally introduced for legal supervision over civil servants, takes on the new deceptive role of providing pseudo-legal justification for neoliberal reform, making neoliberalism and ombudsmen a particularly problematic combination from a democratic and legal perspective. We support our contentions by a case study of Swedish higher education and hypothesize that the mechanisms we highlight are general in nature.},
  author       = {Sörensen, Jens and Olsson, Erik J},
  issn         = {2075-4698},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {03},
  publisher    = {Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI)},
  series       = {Societies},
  title        = {Shadow Management : Neoliberalism and the Erosion of Democratic Legitimacy through Ombudsmen with Cases Studies from Swedish Higher Education},
  url          = {https://www.mdpi.com/2075-4698/10/2/30},
  year         = {2020},
}