Pursuing Horizontal Management

The Politics of Public Sector Coordination

B. Guy Peters

From the first, specialization and coordination have presented governments with a conundrum: specialized program might be best for delivering one service to the public, but combining such programs for all public services inevitably produces costly redundancies and inefficiencies. In this long-awaited book, Guy Peters brings his expertise and extensive experience to bear on the problem of administrative and policy coordination. Through theory and four real-world case studies, he explores how—and whether—coordination can transform ordinary, flawed patterns of governing into more effective and efficient performance by the public sector.

This timely work arrives at a moment when coordination is proving especially challenging—as popular approaches to public administration emphasize breaking larger public organizations into smaller, single purpose programs, and as a push to involve the private sector in policy development and implementation has increased government segmentation. For insights into the workings—and limitations—of coordination, or horizontal management, Peters draws on extensive scholarship as well as his own consulting work with governments including Finland, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, and Mexico. He highlights practical successes, and failures, of horizontal management in case studies of Homeland Security in the US; child protection in the UK; policymaking in Finland; and the operations of the European Union. In the process, Peters evaluates a full tool chest of instruments that might be used to enhance coordination.

“Guy Peters gives us a comprehensive inside view of the Holy Grail of Coordination. In this book we benefit from his vast international experience, his capacity to go to the essence of horizontal management, and this critical view of coordination as part of a problem but also as part of a solution.”

—Geert Bouckaert, President of the International Institute of Administrative Sciences

“Coordination has held ‘keyword’ status in administrative studies for over a century (at least), but few have tackled it with the thoroughness and insight that B. Guy Peters does here. What Peters brings to this effort is not merely his well known capacity to frame the concept and associated issues, but a depth and breadth of comparative knowledge second to none. This analysis will set the discussion for years to come.”

—Mel Dubnick, coeditor of Encyclopedia of Public Administration and Public Policy

Combining theory and practice, and considering a wide range of public policy challenges, this book clearly and cogently presents the most comprehensive, in-depth, and detailed discussion available of policy coordination in the public sector—at a time when its insights are most urgently needed.

About the Author

B. Guy Peters is Maurice Falk Professor of Government at the University of Pittsburgh and Distinguished Professor of Comparative Governance at Zeppelin University in Friedrichshafen, Germany. He is the author of over seventy books, including The Future of Governing: Four Emerging Models.

Additional Titles in the Studies in Government and Public Policy Series