What is public service improvement?

George A. Boyne*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

180 Citations (Scopus)


Five conceptual models of public service improvement are derived from the large literature on organizational effectiveness. These are the goal, systems-resource, internal process, competing values and multiple constituency models. The strengths and weaknesses of each of these models is evaluated and a working definition of improvement is proposed. This emphasizes that concepts and measures of public service improvement are political rather than technical, and contingent rather than universal. Conclusions are drawn on the implications for academic research and policy development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-227
Number of pages17
JournalPublic Administration
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2003


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