The development of the European public service: from modernisation to post-modernisation

  • O. V. Onufriienko Dnepropetrovsk regional institute of public administration, the National academy of public administration under the President of Ukraine
Keywords: modernization theory, post-modernization, public service reformation, civil society, convergence of civil society and the State


Problem setting. On the whole, modern science of public administration, both national and foreign one, has come over the ideas of the modernisation theory being an important constituent of cross-disciplinary gnoseology. Taking into consideration the very undeniable fact that the problems of national public service modernisation can be mainly solved through comparative studies, the clearing up of the peculiar features and subject matter of the civil service modernisation in the countries of the European Union is an exciting prospect for further research.Recent research and publications’ analysis. The genesis of the modernisation theory has been generally associated with fundamental works of M. Weber, E. Durkheim, A. Comte, K. Marx, H. Spencer and F. Tönnies. Its further development directly relates to researches of D. Bell, C. Geertz, D. Dahrendorf, D. Apter, M. Singer, M. Löwy, S. Huntington etc. J. Baudrillard, J. Habermas, M. Foucault are considered fair to be the founders of the postmodern model. The specific features of civil service development and modernisation have been studied in the comparative aspect among others both by national scholars such as M. Bahmet, V. Bashtannyk, N. Honcharuk, Kh. Deineha, Yu. Kovbasiuk, O. Obolenskyi, I. Pysmennyi, L. Prokopenko, S. Seriogin, V. Sharii etc. and foreign specialists such as O. Barabashev, D. Bossart, Zh. Ziller, A. Nozdrachev, A. Obolonskii etc. Famous scholar Christophe Demmke’s works are worth paying particular attention to.Comprehending thereof made it possible to state a complex objective of the suggested paper, namely: to describe the modern state of the cross-disciplinary modernisation theory as such, the specific features of its implementation in public administration studies (both foreign, and national ones); to analyse the concept of post-modernisation as the most advanced version of the modernisation theory to date, to generalise the current thematic research dealing with various aspects of civil service reformation in the EU Member States, to reveal common and specific features in their development trends; to describe the specificity of the European public service development in its correlation with the concepts of the modernisation and post-modernisation theories on the basis of the received results and to shape the prospects for further subject research in the chosen direction.Paper’s main body. The shift from the career system to the post-bureaucracy model, the regulation of the salary levels for public officials and private sector employees and relevant changes within the retirement insurance system, the strengthening of executive managers’ responsibility, the substitute of the corporate model for the statute management one and the use of the network management concepts should be referred to the general trends of the European public service. The reformation is biased to the open models of civil service and a flexible management system that is based on the individualisation framework by the implementation of modern scientific and technical achievements. Understanding the civil service activity as the provision of services to the society etc. has been finally generated. The undertaken research made it possible to draw a number of interrelated conclusions.1. The European cognitive paradigm, which describes the problems of the public administrative reformation in total and the civil service in particular, is finally very close to setting aside the ideas of the linear progress and strict dichotomy “tradition – modern” characteristic of the early modernisation theory. Regardless of the fact of enunciating the reception of a postmodern concept as such which may not happen, pilot studies of modern vectors of the development of national civil service systems in the EU Member States highlight the dominance of the particular postmodern ideas such as the enhancement of the role of civil society being a customer or co-initiator of the civil service reforms, the focus on new challenges for the civil service and the ways to respond them etc.2. Further convergence with the civil society seems to be the major perspective of the public service development in the European Union countries (it is also typical for relatively new East-European Member States but with established restrictions). It is not a contingency that not only the variety of social studies (first of all, political and social ones) develop the idea of the very necessity to bring private and public sectors together, mainly, independently of each other, but it also involve the state-building practice and public service reformation in the developed European countries, particularly in the United Kingdom, Germany and France.


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How to Cite
Onufriienko, O. (2016). The development of the European public service: from modernisation to post-modernisation. Public Administration Aspects, 4(9-10), 78-90.
Personnel policy and public service