Sub-theme 06: (SWG) Reconceptualizing Contemporary Public Services Organizations

Christine Teelken
VU University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Ewan Ferlie
Kings' College London, UK
Jean-Louis Denis
École nationale d'administration publique (ENAP), Montréal, Canada

Call for Papers


This sub-theme has a link to the general theme of the Colloquium: Reimagining, Rethinking, Reshaping: Organizational Scholarship in Unsettled Times. With the persisting financial crisis since 2008, the free market orthodoxies of the last 30 years are in disarray. Government is taking a bigger role in such sectors as financial services and even the automobile industry to prevent systemic collapse. Many countries are constructing a new ‘security state’ in response to increased international terrorism. Government steers, finances, enables, oversees and provides services in such strategic sectors as education, science, health and community safety and well-being. It employs a large number of key professionals in a great variety of functions in national or local contexts.

Despite international variations, everywhere the role of government remains significant and may once again be growing. How should the academic world analyse this revival of government? Understanding the dynamics of current public services organizations may require a reconceptualizing of organizational behaviour and the current status of professionals in public services organizations.

There have been many contentions that public organizations operate differently from private-sector organizations, however:

  • What are these differences in a context where the roles of government are constantly reshaping and where governments are under pressures to assume the burden of major societal challenges within various sub-sectors of the public production?
  • How do public-sector employees, groups and organizations operate within this context of government revival?
  • What are the theories and models that may provide more traction on this evolving role of government and public organizations in context of major societal change and destabilisation?
  • How knowledge and human resources support internal change within government and public sector organizations like the increasing role of professionals within core public services such as education, health and safety?


Christine Teelken is Associate Professor and Research Manager at the Department of Organisation, VU University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and organized sub-themes at EGOS Colloquia in 2004 and 2006–2012 with the same team of convenors. She was also a member of the EGOS Board. Her research interests include higher education institutions, governance and diversity.
Ewan Ferlie is Professor of Public Services Management and Head of the School of Management at Kings' College London, UK. His research work has been on changing patterns of organization and management in the UK health care and higher education sectors. He is currently co writing a book on managed networks in UK health care as a potential post NPM reform.
Jean-Louis Denis is Full Professor at the École nationale d'administration publique (ENAP) and holds the Canada Research Chair in Governance and Transformation of Health Organizations and Systems. His current research looks at the integration of care and services, the role of physician leadership in health care improvement, the dynamic of health care reform, and the role of scientific evidence in clinical and managerial innovations. He was member of the organizing team of the 2013 EGOS Colloquium in Montréal.