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HomePolicy Articles Article Summary

From Cynicism to Organizational Disillusion: New Public Management as Confusion Factor

Choices by Christian Rouillard

Christian Rouillard’s paper was presented as part of the IRPP’s research program on Governance. Rouillard was asked to examine the notion of cynicism (both outside and within the civil service), and to respond to the following three questions: 1) How do you define cynicism? 2) In what forms does it manifest itself? 3) What are its causes? In this paper, Rouillard distinguishes cynicism from organizational disillusion. He maintains that disillusion is a cultural and organizational phenomenon, one that is significantly more profound and difficult to address than cynicism.

Rouillard contends that, over the past decade, new public management (a method developed in the 1980s that has given rise to new ways of thinking and new practices within Canada’s federal public service) has profoundly affected managerial theory and practice. In this context, he argues that basic inherent contradictions that have given rise to the gradual emergence of an organizational culture of disillusionment.

Rouillard addresses issues of organizational leadership, the transition from old to new psychological contracts, and organizational cultures to explain the emergence of an organizational culture of disillusion. He argues that disillusion should not be confused with cynicism; cynicism is characterized by a lack of enthusiasm or commitment in the public service. Rouillard concludes there is a need for the renewal of management philosophy in the federal public service.

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Policy Publication Details

Author(s): Christian Rouillard;
Publisher: Institute for Research on Public Policy [ Visit Website ]
Year Published: 2003; Publisher Type: Research Institute
Publicly Available: Yes Research Focus: National;
Registration Required: No Language: English
Payment Required: No Publication Format: Adobe PDF

Subjects / Categories:

Policy Articles / Public Administration / Bureaucracy
Policy Articles / Public Administration / Management
Policy Articles / Public Administration / Bureaucracy / 2003
Policy Articles / Public Administration / Management / 2003
Policy Articles / Public Administration


Keywords / Tags:

federal public service; civil servants; cynicism; organizational disillusion; new public management; managerial theory and practice;