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Book cover: Research in Public Policy Analysis and Management

Research in Public Policy Analysis and Management

ISSN: 0732-1317
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Subject Area: Sociology and Public Policy

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Chapter 11 Governance Reform Outcomes through Cultural Lens: Thailand

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Title:Chapter 11 Governance Reform Outcomes through Cultural Lens: Thailand
Author(s):Bidhya Bowornwathana
Volume:16 Editor(s): Kuno Schedler, Isabella Proeller ISBN: 978-0-7623-1400-3 eISBN: 978-1-84950-478-2
Citation:Bidhya Bowornwathana (2007), Chapter 11 Governance Reform Outcomes through Cultural Lens: Thailand, in Kuno Schedler, Isabella Proeller (ed.) Cultural Aspects of Public Management Reform (Research in Public Policy Analysis and Management, Volume 16), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp.275-298
DOI:10.1016/S0732-1317(07)16011-5 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article type:Chapter Item

This chapter proposes a cultural perspective towards understanding the nature and outcomes of governance reforms. The argument is that “culture” is a promising, though somehow neglected, explanatory factor. There are three major roles that the cultural factor can play. First, governmental culture acts as the intervening variable. Many reform attempts around the world failed because governmental culture obstructed reform success by producing perverse or ugly reform hybrids. When reform innovations were chosen, the cultural factor was not seriously taken into consideration. Second, governmental culture can become the dependent variable. The basic objective of governance reform is to ultimately change the governmental culture of the society. Therefore, reform cannot become successful until the reform initiatives eventually change the basic cultural traits of government. Since changing governmental culture takes a long time, there is a feeling of hopelessness in conducting reform. The more reforms are introduced, the more things remain the same. Third, governmental culture performs the role of an independent variable that affect the processes and outcomes of governance reform. There are other competing independent variables in the explanatory equation, and the cultural factor becomes a less visible factor for political scientists who prefer to highlight other variables, such as power and institutions.

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