A case study of China's administrative reform : The importation of the super-department

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Author(s)

  • Lisheng Dong
  • Tom Christensen
  • Martin Painter

Related Research Unit(s)

Detail(s)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)170-188
Journal / PublicationAmerican Review of Public Administration
Volume40
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2010

Abstract

Although it is generally acknowledged that China, in its public sector reforms, has "learnt from the West," the mechanisms and effects of the processes of learning and imitation in China are little understood. The recent "Sixth Round of Administrative Reforms" in which the Western concept of the "super-department" was presented as a key theme is used as a case study of the processes involved. Chinese leaders intentionally and actively sought the administrative reform experience from Western nations. A broad and coordinated search for models and lessons was undertaken involving a number of government agencies and research institutions, including universities. However, the government-sponsored research seemed to stay at the surface of the issue and, once the model was chosen, the policy makers tended to idealize it in order for it to be accepted by the public. We conclude that this was a case of "superstitious learning" and "biased contextualization" in which the symbolic-as distinct from instrumental-purposes of borrowing a Western reform idea for domestic purposes was the predominant feature. © 2010 The Author(s).

Research Area(s)

  • Chinese public reforms, Emulation and learning, Imitation, Super-departments

Citation Format(s)

A case study of China's administrative reform: The importation of the super-department. / Dong, Lisheng; Christensen, Tom; Painter, Martin.
In: American Review of Public Administration, Vol. 40, No. 2, 03.2010, p. 170-188.

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review