The Implementation of a Strategic State in a Small Country Setting - the case of the ‘Scottish Approach’

Elliott, Ian (2020) The Implementation of a Strategic State in a Small Country Setting - the case of the ‘Scottish Approach’. Public Money & Management, 40 (4). pp. 285-293. ISSN 0954-0962

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1080/09540962.2020.1714206

Abstract

This paper is a case study of the establishment of the Scottish Approach to Public Services. This strategic approach to public services was developed through three key activities: reorganization of the Scottish Government; creation of Scotland Performs and the National Performance Framework; and significant investment in leadership development. The research comprised of 11 élite interviews with both current and former civil servants within the Scottish Government. Interviews sought to develop an understanding of the nature and rationale for the Scottish Approach, to explore implementation of the Scottish Approach, and to posit what lasting impact may result from this form of ‘strategic state’ in Scotland. There is a major gap in the academic literature in terms of empirical studies of the strategic state and this paper addresses this gap by presenting the context and background to implementation of a strategic state in a small country setting.

This paper outlines how the Scottish Government has developed a form of ‘strategic state’. The concept of the strategic state is explained before setting out how this was realized. Drawing on insights from key stakeholders who were directly involved, it provides a unique insider perspective on its development and impact. The author shows how a supportive political environment and strong administrative leadership combined with a clear vision for change. Investment was made in leadership development, alongside an organizational restructuring, to align the Scottish Government with five strategic objectives. There are key lessons to be learned from this paper, particularly for small countries, in how strategic thinking can be fostered within government settings.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Adaptive leadership, new public governance, public value, Scottish Approach, Scottish Government, strategic government, strategic state
Subjects: K400 Planning (Urban, Rural and Regional)
L400 Social Policy
N200 Management studies
Department: Faculties > Business and Law > Newcastle Business School
Depositing User: Paul Burns
Date Deposited: 09 Jan 2019 17:14
Last Modified: 18 Sep 2020 08:15
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/37526

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