Can a public service ethos accommodate total quality methods?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A subject of much recent debate is the way in which actors appropriate an organisational ethos. The issue here is how actors first learn the values that an organisation advocates, and how they subsequently articulate such values with their own. Based on a project applying total quality methods within the European Commission in Brussels, the present article focuses on ways in which different modes of management are rationalised in public sector administration. It argues that the prime values of an organisational identity can generate a resistance to change if the actors perceive the change as something that is likely to distract the organisation from its basic historic mission. Literary and philosophical analogies are used.
Original languageEnglish GB
Pages (from-to)197-205
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Business Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2002


  • Public administration
  • Organization
  • Total quality management
  • European Union countries


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