Introduction to the Research Handbook on Public Management and COVID-19

Helen Dickinson, Catherine Smith, Sophie Yates, Janine O'Flynn

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    In this chapter we introduce the book and some key concepts that are important for its context. First, we provide a brief overview of some key events and timelines around the virus SARS-CoV-2, commonly known as the coronavirus or COVID-19. These are broad observations based on significant international trends over the first three and a half years of the pandemic. We then reflect on our own experience of the pandemic, given that the editorial team are all based in Australia. In this, we highlight the importance of context to considerations of the pandemic and that while some new challenges for public management emerged through the pandemic, many of the issues that came to the fore have existed for some time, often through deeply entrenched social inequities. We then move on to consider the field of public management and the ways that it has tended to think about crises. A whole literature has emerged in this area in response to the idea that more traditional modes of public management are not amenable to crisis contexts. We argue that although in the early stages of the pandemic some features of crisis management were required, beyond this many of the issues faced were not in many senses new but were highlighted through the impacts of the pandemic. Many scholars have suggested that this means that the field is not currently well-equipped for its task and needs some significant reorientation. In this sense, the COVID-19 pandemic might offer an opportunity for public management to reflect and reorient to better support governments and public managers in the future. We offer reflections on why this book is needed, how it is structured, what some of the gaps are, and preview key themes that various contributors develop.
    Original languageEnglish
    Editors Helen Dickinson, Sophie Yates, Janine O’Flynn, Catherine Smith
    Place of PublicationMassachusetts
    PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing
    ISBN (Print)9781802205947
    Publication statusPublished - 2024

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