Great Governance in Small Societies

Effective public sector practices in small-scale democracies

Auteur(s): Scott Douglas
Uitgave: Utrecht: Berenschot, 2012
Uitgavedatum: 10 januari 2012
ISBN: 978-94-90314-11-8T
Pagina's: 32
Prijs in €: gratis
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Every government faces its own particular challenges. For a small-scale democracy, the size of its society might be the obvious limitation. Most discussion about small societies thus focuses on the governance failures caused by this small size.

This book argues that it would be more useful to explore the governance successes that also occur. Based on the research for his PhD thesis at the University of Oxford, Scott Douglas explores successful examples of effective public sector practices in small societies.

This book does not claim to have found the one and only recipe for success. Instead it poses the question: which governance practices have been proven to work in small societies, and what can we learn from them?

Additional information

This book is an executive summary of a PhD thesis by the same author for the University of Oxford. The thesis is entitled Success Nonetheless: Making public utilities work in small-scale democracies, and was supervised by Professor Christopher Hood.


Acknowledgements 5
1. Introduction 9
1.1 Starting from success 9
1.2 Challenges for small societies 10
1.3 Exploring positive cases 11
2. Methodology 13
2.1 The islands of Aruba, Curacao and St Kitts 13
2.2 Measuring performance 14
2.3 Joint roots of success 15
3. Practice 1: Using formal rules to involve informal players 17
3.1 Challenge: Entangled relations 17
3.2 Artificial distance or complete intimacy? 18
3.3 Results: Broad participation for performance 19
3.4 Translation into practice 20
4. Practice 2: Turning patronage into leadership 21
4.1 Challenge: Power imbalances 21
4.2 Free rein or constant supervision? 22
4.3 Results: Vital role for strong officials 23
4.4 Translation into practice 24
5. Practice 3: Structuring the flood of information 25
5.1 Challenge: Flood of gossip and misinformation 25
5.2 Shut up or speak up? 26
5.3 Results: Educating for sustained success 27
5.4 Translation into practice 28
6. Conclusion 29
6.1 Research outcomes 29
6.2 Small society settings, great expectations 30
6.3 Learning from other success stories 30
Appendix: Question Tool for exploring success stories 30