The Simplification of Public Administration: A Managerial Perspective

Guido Modugno, Michele Bertoni, Bruno De Rosa


The paper addresses the issue of complexity in the administrative processes
of public institutions: in particular, accounting routines and processes are
examined. Back-office activities, although having a mere supporting role
in the delivery of public services, absorb a relevant part of the resources
of public institutions. The aim of the paper is to analyse the factors that
contribute to the enhancement of complexity of these activities. The paper
is based on an in-depth analysis of two Italian public organisations: a
university and an ASP (agency for services to persons). Italy is an interesting
context since simplification policies have been adopted in the country at
central government level and in specific sectors of public administration,
however, at the institutional level, simplification initiatives depend on the
initiative of the single organisation. The cases described in this paper show
that complexity stems from the need for inspectory controls (which is typical
of the law) as well as from the volume of information requested (which is
typical of management studies) for different stakeholders and at different, yet
correlated, levels. The paper suggests that public management scholars have
the opportunity and the burden of a contribution in this field.


simplification, support activities, processes, public administration, stakeholders

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