P02 Systemic issues of public administration revealed during turbulent times and their solution

Corresponding chair and review group chair:

David Špaček, Associate Professor, Masaryk University, Brno: david.spacek@econ.muni.cz


Jens Weiss, Hochschule Harz, Germany

Stanislav Balík, Professor, Masaryk University, Czech Republic

Pavel Horák, Assistant Professor, Masaryk University, Czech Republic

Description of the theme:

The Covid-19 pandemic disturbed existing political-administrative systems (Di Mascio et al., 2020). Most countries failed to properly respond to the first Covid-19 wave (OECD, 2020). Due to insufficient learning and other (old and new) factors, some countries also failed to adequately respond to the subsequent waves of the pandemic.

The literature suggests that the Covid-19 pandemic and the necessity to cope with it and improve resilience for the future can and have contributed to significant changes in organisations (Ansell et al., 2020). Some authors (e.g., Dwivedi et al., 2020; Nagel, 2020) have argued that the Covid-19 crisis forced many organisations to undergo significant transformations and to rethink key elements of their business processes and their use of technology to maintain operations. Some of these changes are likely to leave permanent traces on their organisational design (Foss, 2020).

Changes in the wake of Covid-19 have been predominantly approached in the context of the business/private sector and management (Aristovnik et al., 2020). Although the body of literature has been growing (e.g., Umek and Dejan, 2022), it is still unknown whether and how public administrations have actually changed due to Covid-19, in response to which systemic and other issues in public organisations, and what changes and which systemic issues in public administrations will survive the Covid-19 pandemic and determine the resilience of public administration. Other questions and issues have been raised by the conflict in Ukraine, a situation to which European states in particular have been required to respond.

In this panel, we would like to identify and discuss key (old and new) systemic issues of public administration that have been (re-)revealed during the recent and current turbulent period. We want to concentrate especially on the factors and features of public administration systems that have been determining the efficiency and functionality or dysfunctionality of public administration and its ability to cope with turbulent problems. We also want to identify and discuss existing approaches that have focused on addressing these issues. Further, we want to discuss the extent to which existing theories can be used or need to be revised in order to improve the capabilities of public administration systems of coping with upheaval. Therefore, we would like to invite paper proposals dealing with the following research questions:

  • What types of systemic issues of public administration were revealed during the recent turbulent times?
  • What are their consequences for public administration and public management theories? What existing theories are relevant for them (e.g., for their explanations, research, and resolution)? What gaps exist in the available theories?
  • What are their consequences for public administration and public management practices? What good and bad practices can be identified and understood?

Answering these questions may be helpful for advancing both theory and practice in the public domain. Papers can also provide us with important input for our two research projects - the project supported by the NPO “Systemic Risk Institute” (No. LX22NPO5101) and the project “Impacts of Covid-19 on organisational change and digitalisation in public administration” co-funded by the Czech Science Foundation (No. GF21-47171L).

close menu