Bibliometric Analysis of Academic Papers Citing Dunleavy et al.’s (2006) “New Public Management Is Dead—Long Live Digital-Era Governance”: Identifying Research Clusters and Future Research Agendas

Published date01 May 2023
AuthorBeomgeun Cho
Date01 May 2023
Subject MatterArticles
Administration & Society
2023, Vol. 55(5) 892 –920
© The Author(s) 2023
Article reuse guidelines:
DOI: 10.1177/00953997231157753
Bibliometric Analysis
of Academic Papers
Citing Dunleavy etal.’s
(2006) “New Public
Management Is Dead—
Long Live Digital-Era
Governance”: Identifying
Research Clusters
and Future Research
Beomgeun Cho1
I trace the bibliometric evolution of “New Public Management Is Dead”
by Dunleavy et al. to investigate how the seminal paper influenced the
administrative reform debate. They suggested Digital-Era Governance as
the main post-NPM idea. My bibliometric analysis discovers public value,
administrative reform trajectories, and digital government as influential
themes. Unlike Dunleavy etal., the literature found the managerial reform
wave is not linear, reform ideas are supplementary, and NPM remains a
major toolkit. Future research should focus on reintegration and need-based
holism, linking digital government to administrative reform, and the negative
impact of digital government on democracy.
1University at Albany – SUNY, NY, USA
Corresponding Author:
Beomgeun Cho, University at Albany – SUNY, 135 Western Avenue, Albany, NY 12222,
1157753AAS0010.1177/00953997231157753Administration & SocietyCho
Cho 893
digital government, new public management, administrative reform,
bibliometric analysis, network analysis
Public administration scholarship has been long interested in what the prin-
ciples for establishing good governance ought to be. As such, the field of
public administration has several seminal papers that capture commonalities
in the administrative reform trends and academic discussions of various
countries and incorporate these discussions into broader frameworks (e.g.,
Dunleavy et al., 2006; Hood, 1991; Lynn, 2008; Osborne, 2006). These
papers have contributed to the field by providing a conceptual lens to grasp
the changing nature of public administration, diagnose current problems in
the public administration system, and guide the transformation of govern-
ment bureaucracy (Goldfinch & Wallis, 2010).
Despite the vast body of research on public sector reform and the widely
acknowledged importance of these papers, the question of “how a seminal
paper diffuses and influences a field of research using advanced bibliometric
analysis” has rarely been answered (Chandra & Walker, 2019, p. 3). The bib-
liometric method uses a quantitative analysis of bibliographic information to
investigate and evaluate previous studies (Chandra & Walker, 2019; Vogel,
2014). Although there has been a recent increase in the number of literature
reviews of the public administration field using bibliometric analysis (Chandra
& Walker, 2019; Hu et al., 2016; Ni et al., 2017; Vogel, 2014; Vogel & Masal,
2015), such reviews of seminal papers on administrative reforms are scant. To
the best of the author’s knowledge, Chandra and Walker (2019) seem to be the
only case. They make a rare contribution by investigating papers citing Hood’s
(1991) “A Public Management For All Seasons?” According to their co-cita-
tion analysis, Hood (1991) led to the emergence of three groups of research:
the implementation of New Public Management (NPM) doctrines, innovation
and leadership, and the limits and paradoxes of NPM.
Influential papers capturing the changing nature of public administration
have developed new languages and lines of arguments for improving the
quality of public institutions and provoked novel controversies in the field.
As such, picturing a map of what local research clusters have created in the
wake of these articles and how they have reacted to the novel arguments
helps us understand intellectual development (Chandra & Walker, 2019). To
overcome this limitation, this study focuses on Dunleavy et al.’s (2006) “New
Public Management Is Dead—Long Live Digital-Era Governance.” This
paper makes unique contributions to the study of public administration. By

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