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Book : Systems Thinking in the Public Sector: The Failure of the Reform Regime…. (2008)

Systems Thinking in the Public Sector: The Failure of the Reform Regime….

Publisher:Triarchy Press

Author(s):Seddon, John

Published: 2008 • ISBN: 0955008182 • 228 pages • Delivery Format: Hard Copy - Paperback

Available from: Amazon (DE)Amazon (UK)Amazon (US)

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From the publisher:

The free market has become the accepted model for the public sector. Politicians on all sides compete to spread the gospel. And so, in the UK and elsewhere, there’s been massive investment in public sector ‘improvement’, ‘customer choice’ has been increased and new targets have been set and refined.

But our experience is that things haven’t changed much. This is because governments have invested in the wrong things. Belief in targets, incentives and inspection; belief in economies of scale and shared back-office services; belief in ‘deliverology… these are all wrong-headed ideas and yet they have underpinned this government’s attempts to reform the public sector.

John Seddon here dissects the changes that have been made in a range of services, including housing benefits, social care and policing. His descriptions beggar belief, though they would be funnier if it wasn’t our money that was being wasted.

In place of the current mess, he advocates a Systems Thinking approach where individuals come first, waste is reduced and responsibility replaces blame. It’s an approach that is proven, successful and relatively cheap - and one that governments around the world, and their advisers, need to adopt urgently.

John Seddon trained originally as an occupational psychologist. He is known around the world for his pioneering work on change in organisations and for translating and adapting the Toyota Production System (TPS) for use by service organisations.

John is also known for his consistently informed and controversial criticism of management fads and of much of the theory that has underpinned public sector reform. He is the leading advocate of systems thinking in business and in the public sector.

John is a widely published author and lectures at seminars conferences, universities and management schools around the world. He is Managing Director of Vanguard Ltd, a consultancy specialising in organisational change, and is a visiting professor at the Lean Enterprise Research Centre, University of Cardiff.

Content / Structure


Chapter 1: In the beginning... the emergence of a New Ideology

Chapter 2: Do You Want Choice?

Chapter 3: From Particular Case to General Rule: Ministers Managing Benefits

Chapter 4: The Present Style of Management

Chapter 5: Systems Thinking: a Better Way to Make the Work Work

Chapter 6: Purpose - Measures - Method

Chapter 7: An Irrational Belief in Targets

Chapter 8: Deliverology: The Science of Delivery, or Dogmatic Delusion?

Chapter 9: Taking the Value Out of Policing

Chapter 10: Failing Those Who Need Care

Chapter 11: A Gloomy Vision: Public-Service Factories

Chapter 12: Is Public Value the Answer?

Chapter 13: Is Citizen Empowerment the Answer?

Chapter 14: The Regime: Systematically Incapable of Doing the Right Thing

Chapter 15: Reforming the Regime



About Triarchy Press

About the Author

Copyright John Seddon


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