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Jacob Torfing, Lotte Bøgh Andersen, Carsten Greve and Kurt K. Klausen

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Giliberto Capano and Edoardo Ongaro

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Jacob Torfing, Lotte Bøgh Andersen, Carsten Greve and Kurt K. Klausen

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Giliberto Capano and Edoardo Ongaro

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Michael Barzelay

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Colin C. Williams and Ioana A. Horodnic

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Colin C. Williams and Ioana A. Horodnic

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Chan S. Jung

This chapter provides conceptual explanations about goal and ambiguity separately. Then goal ambiguity in public management is explained in terms of definition, importance, and paradox. Goal ambiguity is defined as the extent to which a set of goals in a public program or an organization allows different interpretations in deciding work related to target, time limit, and external evaluation. Ambiguous goals can have negative effects throughout a program, an organization, and further on citizens and society and on public service performance. However, public managers must face dilemmatic situations between clear goals for (rational) managerial strategy and ambiguous goals for political need (e.g. interventions on the society versus broader political support), which is called the paradox of goal ambiguity. Then this chapter describes the plan of this book.

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Chan S. Jung

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Marie-Laure Salles-Djelic

Marie Laure Djelic presents the role of Atlas Transnational, the mother of neo-liberal think tanks. Over the last 40 years neoliberalism has become the ‘new dominant regime of truth’ with a significant performative impact both nationally and transnationally. Of particular interest is the carrier and boundary-spanning role of the dense ecology of neoliberal think tanks and research institutes constructed during these last 40 years. These think tanks espouse a market- and business-friendly ideology and have made it their mission to champion, spread, defend and entrench, as widely and deeply as possible and in a multiplicity of contexts, this ideology and its associated politics. Djelic explores the role of Atlas, that was created to ‘litter the world’ with free-market think tanks, with a particular interest for the process through which the organizational form of the ‘neoliberal think tank’ came to be constructed, diffused, and progressively institutionalized during that period.