|Changes seen by society have induced a fresh set of highly problematic and complex issues that have a bearing on the models of governance used in public administration. The global financial crisis, migration issues, rise of extremist right-wing parties, populism, ecological issues and others make it a requirement to review the efficiency and effectiveness of current governance models in order to ensure the needs of modern society are being met. Therefore, our paper aimed to perform a systematic review of public governance model research (PGM) with emphasis on governance principles of efficiency and effectiveness. This aim was achieved by following an original methodology that encompassed three consecutive research phases. In the first phase, based on 100 keywords, all possibly relevant scientific papers in relation to public governance models were downloaded from the Scopus database. This resulted in over 7,000 papers within a timespan from 1986 to 2016 being downloaded. In the 2nd phase, these papers were thoroughly evaluated with a view to narrowing the broad set of papers down to relevant ones. This was done by means of two complementary activities. First, a computer program was developed, enabling us to list the downloaded papers, based on the frequency of keywords used within the abstract, title and keywords. Consequently, papers with a focus on public governance model efficiency and effectiveness could easily be identified and separated from less relevant ones. Second, experts were asked to review the identified papers and provide information about any possible ones that were missing. The iterative process led to a final database of 435 papers, representing input for the 3rd research phase. This phase entailed application of the method of content analysis. The known QDA Miner 5.0.11 software package was selected as the main tool for the analysis. The following elements of analysis were primarily considered: (1) paper frequency over period of time; (2) the coverage and geographical occurance of governance models; (3) the coverage of model effectiveness and efficiency.
The research results reveal growing research interest in the topic of public governance models: up until 1997, fewer than 5 Scopus papers a year were relevant, with the number rising to 22 units in 2008 and already to 52 in 2015. Interestingly, most of the papers focus on the New Public Management (NPM) public governance model and subsequent critical rethinking, as indicated by post-NPM reforms. The remaining papers mainly correspond to public governance models: Weberian model, the Digital-era governance model, Good governance, New public governance and alternative/hybrid models. As regards geographical coverage, evidence is shown of core Anglo-Australasian core NPM enthusiasts, the NWS – oriented continental European states, and the Northern European states, experiencing mainly a combination of the aforementioned models. Another important finding is that in Southeastern Europe, due to lacking statistical significance of the index, no reliable conclusions could be drawn about the dominant governance model(s). This underlines the importance of further governance model research in this region. As regards the investigated governance principles, it is noteworthy the principle of governance effectiveness has only recently gained significant momentum. Efforts should thus continue to investigate the methods and metrics of public governance model analysis to ensure the optimal scientific basis for efficient and effective governance.