|The aim of our paper is to consolidate the state of the art of academic research on modern post-NPM public governance models (PGM). A critical evaluation of post-NPM literature proves vital in order to provide the scientific foundations for overcoming complex policy issues, related to multi-level governance, delegation of powers and decentralization, business globalization, digitalization, the 4th industrial revolution, migrations, nationalism and interstate conflicts, environmental change and several others. Yet, the research problem faced when analysing the post-NPM literature is the lack of studies examining the multitude of possible public governance models (PGM) with sufficient comprehensiveness, especially in Central and Eastern European (CEE) states. In order to effectively address the research problem, a bibliometric analysis was performed, following three objectives: (i) an investigation of the growth patterns of the PGM literature, (ii) an identification of the core journals and authors, (iii) the key research domains and main paths of knowledge diffusion.
The research methodology followed a systematic approach, encompassing multiple phases. The first phase consisted of downloading all relevant papers within the Scopus database, representing the world’s largest abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature. In the second phase, citation data from various sources was downloaded for the relevant papers. This was done by using the Harzing’s Publish or Perish citation management software package. The third phase encompassed application of the HistCite bibliometric analysis software, covering the main elements of the analysis: bibliometric indicators, historiographic citation analysis, and term co-occurrence analysis. This allowed for a comprehensive numerical and graphical presentation of the evolution of the post-NPM literature, as reflected by the identified main works, authors and key research domains.
The research results reveal growing research interest in the topic as supported by several bibliometric indicators. Moreover, it is indicated that the usually (too) narrow understanding of the traditional Weberian and NPM model, has been supplemented with systemic, collaborative and IT-driven models, particularly under the New Public Governance (NPG) umbrella term. Also, important differences as regards the coverage and the diffusion of the individual post-NPM models are indicated. Namely, some of the post-NPM reform models may be biased in favour of subjective, particularistic, or Western ideas about governance, presumably limiting their impact on governance within CEE countries. Hence, the regions’ particularities (post-socialism, Rechtsstaat culture, EU membership, small states etc.) from the governance perspective must be further taken into account within the post-NPM literature. Although the literature has yet to adequately develop this aspect, the door is open to an examination on how such socio-economic issues have to be encompassed to allow for an effective diffusion of the models within the literature, and furthermore, in the CEE states’ administrative practice.