Bert George - Strategic Management in Public Organizations

Assistant Professor of Public Management (Erasmus University Rotterdam) | Studies and teaches strategic management within the public sector.

Strategic Management

In this section, I will elaborate on how I conceptualize strategic management in public organizations. This conceptualization is key in understanding my research efforts. All research that I do can be placed within this framework. Hence, the main objective of this framework is to “make sense” of what strategic management is – and what it is not -, whether and how it has worked so far and why it is so widely adopted by public organizations. For those interested, I will also offer an overview of recent books on this topic.

Conceptualizing strategic management in public organizations

The first paper of my PhD, which is published in the Routledge book of Joyce & Drumaux, seeks to conceptualize the determinants, characteristics and outcomes of strategic management processes in public organizations. This results in following figure:

Conceptualizing strategic management processes in public organizations.png

Source: George, B., & Desmidt, S. (2014). A state of research on strategic management in the public sector: an analysis of the empirical evidence. In P. Joyce & A. Drumaux (Eds.), Strategic management in public organizations : European practices and perspectives (pp. 151–172). New York, NY, USA: Routledge.

I would suggest viewing the book for all details on this framework. The core of this model, however, clearly suggests that strategic management is much more than a buzzword within the public sector. It is an integrated management cycle during which practitioners use instruments and processes to formulate, implement and evaluate strategic plans. Which, in turn, can result in both direct proximate outcomes (e.g. improved decision-making) and, in the long run, even organizational distal outcomes (e.g. organizational performance). And do not forget the context as both organizational (e.g. presence of internal planning department) as well as institutional (e.g. legislation mandating planning) contingencies matter!

Consultancy and service delivery

Please feel free to contact me for further explanation on this framework as well as the underlying best practices. I have, in the past, helped organizations analyse their strategic management process from an evidence-based perspective. I have also taught courses to a very diverse audience on the building block of this framework and what this implies for their public or non-profit organization. Any funds gathered through these activities will be re-invested into research projects.

Contact me at

Books on strategic management in public organizations

My all-time favourite: Bryson

The best Dutch alternative: Desmidt & Heene

A European, research-based view: Joyce & Drumaux

But what about performance: Andrews, Boyne, Law & Walker


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