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The influence of recent changes in public sector management on biodiversity conservation

Beckwith, J.A. and Moore, S.A. (2001) The influence of recent changes in public sector management on biodiversity conservation. Pacific Conservation Biology, 7 (1). pp. 45-54.


Over the last 15 years increasing emphasis has been placed worldwide on biodiversity conservation. During the same period, the public sector which carries much of the responsibility for biodiversity conservation has experienced, in OECD countries, a revolution in management practices. Managerialism has emerged, modeled on private sector philosophies including economic efficiency and accountability. Managerialism and an increased emphasis on biodiversity conservation have occured over the same period, however, the links have not been investigated. This paper explores the influences of managerialism on biodiversity conservation in three Western Australian state public sector agencies: the Department of Conservation and Land Management; Water and Rivers Commision; and Water Corporation. Each of the agencies has embraced managerialism in a different way, modifying elements to match organizational mandates. All have become conscious of managing political risk. Other managerialist influence increased emphases on contracting, strategic planning and performance reporting. Understanding managerialism helps managers and researchers manage the socio-political environment to achieve desire outcomes, in this case biodiversity conservation. Managerial skills such as diplomacy, administration, decision making and leadership are essential if managers and researchers are to influence decision making and progress through agencies, given that technical expertise is no longer sufficient.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Environmental Science
Publisher: Surey Beatty & Sons
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