National policy makers and local service managers are striving to identify strategies to improve the performance of failing public organizations. However, little academic research on public service turnaround is available to inform their efforts. By contrast, substantial work has been conducted on the reversal of decline in the private sector. A model of the turnaround process is developed from this literature, and evidence on the effectiveness of different turn-around strategies is reviewed. The private sector evidence suggests that recovery from failure is associated with strategies of retrenchment, repositioning, and reorganization. The potential feasibility and impact of these strategies in the public sector is evaluated, and major research questions on public service turnaround are identified.
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