In the critical arena of public management and policy debates several schools currently try to make sense of governance structures and processes, although one has so far had the strongest impact in terms of academic and policy influence in particular in the United Kingdom: network governance. Network governance has been associated with Stakeholder Capitalism – as represented for instance by the European (usually German) social-democratic settlement – and as the direct opposite of the New Public Management (as the epitome instead of Shareholder Capitalism). In this essay it will be argued that the alleged novelty of the reforms being currently implemented under the aegis of the ‘modernization’ or (network) governance rhetoric (by the Blair govern- ment, for instance) must be questioned, since they are the direct inheritors of the NPM tradition. Through the development of a multiparadigmatic model of ethical and organization theories it will be shown that alternatives to network governance are not only thinkable but also (institutionally) practicable.
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