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Implementing Downsizing Reforms in County Governments

Author: KUOTSAI TOM LIOU and MARY ANN FELDHEIM
Published in PAQ, Vol. 42 No. 1

This study examined the implementation of downsizing reforms in U.S. county governments to understand popular strategies considered and to test related influence factors. Based on the analysis of data from a national survey, this study examines the implementation of different downsizing reform strategies and tests the influence of individual and organizational factors on the use of downsizing strategies. The descriptive statistics revealed that county governments are conservative in the implementation of downsizing strategies: the top three strategies are redesigning jobs and positions, combining agency units, and simplifying rules and procedures. Factor analysis results indicated three downsizing groups that support the interest in applying different strategies in structural and cultural changes. The findings of multivariate regression analyses showed that the size of the county budget and the population are related to the downsizing group, which preferred introducing buy-out packages and introducing bottom-up changes. Implications of the research findings are presented for future studies of public management reforms.

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