From Atomic Bomb to Aromatherapy: Misplaced Metaphors for Local Government Reforms?

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Demediuk, Peter and Solli, Rolf (2007) From Atomic Bomb to Aromatherapy: Misplaced Metaphors for Local Government Reforms? The Global Business and Economics Anthology, 2. pp. 56-68. ISSN 1553-1392


Outlandish or blunt metaphors are useful vehicles for imagining the unimaginable, speaking the unspeakable. The metaphors in our paper title come from an interviewee – one of many deeply affected and troubled by relentless imposition of reform agendas on local government in the State of Victoria, Australia. This paper reports on our findings about the Best Value reform at ten of the seventy-nine local governments in Victoria. We argue that Best Value and its attendant phenomenon of community engagement appear to have had a dramatic and positive impact on the very role of local government, extending it from a service purchasing and service delivery function to a facilitation and advocacy role for better community conditions. The first phase of Best Value is over, and the currency of the term is fading despite it being an ongoing legislated requirement. But whatever individual councils choose to call Best Value mark 2, it needs to promote a more holistic approach with more collaboration between a local government’s service groups and amongst citizens, interest groups, other governments and stakeholder entities. Maybe if that occurs, aromatherapy is an apt metaphor for a reform that improves wellbeing, rather than a pejorative description.

Item type Article
Subjects Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Accounting
Historical > FOR Classification > 1605 Policy and Administration
Historical > SEO Classification > 9104 Management and Productivity
Keywords ResPubID13211, reform agendas - local Victorian government, Best Value reform
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