New public management and aquatic and recreation centre planning and decision-making processes

McDonald, Katie ORCID: 0000-0002-7356-2624, Tower, John ORCID: 0000-0003-3907-3306 and Hanlon, Clare ORCID: 0000-0001-5547-5327 (2023) New public management and aquatic and recreation centre planning and decision-making processes. Managing Sport and Leisure. ISSN 2375-0472


Rationale/Purpose: The purpose of the study was to explore how new public management (NPM) components influence the planning and decision-making of local government aquatic and recreation centre (ARCs) development. Methodology: Two case studies were conducted in metropolitan Melbourne, Australia. Data collection comprised documents (n = 264) and semi-structured interviews (n = 19) to understand the real-life experiences of people involved in ARC planning and decision-making. Deductive analysis was used to identify how NPM components influenced the ARC planning and decision-making process. Findings: ARC planners were primarily driven by financial outputs. Results identified four of the seven NPM components are active in the planning and decision-making across both cases. These include management skills, output controls, creating competition and resource efficiency. Practical implications: From a theoretical perspective, the findings suggest that resource efficiency decisions were prioritised in the ARC decision-making process. Local governments need to consider their motivations towards achieving financial efficiencies and the subsequent impacts on ARC provision. This approach influences local governments’ capacity to address social planning objectives. Research contribution: Local governments in Melbourne, Australia employ NPM principles in their ARC planning and decision-making practices.

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Item type Article
DOI 10.1080/23750472.2023.2267057
Official URL
Subjects Current > FOR (2020) Classification > 3504 Commercial services
Current > Division/Research > Institute for Health and Sport
Keywords public management, aquatic and recreation centers, Melbourne, Australia, community services
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