Submit a Manuscript to the Journal

Public Money & Management

For a Special Issue on

Management consultants and public management reforms

Manuscript deadline
31 January 2024

Cover image - Public Money & Management

Special Issue Editor(s)

Ringa Raudla, Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia
[email protected]

Matti Ylönen, University of Helsinki, Finland
[email protected]

Hanna Kuusela, Tampere University, Finland
[email protected]

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Management consultants and public management reforms

The role of private sector management consultants in public management reforms is highly controversial. On the one hand, private sector consultants have been praised for helping to unfreeze public sector routines, catalysing public sector innovation and disseminating information about best practices and experiences of other countries and organizations. On the other hand, they have been criticized for not taking into account the peculiarities of the public sector, promoting off-the-shelf one-size-fits all solutions that do not take into account the real needs of the organizations, and intentionally cultivating public sector organizations’ dependence on consultants.


In light of these debates and given the growing amounts of public funds spent on private consulting firms, we need to take a fresh look at whether private consultancies actually contribute to public value. In order to guide future governments’ policies on using consultants, it would be useful to have more systematic information about the advice provided by management consultants for public management reforms; the processes of providing this advice; and the interactions between processes and content.


This PMM theme will ask the following questions:


  • How have consultants influenced the direction of various public management reforms (including reforms pertaining to budgeting, accounting, and financial management)?
  • Under which circumstances do private sector consultants add value to public management reforms?
  • What kinds of governance structures are needed for ensuring more meaningful involvement of consultants in public sector reforms?


This theme issue will provide a platform for analysing recent experiences with consultants’ involvement in public management reforms and drawing lessons for the future. We are interested in theoretical and empirical papers about how consulting firms have influenced public sector reforms. Papers dealing with public sector reforms that pertain to public budgeting, accounting, and financial management would be particularly welcome, but other reform areas that are a good fit with PMM’s focus can be investigated as well.


For example, we are looking for articles that seek to find answers to the following questions:


  • How have management consultants contributed to public sector reforms (for example reforms regarding budgeting, accounting, and financial management)? Which reform directions have been facilitated by consultants? What kinds of managerial innovations do they foster?
  • To what extent has the content of advice offered by consultants considered the specific needs of the public sector? How well has the consultants’ advice on various reforms worked in practice? What are the dark sides and unintended consequences of using management consultants in public sector reforms? Have they facilitated or hindered experimentation in public financial management?
  • To what extent have consultancies contributed to sustained capacity development through their advice on public sector management reforms? In which forms of cooperation can consultants contribute to sustained capacity development in the public sector?
  • How has the role of consultants in public management reforms shifted as governments have moved from New Public Management to New Public Governance? How have different countries or governments addressed the accountability and legitimacy challenges involved in using management accountants in public sector management reforms?
  • To what extent do we observe excessive dependence on private sector consultants among public sector organizations in devising and carrying out public management reforms? What kind of strategies have been adopted to prevent or mitigate such addiction? In what roles have the consultants made their most meaningful contributions to public management reforms?


Submission Instructions

This PMM theme will include research articles (maximum 8,000 words, including references), new development articles (maximum 3,500 words), and debate articles (maximum 1,000 words). See the journal’s instructions for authors:


Research articles must be suitable for both academic and reflective practitioner readers and are subject to the same conditions as PMM’s freely-submitted articles. (See the Instructions for Authors for more information.)


Submissions of research articles (up to 8000 words) for the theme should be submitted via


Research articles, submitted through the submission site, will be assigned to a nominated lead guest editor. Research articles will be double-blind refereed by both an academic and a practitioner (in the same way as regular submissions to PMM).


Submissions for new development articles (3,500 words), and debate articles (1,000 words) on the theme should be sent directly to the guest editors: Ringa Raudla ([email protected]), Matti Ylönen ([email protected]), and Hanna Kuusela ([email protected]). They should not be submitted via ScholarOne.


The guest editors are happy to provide further information about the theme. Enquiries about this theme can be made to the editorial team via Ringa Raudla ([email protected]).


The final deadline for the submission of articles for the PMM theme is 31 January 2024.



Instructions for AuthorsSubmit an Article