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Institutional Memory as Storytelling
How Networked Government Remembers


Part of Elements in Public and Nonprofit Administration

  • Date Published: December 2020
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108748001

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About the Authors
  • How do bureaucracies remember? The conventional view is that institutional memory is static and singular, the sum of recorded files and learned procedures. There is a growing body of scholarship that suggests contemporary bureaucracies are failing at this core task. This Element argues that this diagnosis misses that memories are essentially dynamic stories. They reside with people and are thus dispersed across the array of actors that make up the differentiated polity. Drawing on four policy examples from four sectors (housing, energy, family violence and justice) in three countries (the UK, Australia and New Zealand), this Element argues that treating the way institutions remember as storytelling is both empirically salient and normatively desirable. It is concluded that the current conceptualisation of institutional memory needs to be recalibrated to fit the types of policy learning practices required by modern collaborative governance.

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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2020
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108748001
    • length: 75 pages
    • dimensions: 150 x 230 x 5 mm
    • weight: 0.13kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. Whole of government processes and the creation of collective memories: the case of the Tasmanian Family Violence Action Plan
    3. What happens with iterative conversations in cases of policy failure: the State of Victoria's smart metering program, Australia
    4. Differentiated memories: the case of the UK's Zero Carbon Hub
    5. Living Memories: the case of the New Zealand justice sector
    6. Conclusion.

  • Authors

    Jack Corbett, University of Southampton

    Dennis Christian Grube, University of Cambridge

    Heather Caroline Lovell, University of Tasmania

    Rodney James Scott, University of New South Wales, Sydney

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