Purpose and objectives

The purpose of the project is to develop a Holistic Governance Model (HGM) for the Slovenian public administration. The developed model with its statistically verifiable methodological approach will fill the research gap related to the lack of empirical research on governance models. From the practical aspect, it will provide a scientific basis for implementing actual holistic governance activities of the Slovenian public administration.

By their very nature, the study of complex systems, such as the public administration system, requires the observer to incorporate adequate holism (Keating, 2014; Mulej, 2008; Whitney, 2015). The basic doctrine of systems theory rests on Aristotle’s assertion that the whole is greater than its parts: the parts, in their structural arrangement and engaged in respective operations and interactions, constitute the whole (Whitney, 2015).

Consequently, limiting the study to parts rather than the whole system induces a lack of knowledge about the functioning of the system as a whole and, even more importantly from the project’s standpoint, leads to limitations and incorrect decisions in managing/governing the system.

A holistic perspective is therefore a key requirement for overcoming such limitations. The HGM will be based on the following integrative elements presently lacking in both politico-administrative decision-making and relevant research:

  1. addressing complex cross-sectoral administrative issues interdisciplinarily;
  2. including all societal subsystems and their stakeholders at the macro (society), mezzo (government) and micro (individual PA entities) levels of governance; and
  3. ncompassing supplementary qualitative and quantitative research methods.

The proposed holistic governance model (HGM). The form of the model (target) implies the model targets the key societal challenges. Model holism can be achieved if the core model inputs (factors in rectangular form) incorporate the specifics of all societal subsystems and their stakeholders at the macro (society), mezzo (government) and micro (individual administrative bodies) levels of governance. Only then can the inputs foster adequate efficiency (ratio between inputs and outputs) and effectiveness (outcomes, resulting from outputs) within all governance levels, leading to the desired responsiveness (or even proactivity) and accountability of the PA as well.

The purpose of the project will be realised based on five concrete, verifiable and mutually complementary goals:

  1. to establish the theoretical framework for developing the HGM, encompassing the fundamental governance models, differentiation factors between models, criteria of governance effectiveness, efficiency and accountability, future key challenges and governance model improvement trajectories;
  2. to perform a tailored survey, including a governance model factor assessment;
  3. to quantitatively identify the ‘ideal’ instance of HGM;
  4. to ensure the in-depth validation and optimisation of the statistically indicated HGM by means of mixed methods triangulation; and
  5. to develop a customised model holism indicator providing appropriately weighted referential target values for model implementation.