Public Administration and local authorities in Italy. Three case studies: Milan, Rome and Palermo (1994)

The research focuses on civil servants, who are considered the actors on whom the functionality of the complex system of public administration depends. To better investigate this internal dimension of the PA, a sample survey – which started in early 1992 and took more than two years to complete – was carried out in three cities that were significant and representative not only on a territorial level but also in terms of different work cultures: Milan, Rome and Palermo. The 1,055 public employees interviewed were carefully selected based on age, professional and cultural criteria and based on their organisation (Municipality, Region, Province, Local Health Unit, hospitals and transport companies).

This focus on local authority employees is related to the belief that they should be the pivot of PA reform decentralisation projects and the main actors of experimentation and innovation.




The decline of extensive government policies


The public as an employer: innovators and malingerers

Competition and ownership

From the assigned employee to the responsible one


Chapter 1. Methodological note and socio-demographic profile of the sample

Some reflections on the methodological aspects of the general design of the research

Considerations on the quality of data produced by sample surveys in the social field

Planned interventions

The population and the sample

A description of the three populations surveyed and the relative samples drawn



The Municipality


Local Health Units

The Province and the Region

The sample of interviewees



The Municipality


Local health units, the Province and the Region

The sample of interviewees


Hospitals and Local Health Units

The Municipality

The Province


The Region

A comparison between Milan, Rome and Palermo

The socio-demographic profile


Chapter 2. Recruitment


The importance of qualifications

Experience in vocational training courses

Previous professional experience

Recruitment: age, mobility, procedure, aids


Chapter 3. The job

Socio-occupational status and professional hierarchy

Professional hierarchies and work organisation

Polyvalence, autonomy, technology in work tasks

Controls and working hours

Careers and transfers

Double work and patronage in working relationships and with users

The meaning of work


Chapter 4. Planning, effectiveness, efficiency

Planning, effectiveness, efficiency

Effectiveness and efficiency in everyday work

Effectiveness and efficiency in public administrations

Some conclusive considerations


Chapter 5. Work cultures


Training and updating

Natural, scholastic aptitudes and professional experience

Application of school knowledge to work

Perception of income

Decision-making functions and participation

Political and social orientation

Participation in strikes, assemblies, agitations

Opinion on self-regulation of strikes in the public administration

Propensity to reduce working hours

A view on the granting of an unemployment wage


Chapter 6. Public Administration and Citizens

Public Administration and Citizens

The right to information

The protection of citizens’ rights

The Transparency of Public Administration


Some final remarks




A review of the state of PA in Italy in view of the reform

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