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Public Space as a Necessity for a Flexible and Effective Strategic Public Management.

Opportunity of Independent Agencies.

Odysseas Kopsidas1a, Raptis E.P. Athanasios 1a, Labrini Motsia1, Stefanos Polymenopoulos1,
Adamadia Simopoulou1, Maria Vasiliki Kokiousi3, Charalampos Platis4

National School of Public Administration and Local Government (NSoPALG), 211 Pireos Str.,17778,
Tavros, Athens, Greece .

Quality Assurance Unit at Applied Sciences University of Piraeus
3 Department of Psychology, Panteion University
4 Research and Study officer at NSoPALG
Corresponding authors:,,

This paper seeks to present the necessity of the public “space” availability as a relaxation of
the legislation margins in order of a flexible and efficient Strategic Public Management. This
papers is about to be proposed with inclusion of the basic ideas of public strategic
management. The proposed strategic plan is supposed to be adopted by an Independent
Authority in Greece, the Ombudsman, which is a part of Hellenic Public Administration. The
enhanced Bryson model of strategic public administration was selected, as the basis for this
application. The whole strategic plan development methodology constitutes from the
hyperthesis of several models, while each Bryson step may assumed as a discrete method, as
well as an implementation of crude qualitative and quantitative analysis. The Balanced
Scorecard business model was performed, with regards to breaking down strategic goals to
operational and individual. The final outcome of the strategic planning methodology in the
Greek Ombudsman is that according to the strategic mapping model, the focus should be
placed on the citizen as a user of the services and the rest of the operational goals should be
set in such a way as to allow and guide the Ombudsman’s services around the citizen’s needs.
As a basic finding of the whole application is the need for extended flexibility of such
organization in terms of self determining the vision and the operational goals.

Keywords: Strategic Management, Ombudsman, Public Administration, Balanced Scorecard.

The foundation of the classical Ombudsman is a Swedish idea. The Swedish Ombudsman for Justice
was founded in 1809 and its foundation was a part of a major political reform (Magnette, P. 2003).
However, it is accepted that the later scope of such organizations was somewhat closer to defending
human rights. Since their initial emergence in Sweden in 1809, 178 NHRIs (National Human Rights
Institutions) have been established in 133 countries. Depending on the typology, a number of countries
have adopted both a classical Ombudsman and a commission, but the majority use only one model.
Strategic management is usually referred as the alignment of internal capabilities with external
demands (Johnsen, A. 2015). This may take the form of plans, patterns, positions, perspectives, and
plots” (Mintzberg et al., 2009). According to Williamson (1999), “strategy is now considered a field
that makes it possible for the leaders of public and private organizations to ‘take options on the future”
Strategic management was initially invented and implemented in order to deal with the ‘industrial
dynamic’ marked by ‘competitive behavior’ (Porter, 1982). As a topic of knowledge, strategic
management has been originated, taught and implemented for over half a century.

In recent years, many countries have seen multiple reforms in the public domain with varying
priorities. The, so called, New Public Management (NPM) reforms have been a significant influence in
various sectors of the public domain (Hansen R.G. et al 2016). A typical example of this type of public
sector organization is the Hellenic Ombudsman, which is the case study of this paper. The complete
methodology of the formulation of a strategic plan for this organization will be briefly presented in the
next paragraphs.

Materials and Methods

This research project aims at developing a Strategic Plan to be adopted by the Independent Authority
(usually named “agencies”) of the Hellenic Ombudsman (hereinafter "Ombudsman"). For the
development of this Strategic Plan, we applied Bryson’s Strategic Management Model for Public
Institutions (Bryson, 1988), due to Ombudsman being an element of Public Administration. According
to this model, strategic management in public organizations contains ten essential steps: 1. Initial
agreement. 2. Identification of the institutional framework and expectations of stakeholders. 3. Mission
formulation and values identification. 4. Analysis of the existing situation within the organization and
external influences. 5. Identification of the strategic issues. 6. Formulation and implementation of
strategic planning. 7. Monitoring and evaluation. In this work, we have focused on the identification of
operational objectives and a method of monitoring their achievement. The quantitative analysis
implemented using SPSS v.20 while the qualitative analysis (context analysis) performed using the
Nvivo v.10 software.

Step1: Developing an Initial Agreement: It is essential that there is a consensus among the Ombudsman
leadership towards a formulation of a strategic plan.
Step 2: Recognition and Clarification of Orders from “Above”: The basis of the strategic planning
application regarding the Ombudsman is the recent law 4369/2016 which together with Law no.
3230/2004 constitutes the institutional framework of the Hellenic government regarding the
administration and performance management system strategy.
Step 3: Development and Clarification of Mission and Values: This step includes Stakeholders
Analysis, Mission, Vision, and Values declaration. Key to the development of the mission of the
organization is the analysis of interactions i.e. all stakeholders that interact to form a network policy
(Sabatier P.A., 1987).
Step 4: Analysis of the environment: Environmental analysis is a key component of the success of
the process of developing a strategic plan, as it identifies external and internal events and factors which
affect, either positively or negatively the organization. The external environment of the Ombudsman is
analyzed using the PESTEL Analysis tool. Using PESTEL Analysis, the general environment is
analyzed based on five factors. SWOT ANALYSIS: data resulting from the analysis of the external and
internal environment using the SWOT environment analysis tool are classified into four major
categories, as showing in Appendix C: Interior environment (Strengths, Weaknesses), External
environment (Opportunities, Threats).
Step 5: Identification of Strategic Issues: The results of the above analyzes are then used to
determine the organization's strategic issues. For their emergence the "Direct approach" (Bryson, 2004)
method was applied. According to this method, the strategic issues arise from the analysis of the
mission (Step 2), the commands from above (Step 3), and the PESTEL and SWOT analyzes (mainly
from the Weaknesses and Threats of SWOT, and the negative PESTEL points) (Step 4). The "culture"
of an organization (organizational culture) also strongly influences what strategic issues will be placed
in the agenda and which will not.
Step 6: Strategy Formulation and Development Using Balanced Scorecard: At this stage, the
organization's strategy is emerged. From the treatment of strategic issues the strategic objectives are
identified and ultimately operational objectives are emerged, which are further broken down to

functional and personal goals. For this purposes, Bryson’s "5-step process" model was used (Bryson,
2004, 2010). According to this model, the following questions are addressed:
What alternative paths can address the strategic issue? Here we compare the do-nothing scenario
with alternative scenarios/options which address each strategic issue. For example, the do-nothing with
regards to measuring citizen satisfaction may lead to decreasing use of the Ombudsman's services and
ultimately to the obsolescence of the institution.
What barriers exist as to the realization of such strategic options? For example efforts to improve
processes and procedures in the internal operation of the Ombudsman (operations management) are
likely to have reactions from the staff.
What recommendations can be made for dealing with those obstacles? For the above example, the
Ombudsman can effectively communicate staff regarding the positive dimensions of changes.
What actions can be realized with the resources available to the organization, within the next two
years, in order to implement the operational plans? In this step the strategic objectives are transformed
to operational objectives, taking into account available resources. A critical parameter in this step is the
“ownership” of the strategic planning among all staff. This is largely achieved through the use of the
methodology of the Scorecard Balanced.
What specific actions should be undertaken in the next six months and who is responsible for
them? In the last step the operational objectives are transformed into objectives of administrative units
and individual goals within a six month timeframe. In this study however, the process of analyzing the
organization's strategy stops at the level of operational objectives.
Therefore, the four dimensions which were chosen are: 1. Value added services (Output): This
includes all procedures / actions aimed at the satisfaction of citizens through the provision of
Ombudsman services. 2. Internal processes: This includes all functions with regards to the operations
management inside the Ombudsman. 3. Human resources: this dimension includes measures for the
optimal utilization of the Ombudsman human resources in order to carry out its functions. 4. External
Actions and Partnerships (External Processes): This dimension relates to the Ombudsman interfering
with the external environment by extending its powers and enhancing its visibility. It includes actions
with a strong communicative character (such as lobbying), informational activities aimed at vulnerable
groups as well as actions to expand its powers (see Tables 1a,b bellow).
Step 7: Reviewing and Adopting the Strategy: In formulating the Ombudsman's strategy, support
from the political leadership is of the outmost importance.
Step 8: Description of the Future Image of the Organization: The vision for the success of the
organization is diffused inside the Ombudsman, namely its staff. The staff is informed of its role in the
strategic plan, as well as what will be asked in the future (e.g. through the development of its Code of
Step 9: Development of Effective Application processes: For the effective implementation of the
strategic plan the organization will create a workgroup (task force) seconded to the project
"Implementation of strategic planning." The group will contain the Chief Ombudsman, the Deputy
Ombudsmen, people from the scientific and administrative staff of the Authority. For the
implementation of the strategic and operational plan the organization will develop a detailed annual
work program for each of the three years for 2018-2020.
Step 10: Strategy and Strategic Planning Procedures Reevaluation: The stage of the evaluation is a
very critical process in strategic planning. At this stage the individual, administrative, operational and
strategic goals achievement is evaluated by the task force and proposed corrective measures are
proposed if necessary.

Table 1a: Balanced Scorecards for Dimension 1 (output): Provided Value added services
s Operational current
Indicator target value implementation actions Implementer
/ objective value
Creating a "one stop- Cooperation with the
shop" Ombudsman % Partner Ministry of Interior
services in selected CSC (which (responsible for the
Ombudsman Head/Quality
ADS throughout the would ADS) for the
function in Manager/
1 country for provide - determination of levels
35% of CSC Operations
preventive Ombudsman of responsibility and to
Regions Manager
information ,and services) change the institutional
citizens' complaints Regions framework
collection Reorganization body
satisfaction Locating synergies and
Rating> Quality
degree (by grouping of reports
80% Manager
completing Actions motivational
Improving level civil /Operations
2 the relevant personnel (e.g. by
service Manager /
form/ introducing model "
questionnaire) Employee of the
<2% Officer
% Complaints Month ")
on all reports
Development of
interactive online
services (chat, skype)
% of for the effective and
reasonable efficient collaboration
complaints Ombudsman and Quality
with Administration and Manager
3 successful 83% 90% dealing "organizational /Operations
resolution failures" Manager
with actions Improving Manager ICT
of the coordination with
Ombudsman Administration
incorporating new
ICTs and platforms As
Front-line update
(CRC & Ombudsman) Quality
% Reporting
Interactive form Manager
Improving front-line except
4 48% 25% reports with immediate /Operations
services competence
notification in case of Manager / Head
lack of jurisdiction of ICT
Management reports

Table 1b: Balanced Scorecards for Dimension 2: Internal Processes (Internal Operations)
s Operational target implementation
Indicator current price Implementer
/ objective price actions
Number of
cycles 6 cycles 3 cycles
reorganization28 Chief
1 recording Ombudsman/Operations
Ombudsman Number of 50 /
procedures Manager
documented - year
procedures /
Redistribution administrative
- reducing and scientific
280.000 Chief
operating rent for staff in ADS
2 388,000 EUR EUR Ombudsman/Finance
costs buildings Reducing
2020 D/Director
Ombudsman operating costs
29 due to space-

% Fulfilled
cases / total 95%
cases 89%
Ombudsman 90 Quality Manager /
Improving management
Number 45 reports Supervisors Activity
4 scientific staff system matters
Fulfilled references/Year /year / Cycles Ombudsman /
efficiency using ICT
reports/ year g/officer official ICT Officer
Median x until
time q - 2020
handling 90 days

Strategic management is usually referred as the alignment of internal capabilities with external
demands (Johnsen, A. 2015). This may take the form of plans, patterns, positions, perspectives, and
plots” (Mintzberg et al., 2009). According to Williamson (1999), “strategy is now considered a field
that makes it possible for the leaders of public and private organizations to ‘take options on the future”
Strategic management was initially invented and implemented in order to deal with the ‘industrial
dynamic’ marked by ‘competitive behavior’ (Porter, 1982). As a topic of knowledge, strategic
management has been originated, taught and implemented for over half a century. However, it still
remains a lack of consensus about the effectiveness of strategic management in public administrations
(Mazouz, B. et al 2016). Dealing with the complexity of public governance procedures, means that
governments must abandon the widely held practice that the strategy of public domain services must be
limited to viewing the administrative body as a simple naïve machine that implements public policies
(Bryson JM and Roering WD 1987). In the public domain, the strategic management implementation is
determined by three powers: the power of choice, the power of law and the power of ways and means
(Mazouz, 2014).

In recent years, many countries have seen multiple reforms in the public domain with varying
priorities. The, so called, New Public Management (NPM) reforms have been a significant influence in
various sectors of the public domain (Hansen R.G. et al 2016). The most significant and key reforms
are (Pollitt et al. 2004) mainly the creation of “Autonomized Agencies” or “Independent Authorities”.
The NPM reformation breaks the large vertically integrated public bureaucracies into smaller and more
manageable services and delivery-orientated subunits (Pollitt et al. 2004). The ultimate goal is to create
highly autonomous public organizations with well-defined strategy and narrow tasks with more
‘strategic space’ in which to operate (Pollitt et al. 2004). A typical example of this type of public sector
organization is the Greek Ombudsman, which is the case study of this paper.


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