The Rhetoric of Public Management Reforms in Lithuania

Žilvinas Židonis, Neringa Jaskūnaitė


This paper makes an attempt to show the New Public Management in the light of rhetorical managerial activities. From this perspective, the New Public Management is neither a scientific school nor a normative theory. It is a system of “myths“ based on two main narratives: the struggle between the good (public sector reformers) and the evil (bureaucrats) and the theft of fire by Prometheus (modernisation of public sector). New Public Management myths are communicated by employing rhetorical tools, such as comparisons, metaphors, synecdoches, hyperboles. Furthermore, the paper argues that the rhetoric of public management reforms aims to form understanding and opinion of the masses about what are “the real problems of our society“, and what are the best ways to solve these problems. In other words, it is propaganda – rational, purposeful and institutionalised persuasion to manipulate, mobilise and govern citizens. By employing new rhetoric, propaganda creates predispositions, which are pre-reflexive tendencies to believe about certain social-economic phenomena. Based on the Knowledge Economy Forum case, the paper shows how knowledge economy predispositions are created and employed as a “platform“ for other projects, such as the “Sunrise Valley“ technology park and Vilnius-Kaunas „bipolar metropolis“.


public management reform; rhetoric; propaganda; myth

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"Public Policy and Administration" ISSN online 2029-2872 / ISSN print 1648-2603