Resilience vs. Rigidity of Public Administration During Times of Transition


Adel Ben Youssef

Professor, University de Nice

Secretary General, Arab Governance Institute

Sofiane Sahraoui

Director General, International Institute of Administrative Sciences



The success of the State in providing basic social services and protecting and promoting a life of dignity rests in its ability to provide stable and enabling institutions

A central issue to creating functional economies, productive and secure populations, and stable and democratic political systems, is effective governance. Efficient public management, good governance and sound institutions are central to promoting economic development, increasing access of the population to basic services, eradicating poverty, enforcing human rights legislation, and enhancing popular participation in the development process

Tunisia was hailed to have made significant progress towards good governance prior to 2011. However, the revolutionary rupture of 2010-2011 was precisely driven by a reality is mostly of persistent poverty, rampant corruption, and structural deficits in governance systems. The challenge, therefore, is to ensure that Tunisia’s strides towards good governance are sustained through a focus on building a capable state, one that is endowed with transparent, accountable political and economic systems, and efficient public institutions to provide an enabling environment for all stakeholders to play their respective roles in national efforts to consolidate the foundations of sustainable development

Seven years down the road, no evidence has emerged yet as to any significant progress in good governance. Public administration is held by many as responsible for the lack of progress, clinging to its dysfunctional structures and inability to push through any significant change. Contradictory discourses have emerged as to resilience vs. rigidity of Tunisian public administration during the transition phase

This track will attempt to assemble a number of contributions on transformations or lack thereof in Tunisian public administration that are taking place or that are required to bring about good governance

Papers and other communications should address the following themes:

  • Resilience vs. rigidity: an assessment of Tunisian (and comparative experiences in) public administration during times of transition;
  • Explore the contribution of organizational theories of change to the understanding of societal transitions;
  • What are the internal factors of change (neo-institutions)?
  • Capacities needed to manage and support transition processes from one institutional form to another;
  • Governance at the center of the process of administrative reform;
  • Civil society organizations role in bringing about good governance;
  • Strengthening the administrative capacity of public institutions;
  • The main thrusts of the administrative reform strategy in the transitional context in Tunisia


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