The British emeritus professor Christopher Hood is receiving an honorary doctorate from Erasmus University. The doctorate will be awarded on Wednesday 8 November during the university’s 104th birthday.

Public administration expert Joop Koppenjan was one of the initiators who mooted the idea to award Hood this ‘oeuvre award’. “Hood is a leading scholar in the field of Public Management”, Koppenjan explains the nomination. “He has had a great influence on the development of the field worldwide. During the course of his career, he has addressed important themes such as the limitations of what the government can do, the emergence of the management culture within public administration, the role of information and ‘spin’ in society and the risk avoidance behaviour of administrators and politicians.”

Iconic books

The theme of the Dies Natalis celebration is ‘For the benefit of all: making society work’. Hood’s work links up with this. “Hood studied the boundaries which the government came up against. At Erasmus University, public administrators continued that work, particularly in terms of thinking in networks. That concerns the question how the government can join together with businesses, lobby groups and citizens to take on social challenges,” according to Koppenjan.

The British professor has written several iconic books and over a hundred articles in academic journals, some of which are regular fare for every new generation of students. At the end of the 1970s, he became famous with his study into Limits of Administration, about the boundaries of the government’s influence. His article ‘A management for All Seasons’ from 1991 is a classic. In it, he is one of the first to describe the phenomenon New Public Management: the global emergence of the use of instruments from industry in the public sector. At the time, Hood was already warning about the risks involved: it can lead to a one-sided emphasis on efficiency and effectiveness: which can be at the expense of reliability and honesty.

Master class

Prior to the Dies, Hood is giving a master class ‘The past and future of public administration and public management’. As an EUR student and staff member, you can be there. During the class, Hood will talk about the past, the present and future of the study and practice of public management. “Various themes from his own work will naturally be discussed. This will be an exchange of ideas with students, staff and other interested parties, particularly about the future of management in the public sector”, Koppenjan expects.

Faculty in the spotlights

Christopher Hood will not be the only one in the spotlight during the celebration. The faculty Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences (ESSB) will also be highlighted.

Rector magnificus Professor Huibert Pols and Erasmus Trustfonds chairman Michiel Muller will give a presentation too. ESSB dean Henk van der Molen is giving the Dies Natalis lecture ‘The Praise of Audacity’. All three will be speaking about contributions to society.

Would you like to be there? The Dies Natalis is in the Aula in the Erasmus building on Wednesday 8 November. It starts at 3.15 p.m.