Keywords: public management; regional government; bureaucratic leadership.
This article deals with the public management reform undertaken by the Regional Government in Lombardy during the last two decades and examines how the adoption of the performance-oriented management system is influenced by the reorganization of the regional government. After focusing on the political and institutional context in which the reform has occurred, it outlines the main changes introduced in the regional government arena in the transition from the "first republic" to the "second republic" since the mid-1990s. In spite of the fact that legacy and administrative culture are usually considered a factor of continuity in the Italian administrative system, Lombardy represents a case of successful change management.
A strong emerging political and bureaucratic leadership allowed regional government
to modernize public management (mobility, evaluation and performance related pay). The
article concludes that, aside from the upcoming changes to the political institution of government in the near future, the crucial challenge will be the change management within the executive arena and the new relationship patterns between public managers and politicians.