Strategizing for grand challenges: economic development and governance traditions in Malaysian local government

Jeffrey Hughes*, Kevin Orr, Mazlan Yusoff

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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This qualitative study provides empirical knowledge and develops theory about the role of strategic management in Malaysian local government. As the country addresses the grand challenge of economic growth amid enduring national aspirations of moving from developing to fully developed status, the analysis identifies six approaches to strategic management across nine Malaysian local authorities. Rather than presenting a linear story of progression, the six models of strategizing in Malaysia illuminate the governance traditions that co-exist in this setting. The study examines the assumptions about public management that underpin the different approaches and relates these to the country's inheritance of classical public administration and centralized government, the introduction of New Public Management, and the subsequent emergence of features of New Public Governance. It contributes to theory by providing an analysis of the role of strategy in each of the three governance traditions and connects debates about local governance with scholarship on strategic management. It also contributes to the emerging literature on strategizing for grand challenges and the limited repository of such studies located in a public sector context. The article ends by identifying the implications for policy and practice and suggesting areas for further research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-380
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Review of Administrative Sciences
Issue number2
Early online date19 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023


  • New public management
  • New public governance
  • Strategic management
  • Grand challenges
  • Local governance


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