– As part of the wave of new public management (NPM), the purpose of this paper is to unveil reactions to, and the management of organizational change within a context seldom examined – juvenile justice. This is achieved via a state-wide study on the introduction of a policy framework in eight centers to manage detainee behavior by ensuring risk-based decision-making among staff.
– Secondary research material was analyzed on organizational characteristics, framework-implementation, and the associated outcomes. The material was synthesized to develop descriptions of each center.
– Two key findings are apparent. First, there were limited research material to make robust connections between framework-implementation and related outcomes. Second, of the material available, there is clear evidence of center differences. The contexts in which the framework was implemented were varied – this may partly explain the different ways the centers responded to the framework, some of which appear counterintuitive.
– The findings are limited by the use of secondary research material and the limited availability of comprehensive material.
– This study suggests that managing change within the public sector requires an acute understanding of organizational context. This encompasses the situation both within and beyond the organization.
– This study casts doubt on whether NPM, which espouses accountability, holds value for juvenile justice. This is largely because: the introduction of the framework was not complemented by the collection of complete data and information; and that which is available suggests considerable variation among the centers, which may circumvent the ability to establish causal relationships between policy and practice.