Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Modern societies are highly dynamic. Unlike static traditional societies, they constantly evolve, and progress is the principal goal. Consequently, a central concept in these societies is that of reform , meaning an intended change of institutions or policies designed to overcome perceived deficits or to achieve particular goals. If successful, the change leads to a positive development: improvement of an existing situation or better performance. Reforms can refer to a government as a whole or its institutions and policies, but political science is also interested in the restructuring of nongovernmental organizations such as associations or firms. In all these settings, modernization is tantamount to reform. The concept of reform is used to designate extraordinary political decisions, as distinguished from ordinary decisions, by the degree of change involved. Moreover, reforms break with routine. As a rule, political leaders announce a reform to gain public attention and prove their ability to govern. ...