Sandford Borins

Sandford Borins

Strategic Management


Sandford Borins is a Professor of Strategic Management in the Department of Management at the University of Toronto Scarborough, where he served as its founding Chair from 1991 to 2003. He has graduate appointments at the Strategic Management area at the Rotman School of Management, the School of Public Policy and Governance, and the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto. He is also a Research Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School.

His research focuses on narrative and innovation. His books include "The Persistence of Innovation in Government" (2014), "Governing Fables: Learning from Public Sector Narratives" (2011) and "Innovating with Integrity" (1998). He is currently working on a sequel to Governing Fables dealing with management narratives about the private sector.

Professional Experience:

President, Canadian Association of Programs in Public Administration, 2003-07

Scholar in Residence, Cabinet Office, Government of Ontario, 2003-04

Chair, Department of Management, U of T Scarborough, 1991-2003

Visiting Professor, Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California at Berkeley, 1999

Director, Ontario Transportation Capital Corporation, 1995-98

Visiting Professor, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, 1993-94

Research Interests: 

  • Public Management, especially information technology in the public sector
  • Narratives About Management

Teaching Interests: 

  • Public Management
  • Narratives on Management

Awards and Grants: 

2003 to present   Fellow; Royal Society for the Arts (UK)
1986-Present   Listed in Canadian Who's Who
1990   Social Science Federation of Canada Certificate of Merit for The Language of the Skies; Judged one of the twenty best books written in English with the support of the Aid to Scholarly Publications programme
1971   Woodrow Wilson Fellowship
1971   Elected to Phi Beta Kappa



Selected Publications - Papers

  • Making Narrative Count: A Narratological Approach to Public Management Innovation; Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory; 2012; Pages: 165-89
  • Strategic Planning from Robert McNamara to Gov 2.0; Public Administration Review; Issue: December; 2010; Pages: 220-221
  • A Holistic View of Public Sector Information Technology; Sandford Borins; Journal of E-Government; 2004; Pages: pp.3-29
  • From Research to Practice: A Study of Public Administration Scholars in Canada; Sandford Borins; Canadian Public Administration; 2003; Pages: pp. 243-56
  • On the Frontiers of Electronic Governance: A Report on the United States and Canada; Sandford Borins; International Review of Administrative Sciences; 2002; Pages: pp.199-211
  • Leadership and Innovation in the Public Sector; Sandford Borins; Leadership and Organizational Development Journal; 2002; Pages: pp.467-76
  • Managing Airports: A Test of the New Public Management; Asheesh Advani and Sandford Borins; International Public Management Journal; 2001; Pages: pp. 91-107
  • Public Management Innovation in Economically Advanced adn Developing Countries; Sandford Borins; International Review of Administrative Sciences; 2001; Pages: pp. 715-31
  • What Border? Public Management Innovation in the United States and Canada; Journal of Policy Analysis and Management; Issue: 19:1 (Spring); 2000; Pages: pp. 46-74
  • Loose Cannons and Rule Breakers or Enterprising Leaders? Some Evidence about Innovative Public Managers; Sandford Borins; Public Administration Review; 2000; Pages: pp. 498-507
  • Innovating with Integrity: Evidence from the Ford Foundation-Kennedy School of Government Awards; Public Integrity; Issue: 1:4 (Fall); 1999; Pages: pp. 375-378
  • The New Public Management is Here to Stay; Canadian Public Administration; Issue: Vol. 38:1, (Spring); 1995
  • Government in Transition: A New Paradigm in Public Administration; Government in Transition: The Inaugural Conference of the Commonwealth Association of Public Administration and Management (London: Commonwealth Secretariat); 1995; Pages: pp. 3-23
  • Public Sector Innovation: The Implications of New Forms of Organization and Work; in D. Savoie and H. Guy Peters, (Eds.), Governance in a Changing Environment (Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press); 1995; Pages: pp. 224-47
  • Statecraft: the Effective Use of Political Power; Business Quarterly; Issue: 57 (Autumn); 1992; Pages: pp. 52- 56
  • Public choice: 'Yes Minister' made it popular, but does winning a Nobel prize make it true?; Canadian Public Administration; Issue: 31 (Spring); 1988; Pages: pp. 12-26
  • Management of the Public Sector in Japan: Are There Lessons to be Learned?; Canadian Public Administration; Issue: 29 (Summer); 1986; Pages: pp. 175-96
  • The Economic Effects of Non-optimal Pricing and Investment Policies for Substitute Transport Facilities; Canadian Journal of Economics; Issue: 17 (February); 1984; Pages: pp. 80-94

Selected Publications - Books and Chapters

  • The Persistence of Innovation in Government; Brookings Institution Press; 2014; Pages: 227 pages
  • Governing Fables: Learning from Public Sector Narratives; Information Age Publishing; 2011; Pages: 291 pages
  • Innovations in Government: Research, Recognition, and Replication; Brookings; 2008; Pages: 231 pp.
  • Digital State at the Leading Edge; Sandford Borins et al; University of Toronto Press (; 2007; Pages: 446 pp.
  • If you Build It .. Business, Government and Ontario's Electronic Toll Highway; Chandran Mylvaganam and Sandford Borins; University of Toronto Press (; 2005; Pages: 164 pp.
  • The New Public Organization; with Kenneth Kernaghan and Brian Marson; Toronto: Institute of Public Administration of Canada; 2000; Pages: 368 pp.
  • Political Management in Canada; with Allan E. Blakeney; University of Toronto Press; Issue: 2nd edition; 1998; Pages: 293 pp.
  • Innovating with Integrity: How Local Heroes are Transforming American Government; Washington: Georgetown University Press; 1998; Pages: 346 pp.
  • Investments in Failure: Five Government Corporations that Cost the Canadian Taxpayer Billions; with L.T. Brown; Toronto: Methuen, September; 1986
  • The Language of the Skies: The Bilingual Air Traffic Control Conflict in Canada Montreal; McGill-Queens University Press, Translated as Le francais dans les airs: le conflit du bilinguisme dans le controle de la circulation aerienne au Canada (Montreal: Editions Cheneliere et Stanke; Issue: April; 1983



PhD, Harvard University
MPP, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
BA, Harvard University