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Lecture 6

Week 6- What is wrong with NPM.docx

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Political Science
POLS 2250
Tim Mau

“What is wrong with the new public management?” - Donald SAVOIE - NPM – came from Anglo-American democracies o Trace its origin to the political leadership which came into office in these countries in the late 1970s and 1980s o Came from the idea that bureaucracy was broken and needed fixing, and that private sector solutions were the solution o President Clinton – National Performance Review – designed to overhaul the civil service – hoped that the review’s 800 recommendations will ‘reinvent’ government by borrowing the best management practices found in private business What is the new Public Management? - it promises to provide the ‘big answer’ to real and imagined shortcomings in public bureaucracy. - The philosophy is rooted in the conviction that private sector management is superior to public administration - The solution is to transfer government activities to the private sector through privatization and contracting out - Hardly any government activities can be transferred – next best solution? Transfer business management practices to government operations - Public management is different from public administration - The very word ‘management’ implies a decisiveness, a dynamic mindset and a bias for action - NPM reveals to what extent it borrows from the world of private sector management practices: empowerment, service to clients or customers, responsiveness, a shift from process to performance, and an emphasis on the need to earn rather than spend The New Public Management: A Flawed Concept - argues that NPM is basically flawed - changes proposed by the new public management movement have been strong on prescriptions but weak on diagnosis o try new solutions before we actually figure out the real problem - what were the problems that needed fixing? Argues that is has more to do with parliament, politicians and Canadians themselves than with public servants - in business it does not much matter if you get it wrong 10% of the time, as long as you turn a profit at the end of the year - in government, it does not much matter if you get it right 90% of the time because the focus will be on the 10% of the time you get it wrong - the principle of ministerial responsibility makes the minister “blameable” for both policy and administration but he in turn can reach into the bureaucracy, organized as it is along clear hierarchical lines, and secure an explanation as to why things have gone wrong as well as how things can be made right - the views and advice of civil servants are to be private and their actions anonymous “What is wrong with the new public management?” - Donald SAVOIE o if this convention is not obeyed, then civil servants may be publicly attacked by one party and praised by another, and that must lead to a weakening of the principle of impartiality - rules and regulations that inhibit effective management, force governments not only to steer but also to row and to concentrate on inputs that underpin the principle of ministerial responsibility - clients are sovereign – hold business (they can) accountable through their behaviour in a competitive market. - Clients can turn the market to defend their interests or walk away from an unsatisfactory firm and turn to one of its competitors - Citizens, on the other hand, have common purposes – they hold politicians accountable through the requirements of political institutions and through exposure via the media - Politicians hold public servants accountable through the application of centrally prescribed rules and regulations - Customer uses ‘voice’ to express dissatisfaction - Voice is much more messy than a quiet exit o Public opinion surveys now capture voice monthly  Politicians react to voice
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