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Lecture 9

PAP2320 Lecture 9

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Public Administration
Joshua Zaato

Lecture 9 (Feb 4 ): Re-examining NPM – Advocates and critics The case for NPM  The advent of the NPM has set off a lively debate in the academic community that studies PA. This debate has advocates and opponents on both sides  According to Advocates, the NPM is not a simplistic Big Answer to all bureaucratic pathologies and woes (Borins, 1995)  Rather , it is a normative reconceptualization of PA consisting of several inter-related components o Providing high quality service that citizens value o Increasing the autonomy of public managers from a strict central agency controls o Measuring and rewarding organizations and individuals on the basis of results 3Es o Appreciative of the virtues of competition (Borins, 1995) Forces driving NPM  Large and expensive public sectors were created during earlier periods of strong economic growth o Maintaining them in a new environment of recession and fierce global competition has lead to massive public debt loads  ICTs have given the public sector a major opportunity to increase efficiency o E-governance, E-democracy, E-business ASDs have made the gov’t smaller and more efficient  The citizens/clients are demanding quality and service from both public and private sector producers and comparing the performance of all organizations  Employees are looking for work in either the public or private sectors that provide opportunities for personal growth and fulfillment, rather than just monetary gain Not slavishly following the Private Sector  The NPM is not slavishly following the private sector ideas nor failing to recognize the differences between the public and private sectors  Rather: o It acknowledges that both the public and private are confronting similar forces o It is receptive to learning about how the private sector has responded o Where appropriate, adapting private sector learning to the public sector  Like the private sector, the NPM is also suspicious of all monopolies o Because monopolists use their privileged position to shelter inefficient production The NPM and accountability  Emphasizing clear objectives and written performance contracts should increase rather than decrease the accountability of public service to ministers  The NPM has thought about the question of accountability and argues that the two enemies of accountability are unclear objective and anonymity  By holding public servants accountable for their results and outputs, the NPM helps to enhance public accountability and parsimonious use of public services  Performance management/measurement and performance pay/bonuses are all NPM means of encouraging high performance while increasing accountability NPM Skeptics: The case against NPM  The NPM simply offer up the standard argument that the enemy of accountability is unclear objective  Objectives are unclear because politicians prefer it that way. It enables them to set up various programs which many or may not work at cross purposes (Savoie, 1995) o The classic example being assistance to tobacco farmer along with campaigns to discourage smoking  The NPM has reshaped government operations and dismissed Long-established traditions simply because it suits the moment or occasion  The NPM has little appreciation of the fact that politics and politicians do matter in government and government operations The NPM is not the Panacea  The NPM is rooted in a false philosophy and conviction that private sector management is superior to PA  By its very nature, PA does not lend it
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