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Chapter 4

Chapter 4-Public Administration and Organization Theory--The New Public Management.docx

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University of Guelph
Political Science
POLS 2250
Tim Mau

Theoretical Foundations of the New Public Management 2/23/2013 8:37:00 AM Intro  Works on NPM are heavy on prescription + recommend to govn't what they should do in order to reform their organizational apparatus  Still some theoretical propositions about the nature + operations of organizations: o One is the claim that career public servants are not primarily motivated by the public interest in good govn't but by the promotion of their own individual or collective self-interests  Desires of public servants may clash w/ that of the electorate due to the public servants self-serving goals  Known as public choice theory + it also asserts that public servants often get their way w/ politicians + their constituents  Kinds of recommendations for organizational reform that stem from this perspective include more competitive relations w/in the public sector to counter the will of public servants + the transfer of administrative duties to entities existing outside of govn't o Second proposition is identified w/ the school of thinking called managerialism which contends that the essence of any large organizational form is not the Weberian ideal-type of bureaucracy but instead posits a few basic organizational objectives while providing employees w/ the autonomy + motivation to achieve these objectives  Rooted in practices found in the private sector but is assumed to apply to the public sector b/c both sectors amount large, complex organizations  These underlying theoretical propositions are not always given equal consideration in the countries that NPM is implemented In Search of Excellence  Published in 1982 and written by Peters and Waterman, In Search of Excellence examined a number of well-run American companies in order to determine the qualities that make for success o Did this in an attempt to break away from the strictures of traditional organization theory + an entirely new way to manage public organizations  Though they focused on private sector many believed that their findings had implications for the public sector as well  They believed that the rationalism inherent in bureaucracy missed all of the messy human stuff that contributed to productivity + high achievement + urged managers to go beyond practices associated w/ the human relations school of thought + other theorists who were part of the first wave of attack against the early mechanists  Wanted managers to think in terms of ‘product champions’, ‘skunk works’, the ‘technology of foolishness’ + other weird phrases  Number of attributes common to successful companies: o Well managed firms had a close relationship w/ their customers + had developed a near-obsession w/ providing high-quality services + products  Emphasis was not on cost, technology or the internal operation of the company but on the needs of the customer  Other attributes: o Bias for action: preference for moving on ideas + avoiding endless discussion of proposals o Staying close to the customer: garnering insights from customers + meeting their every need o Autonomy + entrepreneurship: giving people the freedom to be innovative o Productivity through people: recognizing that employees are the organization’s most valuable asset o Hands-on, value driven: making clear what the organization stands for + communicating this message to all o Stick to the knitting: staying w/ what you do best o Simple form, lean staff: limiting the administrative layers and having few at the top o Simultaneous loose-tight properties: stressing the company’s central values while maximizing employee autonomy  They believed that if you wanted productivity + the financial reward that goes w/ it you must treat you workers as your most important asset  Received criticism for undermining the complexity of organizations + that some of their so called excellent companies haven’t been able to maintain their success suggesting that here was more to success than embracing the 8 principles Well-Performing Government Organizations  Auditor General Otto Brodtrick sought to determine the attributes of well-performing organizations in govn't  He first identified a group of successful govn't agencies + organizations at the federal level + investigated the causes of their high level of performance o Paralleled the intent + study methods of In Search of Excellence but focused directly on govn't  Found that they key to success was the ability to transcend the traditional organizational structure, moving beyond bureaucracy  Determined 4 overall qualities were essential to overcoming the dead hand of bureaucracy: o Emphasis on people: ability of well-performing govn't agencies to challenge + motivate their employees  People w/in these organizations were given the opportunity to act independently + to operate in an environment that stresses success + not a fear of failure o Participative leadership: leaders envision an ideal organization, define purpose + goals, then articulate these + foster commitment in their people o Innovative work styles: meant organizations able to learn + solve problems as a natural part of their activities + to be self-sufficient + not dependent on orders + commands from those outside the organization o Well-performing public organizations focus strongly on the needs + preferences of their clients + derive satisfaction from serving the client rather than the bureaucracy  He found that an organization + its employees had to recognize the need for improvement in order to become successful o People in well performing organizations seemed to act w/out any conscious deliberation Reinventing Government  Osborne + Gaebler’s Reinventing Government had the ambitious aim of changing the way govn't worked  Felt that the bureaucratic form had outlived its usefulness + that a new form—kind of entrepreneurial govn't—was imperative if govn't were to meet the challenges of the day o Public sector had to think of contracting out services, it had to offer more choice to citizens, had to develop less controlling budget systems + it had to eliminate many of its rules + procedures  Reduced their thinking to asset of principles: o Conceive govn't as largely responsible for providing overall direction + rely on innovative partnerships w/ the private + nonprofit sectors to carry out public programs + services o Encourage competition among govn't agencies + between public + private suppliers in order to take advantage of the benefits available in any competitive situation o Measure the performance of govn't agencies + concentrate on the outcomes of govn't action rather than the actions or inputs of govn't o See recipients of govn't services as customers o When feasible, decentralize agency operations + embrace a participatory form of management o Earn revenues wherever possible  At first glance reinventing govn't appeared to be nothing more than govn't adopting practices of businesses but O + G thought that it was possible for govn't to be more entrepreneurial w/out becoming a business o They believed that the problem wasn’t govn't but that we had the wrong type of govn't  Still emphasized the use of competition + market-based thinking in structuring organizational arrangements for govn't o Touted the advantages of managerialism + believed that we could learn from the private sector  Michael Barzelay published a study called Breaking Through Bureaucracy that recommended govn't become a customer-drive service organization o Mirrored many of the implications of entrepreneurial govn't: visualize the citizen as the customer, focus on results, create a competitive environment, provide choice + empower employees at the street level Robert Denhardt and the Pursuit of Significance  Saw the need to move away from the bureaucratic form + toward a new way of managing  On the basis of research of organizational change in Canada, UK, Australia + the UK he claimed that public servants were engaged in a ‘pursuit of significance’ in which they strive to have an impact in their work  He emphasized the importance of a ‘commitment to values’ which meant that the mission statement + the beliefs contained in the statement became vital to the organization  Also included a ‘dedication public service’ which meant a public servant who goes beyond competition + innovation + toward a commitment to the special place + importance of the public service in a democratic society  He knew that a commitment to values may appear soft compared to other models of NPM but he still belongs in the group of theories of NPM b/c he emphasized an important part of this new approach  He has recently authored a book that puts forward the model of New Public Service o Model emphasizes the importance of respecting people, servicing the citizenry, + constructing the public interest through deliberations between govn't + the community  In this book he explicitly rejects most of the core elements of the NPM + provides a new perspective on public organization The New Public Organization  Proposed by Kernaghan, Marson + Borins o Were reluctant to see their proposal as a new paradigm in thinking about public management or as being appropriate to all govn't agencies  Eager to move govn't away from the bureaucratic form + toward something quite different  Believe the bureaucratic structure looks first to its own needs while the NPO is citizen-oriented  Performance + accountability in bureaucracy are examined in light of how well the worker complies w/ the rules + follows the stipulated processes but the value of the employee in the NPO is measured according to results achieved  NPO knows that beneficial change + innovation requires taking chances  NPO agency operate in a competitive environment w/ the private sector  Reflects both theoretical propositions underlying the NPM: o Managerialism can be see in the advocacy of decentralized structures, the participative leadership + t
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