American Military University WK7 Shortcomings of New Public Management Paper


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What are the shortcomings of New Public Management? Do these shortcomings make it unrealistic? Why? An international perspective can be found at They note the "contracting out of public services." Can you give examples of that in the US? Make sure to give attribution to your sources!

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Introduction Topics to be covered include: • • • New Public Administration New Public Management Neo-managerialism As noted in Lesson 1, public administration is both a profession as well as a field of study. As Lesson 1 explained, in its function as a profession, public administration refers to the daily business of government, focused on using organization and management to implement and execute the laws, rules, and regulations passed by legislative bodies and other authoritative agents. Management of government affairs is a significant component of public administration’s function as a profession. According to Frederickson and Smith (2003), public sector management refers to the formal, as well as the informal, policies and processes that direct the actions and interactions of public administrators as they strive to accomplish the goals and objectives of public organizations, including government agencies at all levels of government. As discussed in Lesson 6, the management aspects of public administration have been guided by several paradigms and theories. This lesson will review and discuss two more of these—new public administration and new public management. This will include a discussion of neo-managerialism and its relationship to these theories. New Public Administration In the 1960s, scholars of public administration began arguing that in general, public administrators at all levels of government practiced their profession in a way that was biased towards making government services easily and readily available to middle- and upper-class individuals, particularly those who were white. At the same time, minorities and others found it challenging to obtain government assistance. Specifically, these scholars, led by public administration students at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School, argued that by requiring citizens to complete long forms and follow multiple steps to be approved for government services, public administrators were creating obstacles for minorities and others that hindered, and sometimes prevented, them from interacting with government and obtaining government services. This was furthered by the tendency of public administrators to be insensitive to the individual needs of citizens, treating them impersonally (Meier & Bohte, 2007). In essence, these scholars argued that public administration as a profession had, throughout its history, routinely created inequities that afforded middle- and upper-class citizens with more power and influence over the government. In addition, these classes of citizens received better services from the government. These scholars felt it was necessary to correct injustices and promote social equity in the practice of public administration. Social equity, as it pertains to public administration, can be defined as fairness and justice in the provision of government goods and services, with all citizens having equal rights and equal access to government. To achieve this, scholars recommended reforming public administration (Meier & Bohte, 2007). This movement became known as the New Public Administration (NPA). The specific policies and procedures that scholars recommended to reform government and implement the New Public Administration included the following (Fry, 1989; Meier & Bohte, 2007): PROVIDE SENSITIVITY TRAINING Provide sensitivity training for public administrators who would use this training to change their approach, treating citizens as individuals and being responsive to their specific needs. DECENTRALIZE GOVERNMENT AGENCIES Decentralize government agencies, giving citizens better access to the public administrators providing government goods and services. ENCOURAGE CITIZENS TO PARTICIPATE IN THEIR GOVERNMENT Encourage citizens to participate in their government, getting involved in the government agencies and programs that provide goods and services important to them. ESTABLISH A REPRESENTATIVE BUREAUCRACY As explained in Lesson 6, the representative bureaucracy theory argues that if government organizations and agencies are staffed by a diverse group of public administrators who demographically reflect the public they serve, they are more likely to enact public policies and provide government goods and services that appropriately serve the public interest. REORGANIZE GOVERNMENT AGENCIES Reorganize government agencies to develop public organizations that were established and designed on a temporary basis to achieve a single task with very specific goals and objectives. Once these goals are met, discontinue the government agency or program. Advocates of New Public Administration argue this provides better services for citizens. Also, since government organizations would become temporary, this would eliminate public administrators’ loyalty to agencies and offices. CONTRACT OUT GOVERNMENT SERVICES TO CITIZENS As appropriate, contract out government services to citizens who would be responsible for using these contracts to provide the goods and services they personally needed from government. ABANDON THE INCREMENTAL APPROACH TO GOVERNMENT Instead, continuously re-examine all goals, objectives, and budgets for all government agencies and programs. This approach had two goals, as follows: • • Ensure that citizens still needed the goods and services being provided. Ensure public administrators were providing the goods and services in an effective and efficient manner. As noted in Lesson 1, the incrementalist approach to government and policymaking argues that when confronted with problems, instead of establishing new policies, government officials make changes to existing policies and programs that are intended to address new issues and concerns. This occurs because the development of new policies and programs creates uncertainties and may lead to undesirable consequences. Generally, the NPA approach strived to promote ethics in government, with an emphasis on social equity. According to Meier and Bohte (2007), the NPA had two significant weaknesses. First, reforming government agencies according to the NPA’s approach did not necessarily lead to greater social equity. Second, social equity was a broad goal that could not easily be achieved. Ultimately, the NPA movement was replaced by the New Public Management (NPM), which we will discuss next. New Public Management Public administration scholars and experts advocated New Public Management (NPM) during the 1980s. The primary goal was to make government organizations and agencies function more like private sector businesses, with efficiency, not earning a profit. Osborne and Gaebler (1992) outlined the basic premises of NPM in their book, Reinventing Government. They proposed the following principles, which formed the crux of NPM and were intended to stimulate government reform: • Government should steer instead of row This means that public administrators need to seek alternative ways to accomplish government’s goals and objectives, understanding that they have many options available. According to Osborne and Gaebler (1992), managers who steer look forward and seek innovation, while those who row rely on past practices and focus on a single objective. • Government should be owned by the community Public administrators should work with and empower citizens, neighborhood groups, and community associations to seek their own solutions to community problems rather than relying on government. • Government should be competitive Public administrators should foster competition within government organizations, as well as between different governments, such as different local governments. They also should foster competition between governments and external service providers in the marketplace to find the best and most cost-effective ways to deliver services. • Government should be mission-driven When determining how to provide government goods and services, public administrators should not focus on the government’s rules, which tend to be supported by rigid budgets and human resource departments, but instead on their agency’s mission. Using this as guidance, they should ensure their budgets, human resources departments, and other administrative components support the government agency in its efforts to accomplish the mission by achieving specific goals and objectives. • Government should be results-oriented As opposed to funding inputs, which refers to the resources put into a government organization or agency, public administrators should fund outcomes, which refers to the results that the organization or agency achieved. To be results-oriented, public administrators should review each outlay of public resources and determine what goals and objectives their agency achieved. These results should be the focus of financial management. • Government should focus on meeting the needs of the customer Citizens should be regarded as customers, and providing the goods and services they need should be government’s top priority. • Government should earn rather than spend money Instead of raising taxes or cutting programs to finance operations, public administrators should seek innovative ways, such as user fees, to increase funding for public services. A user fee refers to a payment that a citizen makes when he or she receives a government good or service. Citizens who do not receive such goods or services do not pay user fees. • Government should seek preventions rather than cures This means that instead of automatically providing funding for programs to address public problems, public administrators should seek to prevent problems before they occur, avoiding the need for government programs as much as possible. • Government should be decentralized Instead of having a hierarchical organization, public administrators should structure their governments in a way that allows a larger number of employees to be involved in decision-making and administration. • Government should be market-oriented Public administrators should develop strategies that will enable them to shape the environment of their government’s jurisdiction so that the market affected by their government can function optimally, providing the best possible economic opportunities and quality of life to affected citizens. • Public administrators should function as entrepreneurs As much as possible, public administrators should function as entrepreneurs, being creative and innovative as they seek cost-effective and efficient ways to provide government goods and services. NPM sought to modernize the traditional bureaucratic paradigm of public administration by implementing private-sector, market-driven types of business management processes in the administration, management, and leadership models of government. NPM sought to treat citizens as customers to be served. NPM was later supplemented with the New Public Service (NPS), which has remained the dominant public administration theory that provides a framework for how public administrators at all levels of government are expected to approach their work. Neo-managerialism Scholars such as Terry (1998) argue that public administration theories are underscored by managerialism, which is an ideology that motivates managers as they believe that the work of public administration must be conducted by professional managers. According to Terry (1998), managerialism has the following principles: • Public administrators must strive to continuously increase productivity, • • • which is defined by economics. Public administrators must use sophisticated technology to increase productivity. Applying and using this sophisticated technology requires a disciplined labor force. In any organization, including government agencies, management is a separate function that is focused on planning and measuring productivity. • Organizations will not achieve success unless they have professional managers who can produce quality work. To achieve success, public administrators in management positions must have the flexibility to be creative and innovative in their management efforts. Terry (1998) asserted that NPM led to the establishment of neo-managerialism, which is founded on concepts and theories such as scientific management and agency theory. Neo-managerialism focuses on the belief that public administrators should make efficiency, effectiveness, and economy in operations their priorities. In keeping with the concept of NPM, neo-managerialism promotes the idea that public administrators should be entrepreneurs. It also argues that public administrators should be self-interested and innovative. They should take risks in their efforts to manipulate circumstances and produce sweeping changes as needed. Conclusion Throughout its history, public administration has been influenced and guided by a variety of paradigms and theories. Some of these, such as scientific management, have had a lasting impact. Others have faded away to be replaced by new approaches that seemed more appropriate for the time. Although the specific recommendations of NPA are largely disregarded in the current practice of public administration, both the study and profession of the public administration continue to promote ethics and social equity as goals that public administration should strive to achieve. Some of the premises of NPM were abandoned to follow the guidance of New Public Service which we will discuss in the final lesson. But NPM still has influence in some government agencies, particularly those that focus on providing government goods and services as efficiently and effectively as possible. Whether public administration is guided by NPM, NPS, or some other theory or paradigm, serving the public interest efficiently and effectively, providing goods and services that are sustainable, while practicing good ethics, likely will continue to be priorities for government organizations and agencies at all levels. ...
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Tutor Answer

School: New York University



New Public Management
Student’s Name
Professor’s Name


New Public Management (NPM) is a concept that describes the techniques and practices
for management in the private sector. Countries like the United Kingdom and New Zealand have
reformed their administration and management by implementing different sets of approaches and
techniques in NPM. According to Larbi (2003), the pressure for reforms has played a significant
role in influencing the proliferation of NPM i...

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