The Features And Concepts Of Old Public Administration, New Public Management and New Public Service

The Features And Concepts Of Old Public Administration, New Public Management and New Public Service

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Influenced by the ideas of Max Weber, the prevailing approach to public administration for
much of the 20th century drew on a model of bureaucracy based on the twin principles of
hierarchy and meritocracy. It was initially introduced as part of wide-ranging bureaucratic reforms in the United Kingdom and Prussia in the late 19th century to overcome patrimonial
systems of administration where patronage and favoritism dominated government decisions
and public appointments. This approach had a number of distinctive features. It relied on
centralized control, set rules and guidelines, separated policymaking from implementation, and
employed a hierarchical organizational structure (Osborne, 2006). The watchwords were
efficiency and effectiveness in the management of budgetary and human resources. Drawing
on Minogue (2001), McCourt (2013) sets out the central features of this model.

The Concept of Old Public Administration and Its Features

 A separation between politics and elected politicians on the one hand and
administration and appointed administrators on the other;
 The administration is continuous, predictable, and rule-governed;
 Administrators are appointed on the basis of qualifications and are trained
 There is a functional division of labor and a hierarchy of tasks and people;
 Resources belong to the organization, not to the individuals who work in it;
Public servants serve the public rather than private interests.

This “command and control” approach to public administration was the reference point for
bureaucratic systems introduced around the world under colonial rule and then after
independence in most Commonwealth countries. Other countries introduced variants of this
model, primarily drawing on French and Japanese experience, where political factors influence
public appointments under a centralized bureaucratic model. This approach worked well in a
number of countries, notably in Singapore where the post-independence political leadership
built a high quality and efficient civil service along these lines. A similar approach was followed in China in the context of a one-party state. But many post-colonial states experienced a decline
in the quality of governance and the effectiveness of public administration in subsequent years
as neo-patrimonial pressures asserted them and state resources and public appointments were
subject to the personal influence of political leaders and their followers.

The Concept of New Public Management and Its Features:

The New Public Management (NPM) refers to a series of novel approaches to public
administration and management that emerged in a number of OECD countries in the 1980s.
The NPM model arose in reaction to the limitations of the old public administration in adjusting
to the demands of a competitive market economy. While cost containment was a key driver in
the adoption of NPM approaches, injecting principles of competition and private sector
management lay at the heart of the NPM approach. The key elements of the NPM can be
summarized as follows (Osborne, 2006):
 Attention to lessons from private-sector management;
 The growth both of hands-on “management”, in its own right and not as an offshoot of
professionalism, and of “arm’s-length” organizations where policy implementation is
organizationally distanced from the policymakers (as opposed to the “inter-personal”
distancing of the policy/administration split;
 A focus upon entrepreneurial leadership within public service organizations;
 An emphasis on input and output control and evaluation and on performance
management and audit;
 The disaggregation of public services to their most basic units and a focus on their cost
 And the growth of the use of markets, competition, and contracts for resource allocation
and service delivery within public services.
The NPM approach took root in the UK, New Zealand, the USA, and Scandinavia from the mid1980s. Its theoretical foundations lay in public choice and principal-agent theory, which claim that individual self-interest drives bureaucratic behavior. Competition, delegation, performance, and responsiveness offer yardsticks to regulate bureaucratic behavior and generate improved outcomes (Dunleavy and Hood, 1994; McCourt, 2013). NPM resulted in significant changes in the public sector ethos and approach, especially the cultivation of new management practices, marketization, and contracting out of core services to private companies and non-profit
organizations, and the creation of “arms-length” executive agencies responsible and
accountable for implementation. A greater focus on management by results replaced a public
sector orientation governed by inputs and outputs, while performance management
increasingly pervaded the public sector (Dunleavy and Hood, 1994). NPM approaches were also
adopted by a number of non-OECD countries, often as part of public sector reform programs
were supported by international aid agencies, but their influence was uneven (Pollitt and
Boukhaert, 2004). Despite claims of universality, few governments in developing countries
implemented wholesale NPM reforms, but some experimented with creating executive
agencies, citizens’ charters and performance management models (Hood, 1990). Prominent
examples include the semi-autonomous tax agencies in Africa and Asia, several of which
generated impressive results in terms of revenue targets and reducing corruption (McCourt,
2005). Contracting-out service delivery to private and not-for-profit providers in health,
education and water and sanitation became fairly widespread but implementation was patchy
and results were mixed because of problems of regulatory capacity, quality, and access, leading
to a complex and fragmented mosaic of service provision (Batley and Mcloughlin, 2009).
Tax administration was one area where NPM reforms had a more positive impact in developing
country contexts. A number of countries experimented with the creation of semi-autonomous tax agencies which were accountable to their respective ministries of finance in return for
demonstrable progress against key targets. Not all of these were successful but several
agencies made impressive strides in increasing tax yields and improving the efficiency of tax

The Concept of New Public Service and Its Features

The New Public Service (NPS) approach is perhaps the most coherent of these approaches. It
starts with the premise that the focus of public management should be citizens, community and
civil society. In this conception, the primary role of public servants is to help citizens articulate
and meet their shared interests rather than to control or steer society (Denhardt and Denhardt,
2000). This is in sharp contrast to the philosophical premise of the NPM approach in which
transactions between public managers and customers reflect individual self-interest and are
framed by market principles. It is also distinct from the old public administration approach
where citizens related to the bureaucracy as clients or constituents and were treated as passive
recipients of top-down policymaking and service delivery mechanisms (Bourgon, 2007). Control
and hierarchy rather than plurality and engagement characterized these public service ethos,
emphasizing the values and motivations of public servants dedicated to the wider public good
(Denhardt and Denhardt, 2000, pp. 556-57). Similarly, Bourgon (2007) uses the concept of
democratic citizenship to open up fresh perspectives, where the role of public administrators is
not confined to responding to the demands of users or carrying out orders. He proposed
approach to new public administration contains four elements:
 Building collaborative relationships with citizens and groups of citizens;
 Encouraging shared responsibilities;
 Disseminating information to elevate public discourse and to foster a shared
understanding of public issues;
 Seeking opportunities to involve citizens in government activities.
In placing a fresh emphasis on the public interest and citizens as the focus of public service, the
The New Public Service model provides a useful corrective to prevailing notions of control and
steering associated with earlier models of public administration and management. But it is still
far from providing an all-encompassing paradigm that offers the comprehensive solutions
which public sector reforms grounded in earlier approaches have failed to deliver (Denhardt
and Denhardt, 2011; Christensen and Laegreid, 2011). With its emphasis on engaging citizens as
the primary focus of public management, the NPS framework is highly normative and value-driven. Other scholars also highlight the importance of integrating inter-organizational
dimensions of the new public service to capture the significance of the pluralization of service
provision (Perry, 2007). Several other strands of the “post-New Public Management”
perspective, therefore, merit attention in the pursuit of a more comprehensive approach. These
respectively focus on whole-of-government approaches, digital governance, and motivation to
redress the problems of organizational coherence and responsiveness associated with NPM,
placing the needs and interests of citizens at the center of public management endeavor and
extolling a public sector ethos.

The whole-of-government approach arose in response to the lack of coherence and the
coordination problems associated with NPM. In particular, the transfer of central government
responsibilities to specialized single-purpose organizations such as regulatory authorities and
service delivery agencies has undermined the coherence of central government authority and
weakened its capacity to respond to crises and complex problems. Strengthened central
oversight and increased horizontal collaboration implied in the whole-of-government approach
is seen as a necessary corrective to the problems of fragmentation generated by NPM, though
efforts to coordinate government policymaking and service delivery across organizational
boundaries are not a new phenomenon. Now, I will shortly discuss the main features of the present Bangladeshi.

Administration considering these three Administrations

Bangladeshi administration is continuous, predictable & rule-governed which are the features
of Old Public Administration. The administrators are appointed on the basis of qualifications
and are trained professionals which are related to Old Public Administration. Bangladesh government also focuses upon entrepreneurial leadership within public service organizations.
In Bangladesh, the government often learns from private-sector management which is the feature of new public management. The government tries to focus on evaluation and performance management, disaggregation of public services to their most basic units & focus on their cost management which are the features of New Public Management.
The Bangladesh government tries to build a collaborative relationship with citizens. The
the government also tries to encourage shared responsibilities, disseminate information to elevate public discourse & seek opportunities to involve citizens in government activities which are the features of New Public service.
From the above discussion, it can be said that the present status of public administration of
Bangladesh considering the concept and features of Old Public Administration, New Public
Management & New Public Service Bangladesh is standing in a mixed administration. And the
current Bangladeshi Administration is more relevant to New Public Service

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