A Comparative View of the Traditional, New Public Management and New Public Service Approach

Topics: Government, Public administration, Public management Pages: 8 (2922 words) Published: October 11, 2014
Government is undergoing one of the major challenges in governance in the public sector. The increasing demands for efficiency and the global pressures of a competitive driven market have transformed the way we do business today. This pressure is ever eminent in the evolution of public management, creating a public sector reform that challenges the role of government in society and the relationship between government and its citizens. There are many definitions of governance, depending in which context, it is used; but here “governance involves the interactions among structures, processes, and traditions that determine how power is exercised, how decisions are taken, and how citizens and other stakeholders have their say.” In the past, there has been different concepts that have impacted the governance of government; namely, the old (traditional) model (TM), also known as “public administration” which was based on a hierarchical system, the new public management model (NPM), based on a management approach adapting business principles, and the new public service model (NPS); built on democratic citizenship, community, civil society, organizational humanism and discourse theory. These concepts will be compared to assess the impact in governance through history. I will argue against the ideology of the NPM theory which states that government should be adapting more business-like values and transform the way they do business; we will discuss the different challenges government is facing today in view of these concepts; and demonstrate a different approach (drawn from NPS) that will benefit every actor involve in the governance of a democratic society. Let us work together in building a society that will encourage relationship between public-private organizations and other institutions for the benefit of our citizens and society as a whole.

The Traditional Model
This concept of governance was dominant in the early part of the twentieth century (between 1900 and 1920). It was one of the oldest and most successful theoretical principles of management in the public sector. This model was characterized as; “an administration under the formal control of the political leadership, based on a strictly hierarchical model of bureaucracy, staffed by permanent, neutral, and anonymous officials, motivated only by the public interest, serving any governing party equally, and not contributing to policy but merely administering those policies decided by the politicians.” The traditional model also gave rise to theories such as: the political control theory (Woodrow Wilson), scientific management theory (Frederick Taylor), theory of bureaucracy (Max Weber) and the Northcote – Trevelyan Report. For most of its existence, the traditional model had its advantages in an upper bureaucratic realm--with a strong hierarchical system--meaning that everyone know their place and the extent of their authority. Accountability was visible from the lowest level to the highest; career advancement was secure, stable, and steady through the hierarchy; when instructions were given clearly and carried out accordingly, the system was efficient and effective. In addition, this system was seen as free from temptations from the part of the bureaucrats’ in diverting public funds for their own interests. This system became very successful in both practice and theory, and was one of the most adopted models by governments around the world. However, this model’s inflexibility, bureaucracy and narrow focus and preoccupation with structure and processes made it apparently unfit for governance in the public sector. By the late 1980’s, a new movement with a focus on business-like approaches led to the emergence of the NPM model.

New Public Management Model
Several factors influenced the market-driven mode of governance. Current global market forces directed the reorientation of state policies toward deregulation, privatization, and...
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