Essay: Comparative Public Management

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¶ … Public Management

Over the last 65 years, the role of the public sector manager has been constantly evolving. Where, the traditional models of the past are being replaced by other models that will address the changes in the future. This is because managers are facing changing demographics within the community and from globalization. Where, prior to the 1980's governments were following a more formalized structure of various rules and procedure. Then over the years, this structure evolved with: greater flexibility given to managers, more of an emphasis on applying the same elements as privatization and increased amount of discretion. (Lunt 2010) This was designed to provide government with a wide variety of solutions, in delivering greater services to the general public. A good example of this can be seen with the NHS in 1982, where it would follow a more formalized structure. With Secretary of State for Health and Social Security maintaining direct control of: Regional Health Authorities, District Health Authorities and hospitals. By 1991, this model had become more decentralized; with Secretary of State for Health and Social Security maintaining direct control of: the Department of Health and NHS Trusts. The Department of Health maintains control of the Regional Health Authority, while the NHS Trusts controls District Health Authorities. The Regional Health Authority and the District Health Authority control the hospitals directly. (Lunt 2010) This is significant, because it shows how the overall role of government managers is evolving, with the changes that are taking place in government itself. To fully understand the overall scope of these changes requires: examining new public sector management, how it is reforming the public sector and the experiences of different countries using this model. Together, these different elements will provide the greatest insights, as to how the public sector is evolving.

Examining the New Public Sector / How it is Reforming the Public Sector

The public sector consists of a wide variety of areas to include: government agencies, national health systems, local governments, schools and various public services (i.e. police / fire). These different parts make managing the entire public sector very cumbersome. As each of these various entities were large, often involved with providing a number of different services. Then, when you consider the fact that public managers were: more exposed to changes in environmental factors, they were less stable and there was no competition; means that a variety of governments would become large bureaucratic organizations. This would lead to a shift in the way government would provide various services to its citizens. (Lunt 2010)

What is new public sector management and what does it recommend for the reform of the public sector?

New public sector management is when you are reforming the public sector, to more quickly and efficiently provide a variety of services. While at the same time, administrators / managers are trying to increase the overall value for these services. (Bovaird 2003, pg. 6) This encompasses a number of areas the most notable would include: resource utilization, performance measurement, civil service reforms, and partnerships, improving the overall quality of services that are being provided and reorganizing the public sector to deliver services more effectively. (Lunt 2010) The idea originates from the fact that many reforms will often trickle down to the general public. In some cases, this is problematic because these centralized structures were slow and inefficient in responding to the needs of the people. Then, when you combine this with the elements of performance measurement and changing modes of delivery; it would mean that government would undergo a revolution in the way it delivered various services to the general public. Performance measurement is when you are looking at how effective the different services are being provided. Where, you would include the views of: the public, parents, government officials, business leaders and tax payers when implementing any kind of new policies. This allows for a variety of viewpoints to be taken into account when new policies or regulations are being created, helping to mitigate the inefficiencies of government by eliminating issues that could become a problem early. (Lunt 2010)

The changing modes of delivery, is when you are eliminating the overall levels of bureaucracy as much as possible. This means utilizing various tools / techniques that can improve the responsiveness of the government to the needs of the people. To achieve this objective governments began to use various tools that would increase communication / responsiveness to include: increase face-to-face communication, call centers and through the use of internet technology (e-government). This would modernize the way government would respond to citizens. With the OECD claiming that this approach, is a tool that helps to increase the overall effectiveness of government. This is important because it shows how new public sector management is affecting the way various government services are delivered. (Lunt 2010)

As a result, new public sector management highlights how governments can become more responsive. This means that the overall scope of any kind of reforms, that will be implemented will depend upon: the country, traditions and the willingness to go beyond these reforms. This shows how the changes will vary depending upon these different factors. Where, the overall scope of the reforms will be vastly different from location to location. Therefore, it recommends that the changes will depend on the location, as the more extreme reforms will have dramatic effects on how the government will respond, to a variety of issues and how it is providing different services. (Lunt 2010)

The Experiences of Different Countries

Prior to the early to mid-1980's, the way various governments around the world would provide different services followed a basic model. This involved the government and various administrators, maintaining strict control of how various resources were utilized in achieving this objective. Where, many governments would follow a similar model in providing the different services that would include elements such as: complete budgetary control, a separation of the administration / enforcement entities in various departments, bureaucrats holding positions for large amounts of time, less transparency and no accountability. These various elements would be vastly reduced or eliminated under new public sector management, as a variety of countries around the world would turn to this as ways to effectively reform the government itself. (Lunt 2010)

Discuss the extent to which these counties have developed along the lines proposed by new public sector management.

A number of different governments have been using new public sector management, with varying degrees of success in one way or another. For simplification purposes, we will focus on the countries of: China, New Zealand, the UK, South Korea and North Korea. Once this is complete, it will highlight how new public sector management is applied around the world.


In 1949 China would undergo a communist revolution that would establish a government model based upon, centralized planning. Part of the reason for this, was in response to the backlash that was created from remnants of the Western leaning government. Where, government officials would be known for being corrupt and unresponsive to the needs of the people. Under the central planning model, the underlying amounts of corruption would remain high and the economy would begin to stagnate. This would lead to the various reforms in the 1980's. Where, the intention was to: reduce corruption, reform the government and allow the economy to grow more effectively. (China a very Short History n.d.) These reforms would mark the beginning of the introduction of new public sector management, where various administrators and government officials would use this as a tool, in helping to achieve these objectives. This would involve several key elements to include: privatization, civil service reforms and e-government. Privatization would use limited amounts of privatization on the local and national level. Under this program, businesses were allowed to have a share of the ownership of the business or company. This was vastly different from the state control and production of various natural resources. At the same time, this would involve radically reducing restrictions on individuals purchasing and owning land. The way the program would work on a national level is the government would be divided into: public sector units, state sponsored entities and special organization. A public sector unit would allow a limited amount of shareholders to participate in the ownership of the entity. (Lunt 2010)This would compete against state sponsored entities (which were government agencies / departments) and special organization (these were indirectly funded by the government to invest in specific areas). The combination of all these different pieces would reshape the relationship between the government and the people. (Lunt 2010) As the government would take on three unique roles to include: to be a regulator / provider of various service in conjunction with the private sector, the contractor of services to the private sector and maintaining its traditional role of providing different services. This is significant, because these moves toward privatization would show how the government was attempting, to become more responsive to the needs of the people. (OECD… [END OF PREVIEW]

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