Every government is eager to take the most important role in development of public administration, and to develop a distinctively their own perspective of the field. From the scientific perspective the Public Administration is supposed to undertake research and to formulate future directions, because this field is not sufficiently well developed. Research on government takes its roots from ancient times, but its focus on public administration is only about 60 years old.
In this regard academicians should deal with the changing role of public administrations and the public sector by:
Since the year 1960, in a number of countries, the state has been accused of not being capable of solving problems, controlling public finance, ensuring growth, taking into account citizens. The classical Weber’s (1946) Bureaucracy which replaced feudal organization, Wilson’s (1887) concept of policy-administration divide, and Taylor’s (1911) scientific management model of work organization needed to be replaced by a new paradigm of public administration. Obviously, the core achievements of old public administration (PA) are the pursuit of democracy, freedom, safety, and justice as well as health care, education, equity, labor market etc. But nowadays PA model does not work anymore and needs to be reformed. In this regard, series of “new” theories of PA were proposed in order to make a state not only efficient and effective, but also more human, sustainable and social. The main problem is not only political but moral which have to deal with the meaning and quality of life and fundamental societal values.
Privatization (movement) of public sector theoretically, is too deeply based on economic doctrines that the forms, structures, and procedures useful in business could equally be beneficial in government as well. Traditionally, the government bureaucracy is the biggest conglomerate of organizations and employs more highly educated professional people than any other institution. Once a decision is made by political leaders to “privatize” an activity, it is the policy of governments not to provide services directly, but to have third parties involved.
The best thing that could happen to the private sector is to have a first-class public sector, appropriately limited in size and functions, but fully capable of providing the legal, economic, and public goods infrastructure that will permit the private sector to reach its full potential. This new challenge is surely a new trend and we can observe its various examples in the world (UK public transport and police system, private military companies, privatized health and education systems etc.). that kickstarts a new stage of free market era in world politics.
New paradigms from the perspective of privatization.
There are six well-known PA theories proposed by scholars so far:
1) The New Public Administration (NPA) was conceptualized in 1968 at the first Minnowbrook conference. According to proponents of NPA integrating PA in political decisions-making makes the society more equitable. The concept requires public administrationists to be involved in policymaking process and be accountable for their actions. When a public function is assigned to a private entity, usually through a contract, there is inevitable weakening in the lines of political accountability. The emergence of “third-party government” occurs which is not only dangerous to the political order, but also corrosive of management supervision and personnel policies.
2)The Public Service Motivation (PSM) was established in 1982. The expression “Public Service Motivation” is used to describe the motivation of stakeholders with regard to public policy. This concept assumes that, the maximization of personal interest is not the only factor guiding individual behaviors of public sector, but also do norm-based factors (values) and emotional factors (feelings) prompted by altruistic behavior. Public service nowadays is becoming demoralized and highly qualified people are not being attracted to some government agencies. Meritocracy concept is being discussed as it is based on talent, effort and achievements rather than privileges owing to inherited wealth or social class. But in reality, this system is weak because it contains the seeds of injustice – the rule of ‘winners’ over ‘losers’ that diminishes the idea of market economy and democracy.
3)The New Public Management (NPM) has been theorized in 1991. Due to the mistrust of citizens in government, the progress of ICT, the globalization, it was a need in reforms of public administration. Referring to new institutional economics movement and scientific management movement, new trends aimed to get better the government by means of introduction of the private rationale, principally the market-system in public sector. According to the concept, the government should be effective, market oriented, mission driven, results oriented, customers driven, anticipatory. As for the organizational model, the decentralization and the model of agencies are preferred. The population is an “interest group” or “aggregation of individual interests” to satisfy, in other words, the citizen becomes client or customer. Based on science and technology, the NPM concepts creates and makes use of a number of indicators of measurement, incentive systems and mechanisms of evaluation.
Meeting the emerging challenges by taking risk-tolerant goals and policies as independent external factors may also distract a well-managed environment as the global COVID-19 pandemic did. Certainly, the pandemic is not the first and will not be the last societal crisis so, for societies to remain undistracted during any uncertainty governments must consider such risks on the stage of projection and planning of their policies. Such and similar processes in society and outside constantly remind government its key responsibilities to be a safeguard of constitutional rights as well as to keep on developing better conditions for societal development and wellbeing. People-centric and diverse services guarantee that everyone will be understood and heard by participation in societal life in this regard digital solutions enables a smooth collaboration between government and the society.
To ensure trust, government must consistently and transparently share its vision, opportunities and plans for action, builds international partnerships and all information on taken decisions should be openly available for wider audience. Transparency and openness on internal level with local society in line with active open government position on international level is a major formula for success of the government which is able to ensure that the various public services and benefits are easily accessible, understandable, interoperable, safe and reliable.
From the prism of privatization some tools for the implications of privatization upon the field of new public management are used:
There are certain services (public goods) whose value to society, rather than to specific individuals or groups, is so great that the cost be paid through general tax revenues rather than through the imposition of a fee upon a specific category of user. In case of defense expenditures, it is also a subject for strong debates. It is important at this point to discuss what kinds of goods and services should be delivered by government, and what kinds should be delivered by the private sector. Practical limitation on privatization may be concern for public safety. Since public officials are held accountable, they, understandably, want the final say on these standards and supervision over the policing functions. Public safety issue has become larger over the future of the air traffic control system, especially after the 9/11 case.
In this regard at the government may decide that a particular product be produced or service be provided by the government itself for reasons of national security. Similarly, the embassies abroad may reject less costly local contractors in favor of their national personnel for security and accountability reasons.
4) The Public Value Management concept (PVM) was established in 1994, Moore. This value includes the ideological impacts (effects on beliefs, morals or ethics) and administrative impacts (effects on public trust, image, integrity, legitimacy of public officials and institutions). These impacts concern the political system and the very cornerstone of society.
Well-functioning public governance is a key element of a welfare society. A consistent and determined renewal of governance can ensure impact on relationship between government and people.
In a changing operating environment, the government’s operational capability is enforced by utilizing high quality and better managed diverse, reliable information in government and society. Making systematic foresight forms a reliable information base for policy preparation, decision-making processes and future thinking – a key part of management.
Certainly, the classical competence of government has been to ensure stability and predictability, for which reason its operating methods are designed in part to be rigid, but thanks to the rapidly changing circumstances the operating environment requires to renew the previous expertise and adopt more agile and flexible practices aimed at creating an optimal system of public administration. Historically, experiences from history tell us that any change in society is hard work, requiring the efforts of all public spheres and the openness of the state for dialogue with society itself. The thoughtfulness of actions and decisions plays a major role here, otherwise the administration may face difficult social and economic problems.
The new administrative state model requires a personnel system which is at once more competitive with the private sector, flexible enough to meet changing technological requirements, and all the while still remaining responsive to political demands.
Privatization of public sector, in the framework of public value management brings limitations of political and financial corruption.
5) The New Public Service (NPS) was formed in 1981, In order to get back legitimacy and trust, they suggest to improve organizational life, notably by getting better the relationships between public administration and clients(citizens). Instead of to control or steer society in new directions the new public service should serve, contribute to building the public interests, help citizen articulate and meet their common interests, collaborate with citizens. Therefore, the control focuses on process of collaboration, public decision making is more democratic by integrating citizen, the goal is the public interest, shared value among citizen, and currency of success consists in trust and entitlements of citizen.
The problem of the effectiveness of government bodies is one of the most important in the current conditions of a total crisis in the economic, political and social spheres associated with structural changes in the world order and international relations.
The idea of evaluating the effectiveness of public administration bodies is rapidly developing by increasing of varieties of models and methods for assessments aimed mainly at improving the effectiveness of state policy in certain areas and collecting information for further planning in the field of state development programs.
Policy debates about issues such as education, access to health care, housing, food, water, and environmental justice are at the heart of resilience ethics and sustainable governance. Sustainable governance with complexity and the rise of resilience thinking aims to understand the human relation to the world which is emphasized in the 17 UN sustainable development goals. Specifically, an inclusive society means that we are concerned about the lives of the most disadvantaged people, who experience complex forms of oppression and inequalities.
6) New Public Governance (NPG) formed by Osborne. The New Public Governance (NPG) as the theory that responds to the need for «a more holistic theory of Public Administration and Management – one that moves beyond the sterile dichotomy of ‘administration versus management’ and that allows a more comprehensive and integrated approach to the study, and practice, of public administration and management». It is focused on the development and implementation of public policy and reviews inter-organizational relationships and the governance of processes.
New public Governance sees a privatization of private sector from the prism of economic efficiency, by keeping core functions of the state. It is known that historically governments tend to avoid involvement in commercial enterprises, except for extraordinary circumstances, such as war, commercial firms have not been nationalized. Certain functions are inherent to the notion of sovereign power and cannot be delegated to private parties if sovereign power is to remain, in fact, a sovereign power.
In line with major academic initiatives and reflections in the field of Public Administration, it is also important to organize an effort to debate future directions by remaining relevant and being part of a solution for future societal and policy problems. The future of public governance cannot be presented as a single vision of the future, but three dimensions of change of governance can be shown: 1) Relatively enduring goals for the administrative reform, 2) Policies that identify the necessary conditions for change and 3) An implementation plan that puts the strategy into practice.
As a tool, for future development scenarios of public governance to be created, the key question should be answered: How can it be ensured that everyone stays involved in the rapidly changing society? and how to take care of social cohesion and targeting of public services as the population and lifestyles diversify?
There are three dimensions that shape plausible futures: the weight of the past; the push of the present; and the pull of the future. The tension and interaction between these three forces creates a possible future space, inside the triangle.
Taking into account the abovementioned challenges (push of the present) and the historical-evolutionary background (weight of the past) of the Public Administration, we can assume that the “pull of the future” will combine elements of commercial city management-citizenship on a payment basis, human centered policies and decentralized autonomous metacommunities to become analogues of contemporary governments.
Author: Afag Ahmadova
The blog is produced within the Economic Policy Research Center’s (EPRC) project ACTION -Activating Civil Society Organizations through Training and Inclusive Operational Network. The project is implemented with the support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.
The views expressed are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of EPRC and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.