Lesson 3, Topic 3
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1.4 NEW PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION

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NEW PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION

NEW PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION

New Public Administration is an anti-positivist, anti-technical, and anti-hierarchical reaction against traditional public administration.

HISTORY

  • New Public Administration traces it origins to the first Minnowbrook Conference held in 1968 under the patronage of Dwight Waldo.
  • The 1960s in the USA was a time of unusual social and political turbulence and upheaval. In this context, Waldo concluded that neither the revise nor the practice of public administration was responding suitably to the escalating turmoil and the complications that arose from those circumstances.
  • The new public management (NPM) did not offer public servants an alternative model to help them resolve emerging conflicts and tensions. Concepts of citizenship, democracy, or public interest have evolved over time and they are continuing to evolve.
  • Consequently, the role of government and the role of the public service are being transformed in ways that push beyond the constraints of the Classic model.

New Public Administration theory necessity is dealing with the following issues:

  • Democratic citizenship;
  • Public interest; Public policy; and
  • Services to citizens.

First, a ?new‘ theory should start with the ideal of democratic citizenship. The public service derives its true meaning from its mandate to serve citizens to advance the public good. This is the raison d‘être of the institution, the source of motivation and pride of all those who choose to create it their life, whether for a season or for an whole career.

CHARACTERISTICS

NPA has advocated 3 anti-goals and hence its literature is described ‘anti-positivists‘. These are-

  • Rejecting a definition of Public administration, as value-free i.e. Public Administration should be value oriented since not all the inclinations to the values are bad and hence are desirable at some moments of time.
  • Rejecting a rationalist and perhaps deterministic view of human type since human-behaviour is quite unpredictable. Public administration studies should hence focus on what administration should “become” instead of focusing on what administration should “be”.
  • Rejecting “Politics-administration dichotomy” since administrators today is involved in policy formulation and policy implementation at all the stages.

THEMES

  • Relevance: Traditional public administration has too little interest in modern troubles and issues. Social realities necessity is taken into consideration. I.e. people should see changes as relevant meaning thereby that changes should be specific to the needs of the area and the need of the people. Earlier approaches to NPA measured that rationality of the people was neglected. NPA suggests the inclusion of rationality of the people too in the procedure of policy formulation.
  • Values: Value-neutrality in public administration is an impossibility. The values being served through administrative action necessity are transparent.
  • Social Equity: Realization of social equity should be a chief goal of public administration.
  • Change: Skepticism toward the deeply rooted powers invested in permanent institutions and the status quo. Operational flexibility and organizational adaptability to meet the environmental changes should be in-built in the administrative system.
  • Client Focus: Positive, proactive, and responsive administrators rather than inaccessible and authoritarian “ivory tower” bureaucrats.
  • Management-Worker relations. There should be equal emphasis both on efficiency and humane thoughts. The new approach has to satisfy both the efficiency and the human relations criterion in order to achieve success.

NPA gives solutions for achieving these goals, popularly described 4 D’s i.e. Decentralization, Debureaucratisation, Delegation, and Democratization.

CRITICISM

  1. Though New Public Administration brought public administration closer to political science, it was criticized as anti-theoretic and anti-management.
  2. Robert T. Golembiewski describes it as radicalism in words and status quo in skills and technologies. Further, it necessity be counted as only a cruel reminder of the gap in the field flanked by aspiration and performance.
  3. Golembiewski considers it as a temporary and transitional phenomena.. In other words we can say that the solutions for achieving the goals and anti-goals were not provided through the NPA scholars explicitly.
  4. Secondly, how much one should decentralize or delegate or debureaucratise or democratize in order to achieve the goals? On this front NPA is totally silent and it seems that they have left the answer to the discretion of the administrators.

SIGNIFICANCE

  • Felix and Lloyd Nigro observe that New Public Administration has seriously jolted the traditional concepts and outlook of the discipline and enriched the subject through imparting a wider perspective through linking it closely to the society.
  • The overall focus in NPA movement seems to be to create administration to be less “generic” and more “public”, less “descriptive” and more “prescriptive”, less “institution-oriented” and more “client-oriented”, less “neutral” and more “normative” but should be no less scientific all the same.
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