Is New Public Management Unsuitable For Developing Countries Economics Essay

The term NPM has different labels, such as “ New Public Management ” ( Hood, 1991 ) , “ market-based public disposal ” ( Lan and Rosenbloom, 1992 ) , “ managerialism ” ( Pollitt, 1990 ) , “ reinventing authorities ” ( Osborne and Gaebler, 1992 ) and “ post-bureaucratic ” theoretical account ( Barzelay, 1992 ) . Whatever the embodiment is, they provide similar premises, although there are important country-specific fluctuations. New Public Management is a wide term that applies to two kinds of reforms: the usage of market and quasi-market mechanisms to regulate persons and administrations and the usage of ‘management ‘ methods inside public sector administrations. Because of this “ market – direction ” nature of NPM reforms, Flynn stated that NPM may be more suited in topographic points where the environment is more contributing for markets and managerial control ( Flynn 2009 ) . This implies that it might non be suited for all sorts of environment.

The intent of this essay is to analyze NPM in the “ environment ” of developing states in order to determine its grade of “ unsuitableness ” for these states. The essay will first reexamine the account of NPM in a planetary context and some of its chief elements, so expression at the context of 3rd universe states to enable us reply the inquiry of suitableness. We will besides see some of the documented consequences ( successes and failures ) of execution of NPM so far in developing states, and the challenges of execution. The essay concludes by taking the place that despite unsuccessful execution of NPM reforms in some development states, it is hard or excessively early to once and for all state that NPM is unsuitable for all underdeveloped states, and suggested conditions that might do it more suited to developing states.


From the 1980s, there has been a motion off from the traditional or classical theoretical account of administrative reforms which focussed chiefly on puting constructions and adhering to procedures. This new attack, based on economic and managerial theories, started deriving evidences in developed states chiefly in Britain, New Zealand, and Australia ( Gautam, 2009 ) . The word New Public Management ( NPM ) was coined by Christopher Hood in 1991 to stand for the early watercourse of these public administrative reforms ( Hood, 1991 ) . As a set of loosely similar administrative philosophies which dominated the public disposal reform docket of most OECD states from the early 1980s, NPM captures most of the structural, organisational and managerial alterations taking topographic point in the public services of these states ( Hood, 1991 ; Pollitt, 1993 ; Ridley, 1996 ) .

New Public Management represents a displacement in the accent from traditional public disposal to public direction, forcing the province towards ‘managerialism ‘ . It has besides been used to depict the direction civilization that emphasizes the centrality of the citizen or client, every bit good as answerability for consequences. The traditional theoretical account of disposal is rejected as being inefficient, dearly-won, stiff, corrupt, unexplainable, and unsuitable to an age seeking more dynamic theoretical accounts of societal and economic development ( Hughes, 1998 ) , there was a call for “ reinventing ” authorities on the footing of entrepreneurialism ( Osborne and Gaebler, 1992 ) . It must be stated that although there seems non to be a incorporate understanding on a individual specific definition for the term NPM, assorted literatures are nevertheless congruous on its cardinal elements. These are considered in the following subdivision with some few illustrations of where they have been applied.



Decentralization in the Public Sector reform context is the transportation of authorization or duty for determination devising, planning, direction, or resource allotment from the cardinal authorities to its field units, territory administrative units, local authorities, regional or functional governments, semiautonomous public governments, parastatals, organisations, private entities and non-governmental private voluntary organisations ( Rondinelli et al, 1983 ) . The primary aims of decentalisation include ; get the better ofing the indifference of authorities administrative officials to fulfilling the demands of the populace ; bettering the reactivity of authoritiess to public concerns ; and increasing the quality of services provided. Apart from the developed states, it has been used besides in states that have been troubled by cultural struggles – such as Ethiopia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal and Uganda ( Bangura, 1999 ) .


Denationalization, or the transportation of State assets to the private sector, is a cardinal constituent of retrenchment. It refers to the transportation of control and duties for authorities maps and services to the private sector – private voluntary organisations or private endeavors.

Denationalization can lend to financial stableness in a figure of ways. Additions can be made on the outgo side by retreating subsidies to loss-making companies and enforcing difficult budget restraints on the economic determinations of directors. Besides, the gross derived from selling province endeavors to the populace can assist authoritiess shut their financial spreads. In Guinea, for illustration, such gross revenues resulted in a decrease of government-owned assets by more than 50 per cent during the period 1980-1991 ( Hope, 2002 ) . Similarly, in Togo, during the same period, the authorities reduced its ownership of bring forthing assets by 38 per cent ( Hope, 2002 ) .

Contracting Out

“ Contracting out ” refers to the out-sourcing or purchasing in of goods and services from external beginnings alternatively of supplying such services in-house ( Walsh, 1995 ) . It is a method of denationalization that is increasing in popularity due to the accent on efficiency and service bringing. The aim of undertaking out is to salvage costs from inefficient public bureaucratisms that are more captive on fulfilling the wants of manufacturer groups than of consumers. Furthermore, private contractors can be penalized for hapless quality, holds and deficiency of dependability.

Performance Management and Performance Contracting

Performance Management is one of the assorted NPM-inspired steps to turn to answerability jobs. Performance direction is besides expected to increase answerability because clear and expressed managerial marks, combined with managerial liberty and inducements to execute, do it easier to set up the footing for managerial answerability and to accomplish end products ( Hills and Gillespie, 1996 ; Lane, 1995 ) . Performance contracts or understandings specify criterions of public presentation or quantifiable marks which a authorities requires public functionaries or the direction of public bureaus or ministries to run into over a declared period of clip ( Hope, 2002 ) .


While the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have adopted and prescribed NPM as a cosmopolitan Panacea for both public service and civil society failures across the universe ( McCourt, 2001 ) , legion uncertainties have arisen refering its cosmopolitan pertinence. The suitableness of the theoretical account in developing states has come under uncertainties as many have non been able to carry through some stipulations deemed fit for its effectual execution. The NPM model was proposed to do public sector disposal more efficient, effectual and antiphonal. A figure of steps have been suggested for bettering the public presentation of the populace sector in developing states. Many developing states have endeavoured, over the old ages, to implement reform steps, although the rate of execution of reforms has non been satisfactory, particularly to the international giver organic structures. As observed by Charles Polidano, the complete bundle of the NPM theoretical account has neither been experimented with nor to the full implemented anyplace in the underdeveloped universe ( Polidano, 1999 ) .

While some developing states such as Singapore have been selective in taking the points of reform, others like Bangladesh have non given much consideration to choosing every bit much points from the NPM bill of fare. This disparity in encompassing the NPM reform instantly suggests that there are fluctuations in the grade of assurance each state has in its suitableness and workability. This is in contrast with the initial impression that it is a planetary solution to public administrative jobs. In many instances, developing states have embraced the NPM expression under force per unit area from international giver bureaus, and success in implementing reform steps has been really limited. Is this due to the jobs in the political economic system of these states or the inquiry of overall suitableness of NPM as it represents a major displacement from the conventional public disposal?

Take for illustration in Nepal, harmonizing to Gautam, despite the embrace of NPM policies by the Government, it was observed that the execution of the policies were non successful and public disposal remained criticized for being non efficient and effectual ( Gautam, 2009 ) . Five factors were identified as responsible for this ; political committedness, bureaucratic procedure, institutional capacity, policy procedure and economic conditions. These factors are extremely context particular and they show that before NPM could work background conditions need to be favorable. The job so is non NPM itself but where and how it is being applied. If the bureaucratic histrions are non willing to back up reform, if policy devising procedure undermines public engagement and support, if regulative establishments are weak, and economic conditions unfavourable a formula for reform failure is already on land, and it might be easier to keep position quo than implement alteration.

In Africa besides, a survey commissioned by the Economic Commission for Africa ( ECA, 2003 ) presented experiences of African states in their attempts at public sector reforms. The survey assessed the extent to which African states have taken up NPM reforms. Findingss show that public sector direction reform attempts in the part have produced assorted consequences. Attempts have been made to increase efficiency through decentalisation, denationalization, answerability steps, such as performance- based contracts and Citizens ‘ Charters. These reforms are being applied, but non in a really comprehensive and consistent mode. There have merely been bit-by-bit attempts undertaken by different authoritiess.

In a similar survey commissioned by the British Government ‘s Department for International Development to research the altering functions of Government in developing economic systems of Africa, Asia, South America, the extent of application of reforms, rightness of reforms, public presentation degrees and capacity of implementers were all observed ( Batley 1999 ) . The survey revealed that public direction capacity, market development resources, political inclusiveness, legal effectivity and economic stableness differences in these states affected the suitableness of NPM. At times, Government were ill-equipped to execute unfamiliar functions, there is awkwardness of wider civil service reforms, and overall general failing in adaptative capacity ( Batley 1999 ) . Some sectors were besides found to be more receptive to reforms ( e.g. agricultural and industrial development ) than others ( e.g. wellness attention and urban H2O supply ) . This seems so to connote that if Government ‘s capacity were built and if appropriate sectors were targeted, NPM could turn out to be successful.

Further noticing on NPM ‘s effectivity in the underdeveloped universe, Farazmand ( 1998 ) argues that Western prescriptions of reforms have non helped poorer developing states perform good. Attempts to enforce Western organizational and institutional constructions on the development universe have been counterproductive ( Ray, 1999 ; Macdonald, 1998 ; Turner and Hulme, 1997 ; Knack, 2001 ) . It so seems than instead than enforcing reforms on developing states, there should be a manner of placing precisely what is needed by these states giving awareness to the distinctive feature of their local conditions viz a viz colonial heritage, administrative capacity, political nature and social norms.

Commenting on norms and values in developing states, North observes that Third World and Eastern European states may non be able to implement the formal political and economic regulations of Western market economic systems because of their very nature of informal norms and enforcement features ( North, 1995, p. 18 ) . An attempt to cut down civil service size for illustration will non merely be carried out automatically, a batch of considerations and sentiments could travel into such procedures. Key inquiries of whom authorities is accountable to could be raised by the citizens, who could see authorities to be taking the side of policy urging organic structures instead than its ain citizens. Citizens most times do non see much value in such reforms. Promoting a “ one size fits all ” attack ( Turner and Hulme, 1997, p. 249 ) could hence be misdirecting due to these “ fiddling ” but really of import differences in national contexts.

We will briefly see the context of Singapore and Bangladesh to foreground differences in how NPM could play out.


NPM has recorded both successes and failures in developing states, though success is in pockets here and at that place in most instances. Singapore nevertheless is a noteworthy exclusion, which has a wider range of overall positive consequences. Singapore has been able to selective adopt and adapt NPM reforms in a successful mode. What was responsible for this?

NPM is typically used to better bing establishments where the bureaucratism is already familiar with basic public direction procedures. Singapore, to a great extent, fulfils this status. Get downing from abrasion, Singapore has achieved important economic growing. Singapore is one of the few states in Asia that can tout holding direction basicss right. From the really get downing Singapore has focused on meritocracy, solid institutional models, the regulation of jurisprudence, proper control constructions, cheques and balances and answerability in the public disposal system. Singapore attained significant success in battling corruptness ( Quah, 2003 ; Cheung, 2003 ) . By the clip NPM came to prominence, the public bureaucratism in Singapore had attained edification in disposal.

Singapore has succeeded because of clean and effectual authorities, free of corruptness, meritocratic, efficient and antiphonal, just and impartial, able to offer Singaporeans uninterrupted betterment in their quality of life with economic advancement and a safe and unafraid environment ( Cheung, 2003, p. 154 ) . It therefore seems that the NPM theoretical account is suited to Singapore based on the effectivity of a predating effectual bureaucratic disposal. Could this be a major finding factor in the suitableness of NPM for a state?

On the other manus, Bangladesh offers a different experience to the one described above. Harmonizing to Sarker ( Sarker, 2004 ) , 30 old ages of administrative reforms in Bangladesh has failed due to miss of basicss in disposal, deficiency of political committedness, low province capacity, clientelist political relations, bureaucratic opposition and corruptness. Many of the reforms attempted in Bangladesh met with bureaucratic opposition, many civil retainers who are supposed to implement reforms, do non appreciate and back up these reforms, following a protectionist attitude towards bing power. Additionally, weak political leading farther bolters bureaucratic opposition to administrative reforms. The pervasiveness of corruptness has besides impeded NPM manner reforms in Bangladesh. Harmonizing to Sarker ( 2006 ) , about all signifiers of corruptness are found in political relations and disposal in Bangladesh: graft, maltreatment of authorization, nepotism, favoritism, larceny and fraudulence. It becomes hard to contract and privatise in such a corruption-ridden environment as chances for private accretion and backing distribution will simply increase. These conditions hence make NPM about unsuitable in Bangladesh, and an debut into the system might make more injury than good.


It is deserving adverting once more that without administrative efficiency the expansive programmes of denationalization, corporatisation and undertaking out can non be implemented efficaciously ( McCourt, 2002, p. 232 ; Muhith, 1993 ; Akram, 1999 ; Golooba-Mutebi, 2003 ) . Administrative capacity refers to the ability of the provinces to set about standard administrative maps and supply basic human services, such as instruction, wellness, jurisprudence and order, and societal public assistance, and physical substructure such as electricity, sanitation, transit and H2O. The weak administrative capacity of most developing states brings into inquiry the suitableness of NPM for such environments. As farther noted by Grindle ( 1996 ) most underdeveloped states have experienced pronounced diminution in their ability to continue the authorization of authorities, to pass and implement Torahs and to keep public functionaries accountable in footings of these Torahs.

The New Zealand public direction reform, which has been the theoretical account that others look up to, has lessons others could derive from with respect to the value of a consistent, comprehensive conceptual model. This model helped guarantee that the reform was developed from a wide position that focused on “ the deficiency of direction inducements ” that lay at root of permeant authorities failure instead than on “ the symptoms of dysfunctionality ( Bale & A ; Dale 1998 ) . It provided consistence for the multiple beds of determinations required in the design and execution of the reform. It addressed all facets of public sector direction and all facets of the populace sector ( sections, authorities corporations, and local authoritiess ) . It reduced frights that the reform was merely another ad hoc enterprise and significantly guided the sequencing and execution of the reforms based on what was most of import from a top-down position instead than on what took the illusion of sections ( Bale and dale 1998, pp. 113-114 ) . Could all these be taken attention of in draw a bead oning developing states?

Other indispensable stipulations of the New Zealand theoretical account were a formal budgeting system in which appropriations control disbursement correspond to existent minutess, and a formal civil service system that governs how public employees are hired and paid. The absence of these conditions in most underdeveloped states poses a great menace to the adaptability of NPM reforms.

Other challenges to NPM reform that have been identified in such states include corruptness, with worsening public service moralss and morale, multiple answerability, unequal resource use and institutional capacity. There is plentifulness of empirical grounds to demo that even in amalgamate democratic States in Africa ; there are major shortages in answerability ( Olowu, 1999 ; Therkilsden, 2001 ) . Problems of answerability arise, for illustration, when: Governments ignore or transgress societal moralss and constitutional and legal commissariats in carry oning public personal businesss ; undertakings to be performed are so complex or unspecified that execution is really hard if non impossible ; activities are hidden ; corrupt patterns are widespread ; political and personal trueness are rewarded more than virtue ; and Public engagement in running public personal businesss is low.


We have seen that there are built-in jobs in policy transportation from one topographic point to another. A successful reform in one state might non be successfully implementable in another state. Evaluations show that successful reform requires careful analysis and planning. Each state is different and within states different sectors have different jobs. The capacity and political will to present alterations have a large influence on what is desirable and what is executable.

Singapore and other states in Southeast and East Asia have shown that with the laterality of the province in the economic system and the civil order, certain facets of the NPM theoretical account can be implemented successfully. They have gone for denationalization in selected instances, and have introduced corporatization in certain sectors. They have besides put public presentation measuring and service quality on the docket. All these can be done merely if the basic parametric quantities of administration are present. Bangladesh on the other manus has non realized positive consequences with execution, the chief ground being the hapless quality of cardinal public disposal. These illustrations could steer other developing states that are endeavoring difficult to transform their economic system and society. This all but shows that NPM has capacity both for success and failure, suitableness and unsuitableness, and each state ‘s context ( political, administrative, institutional, economic ) play a major function in finding how successful reform attempts will be.

In decision, for NPM to work efficaciously in developing states, it must be selectively adopted. Besides, public administrative forces ( politicians and functionaries ) must foremost concentrate on the basic procedure of public direction. They must be able to command inputs before they are called upon to command end products ; they must be able to account for hard currency before they are asked to account for cost ; they must stay by unvarying regulations before they are authorized to do their ain regulations ; they must run in incorporate, centralised sections before being authorized to travel it entirely in independent bureaus ( Schick, 1996 ) . More accent should be laid on administrative and institutional capacities, corruptness must be tackled and passage into new methods should be a gradual procedure with mensurable consequences that enlist the support of the public – so can the positive additions of NPM be to the full realized.