Dimensions of the New Public Administration Movement – Essay

1. The new approach stands for the recovery of relevant “Reliance to our Turbulent times,” relevance to the problems confronting the contemporary western man, and relevance to the practitioner. The new approach is rooted in humanistic psychology existential phenomenology and critical social theory.

2. The new approach makes a decision shift in the focus from positivist behavioural-formalistic concerns, towards more basic issues. It is less ‘generic’ and more ‘public-oriented’, less ‘descriptive’ and more ‘prescriptive, less ‘Institution-Oriented’ and more ‘client-impact oriented’, and less ‘neutral’ and more ‘normative’ in its concerns.

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3. Man is potentially perfectible and reflects the character of “growing” and “becoming” not an inept factor in production. This “growthful flux” is a commonly noticeable feature in persons unless institutions are massively punishing and repressive as it happens in large-sized organizations. Denial of ‘becoming and growing process deprives man of unique human experience.

4. The post-positivist moment is decisively anti bureaucratic in the sense that large sized organization show up inherent dehumanizing properties and tend to atrophy creative work of members they produce “surplus repression”.

5. The post-positivist organisational thinkers, generally, protest against over technolisation the sacrifice of the “logic of emotive, creative man”, in favour of the logic of the machine and the system. “Up the human down the system. That is the Cry”.

6. After all said and done on the rational, impersonal and objective character of modern organisation what has been the record of performance? “Dismal” asserts the new public administration’s.

The outcome indicate that the impact of public services vary with the clients’ social, economic and political status and that better and high quality services usually go to the privileged, powerful and well-placed people. They are hardly equity-enhancing institutions as is assumed.

7. An insistence on social equity as a central concern and organisation and conduct of distribution processes on that basis, integrated administrative processes on that basis; integrated administrative process by way of project approaches, matrix techniques; group decision-making; and link pin functions and re-socialisation of public administrators the social emotional process are recommended.

8. Insistence on a public distribution system that ensures equity in the provision of public services.

9. Promotion and further consolidation of humanistic, decentralised and democratic organisations.

10. While there is no consensus, it is felt that organisation should be worked but on non-hierarchical basis, eliminate superior-subordinate stratification and eventually dissociate income from work.

11. Contrary to the current notions of value neutrality in administration and dichotomy in politics-public administration, it seeks to encourage value preferences and open articulation of preferred values among the bureaucrats.

12. As a corollary, public servant’s participation in value choices and policy-making is considered as both legitimate and necessary. It is assumed that the notion of value-free administration is a myth.

13. The freedom-responsibility dichotomy in the sense that without restraint and external sanction the administrator is likely to abuse power and behave capriciously stands rejected.

It is also not sensible to regard administrator as a passive executive agent of the elected representatives. The freedom responsibility, that is, responsibility to others, tends to negate responsibility to one and undermines personal commitment and purpose.

14. In the light of the above, it is taken that there is essential congruence between administrative freedom and political freedom.

15. Public administrators should be encouraged to develop self-actualisation by way of “greater involvement in the advocacy and support of policy”.

16. In addition to the efficiency norms, public administrators are supposed to take the objectives of equity and commitment to good management as values.

17. While constructive conflict is not ruled out, the advocacy is for consensual decision-making

18. The scope of citizen choice, citizen participation in decision making and implemen­tation processes needs broadening. There must be genuine partnership in operational terms between citizens and administrators in the conduct of public affairs.

19. Necessarily this would mean citizen control and joint endeavours in all aspects and levels of administration, be it control over ‘strut bureaucrats” or neighbourhood participation in decision-making and implementation.

20. Finally, there is evidence to demonstrate that public choices tend to coincide with general needs rather than being parochial. Importantly, research shows that citizen participation and neighbourhood control do result in breaking down the dominance of managerial definition of service that citizens need.

Given the visualisation listed thus far, it is clear that the social and cultural consequences of advanced industrial development, together with the conclusions born out of late capitalism, are dreadful enough to the western man. The yearning of the west today is to rediscover man and relevance.

The west indeed, is experiencing is series of culturally vital implosions and is said to be passing through “multiple revolutions.” So much so, dominant paradigms and controlling ideologies which ruled the roost are not only being questioned but seem to face serious threats of suppression.

If such are the possibilities, the paradigmatic and theoretical formulations are reflective of the coming new social order in the west. These, in times, to come, are most likely to get structured in the social and institutional fabric of the society.

The elements which go to make up post-positivist or anti-positivist thought, developing the post-material cultures are straight away antithetical to the contemporary needs of the Third World.

They will function as the very negation of the industrial, scientific and technological processes going on in the Third World. It is in this context of new tensions between the post-positivist, Northend positivists (if we put it that way) ‘South’, the Third World Organisational theory and practice deserve to be examined.

‘New Public Administration’ has certainly broken fresh ground and imported new substance to the discipline. In the process it has prepared an agenda for action, a part of which at least is of populist nature.

One also suspects that its advocates are trying to arrogate to themselves what really falls within the legitimate domain of political institutions, process and leadership. New Public Administration has some radical contents but these can be successfully implemented only by legislative and political will.

Even otherwise, there is a lack of skills and technologies to implement what New Public Administration visualises.

Not withstanding its limitations and weaknesses, ‘New Public Administration’ has seriously jolted the traditional concept and views of the discipline and has enriched the subject by imparting a larger perspective and by linking it closely to the society. This is no small gain. At the same time, it is unrealistic to portray New Public Administration in very heroic terms.


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