New public management

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New Public Management (NPM) is a discussion and investigation of economic and political systems in various countries and their policies that aimed to modernize and render the public sector more efficient.

New Public Management is viewed as a more efficient means of attaining the same product or service; however, citizens are viewed as customers and public servers/administrators hold the title of Public Manager. Under NPM, Public Managers have incentive-based motivation and have greater discretion (as opposed to a regulated outcome per scenario, regardless of situation). NPM relies heavily on disaggregation, customer satisfaction, entrepreneurial spirit, and the "Rules of the Game.".[1] "Public Managers under the New Public Management reforms can provide a range of choices from which customers can choose, including the right to opt out of the service delivery system completely".[2]

History and Development[edit]

The first practices of New Public Management emerged in the United Kingdom under the leadership of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Playing the functional role of “policy entrepreneur,” as well as the official role of prime minister, Thatcher drove changes in public management policy in such areas as organization and methods, civil service and labor relations, expenditure planning and financial management, audit and evaluation, and procurement.

Thatcher's successor, John Major, kept public management policy on the agenda of the Conservative government, leading to the implementation of the Next Steps Initiative and the launching of the Citizens Charter Initiative, Competing for Quality, Resource Accounting and Budgeting, and the Private Finance Initiative.

In the 1980s, A term coined in the late 1980s to denote a new (or renewed) stress on the importance of management and ‘production engineering’ in public service delivery, often linked to doctrines of economic rationalism (Hood 1989, Pollitt 1993). During this timeframe, public management became an active area of policy-making in numerous other countries, notably in New Zealand, Australia, and Sweden. At the same time, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) established its Public Management Committee and Secretariat (PUMA), conferring to public management the status normally accorded more conventional domains of policy. In the 1990s, public management was a major item on President Clinton’s agenda. Early policy actions of the Clinton administration included launching the National Performance Review and signing into law the Government Performance and Results Act. At the time of this writing, there are few indications that public management issues will vanish from governmental policy agendas any time soon. A recent study showed that in Italy, municipal directors are aware of a public administration now being oriented toward new public management where they are assessed according to the results they produce.[3]

The term New Public Management (NPM) expresses the idea that the cumulative flow of policy decisions over the past twenty years has amounted to a substantial shift in the governance and management of the “state sector” in the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, Scandinavia, and North America. A benign interpretation is that these decisions have been a defensible, if imperfect, response to policy problems. Those problems as well as their solutions were formulated within the policy-making process. The agenda-setting process, in particular, has been heavily influenced by electoral commitments to improve macro- economic performance and to contain growth in the public sector, as well as by a growing perception of public bureaucracies as being inefficient. The alternative-generation process has been heavily influenced by ideas coming from economics and from various quarters within the field of management.

Differences Between Public and Private Sectors[edit]

New Public Management draws practices from the private sector and uses them in the public sector of management.

The New Public Management reforms use market forces to hold the public sector accountable and the satisfaction of preferences as the measures of accountability. In order for this system to proceed, certain conditions, such as the existence of competition, must exist and information about choices must be available.[4]

That students of public administration have failed to adequately challenge the New Public Management. I also take issue with another theme that runs, perhaps more obliquely, throughout Lynn's piece: the methodological claims and interests of the New Public Management as compared with those of the "old" public management. Here, Lynn seems to suggest that, due to a tradition of being "unduly careless,"not only the New Public Management but the broader field of public administration itself "seems to have let lapse [its] moral and intellectual authority."[5]

Reforms that promise to reinvent government by way of focusing on results and customer satisfaction as opposed to administrative and political processes fail to account for legislative self-interest. Institutions other than federal government, the changes being trumpeted as reinvention would not even be announced, except perhaps on hallway bulletin boards.



There are blurred lines between Policy Making and Rendering Services in the New Public Management system as well as whether or not they can be trusted to be involved politically. Public managers are involved with how to progress policies, but now what the public needs. NPM brings to question integrity and compliance when dealing with incentives for public managers. Will managers be more or less faithful? The public interest is at risk and could undermine the trust in government. How can we ensure accountability?[6]

New Zealand exemplifies a functional New Public Management system because of its academically rigorous analysis; however, to prove this is functional, there needs to be more than one country operating smoothly. Some difficulty surrounding the discussion and experimentation of New Public Management is managing the analysis.

Dunleavy believes New Public Management is phasing out because of disconnect with “customers” and their institutions. New Public Management was created in the Public Sector to create change based on: disaggregation, competition, and incentives. Using incentives to produce the maximum services from an organization is largely stalled in many countries and being reversed because of increased complexity.[7]


Post New Public Management evolves the Digital Era Governance (DEG). Dunleavy believes this new way of governance should be heavily centered upon information and technology.[8] Technology will help re-integrate with digitalization changes. Digital Era Governance provides a unique opportunity for self- sustenance; however, there are various factors that will determine whether or not DEG can be implemented successfully.

Comparisons to New Public Administration[edit]

New Public Management is often compared to and wrongly connected to New Public Administration. The ‘New Public Administration’ movement was one established in the USA during the late 1960s and early 1970s. But though there may have been some common features, the central themes of the two movements were different. The main thrust of the New Public Administration movement was to bring academic public administration into line with a radical egalitarian agenda that was influential in US university campuses at that time. By contrast, the emphasis of the New Public Management movement a decade or so later was firmly managerial in the sense that it stressed the difference management could and should make to the quality and efficiency of public services. Its focus on public service production functions and operational issues contrasted with the focus on public accountability, ‘model employer’ public service values, ‘due process,’ and what happens inside public organizations in conventional public administration. That meant New Public Management doctrines tended to be opposed to egalitarian ideas of managing without managers, juridical doctrines of rigidly rule-bound administration and doctrines of self-government by public-service professionals like teachers and doctors.

Further reading[edit]

  • Andrews, Rhys and Steven Van de Walle (2013). ″New Public Management and Citizens' Perceptions of Local Service Efficiency, Responsiveness, Equity and Effectiveness.″ Public Management Review. Retrieved March 9, 2015.
  • Daft, R., & Marcic, D. (2014). Building management skills: An action-first approach. South-Western Cengage Learning.
  • Eckerd, Adam; Heidelberg, Roy L. (YEAR). “Public Incentives, Market Motivations, and Contaminated Properties: New Public Management and Brownfield Liability Reform.” Public Administration Review. Retrieved March 10, 2015.
  • Gruening, G. (n.d.). Origin and theoretical basis of new public management. International Public Management Journal.
  • Holland, Kelley. ″Under New Management: How Office Politics and Real Politics Can Mix.″ New York Times, 8 Oct. 2006. Web. 9 March 2015.
  • Horton, Sylvia, ed. New Public Management: Its Impact on Public Servants' Identity. Bradford, 2006. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 9 March 2015.
  • Jouke de Vries.”Is New Public Management Dead” OECD, June 2013. Web. 10 March 2015.
  • Lane, Jan-Erik. New Public Management. London, 2000. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 9 March 2015.
  • Morales Casetti, M. (2014). New Public Management in Chile: Origins and Effects. Revista de Ciencia Politica, 417-438.
  • Navarra, Diego D.; Cornford, Tony. “The State and Democracy After New Public Management: Exploring Alternative Models of E-Governance.” Information Society. Vol. 28 Issue 1 (Jan/Feb2012) p37-45. 9p. 1 Chart. DOI: 10.1080/01972243.2012.632264. Web. 10 March 2015.
  • Raes, Koen.” Ethics & Accountability in a Context of Governance & New Public Management.” Vol. 7, (1998) p197-206. 10p. 1 Chart. Web. 10 March 2015.
  • Riccucci, N. M. (2001, March). The "Old" Public Management versus the "New" Public Management: Where doe Public Administration Fit in? Public Administration Review, 61(2), 172-175. Retrieved from jstor.
  • Schachter, Hindy.”New Public Management and Principals' Roles in Organizational Governance: What Can a Corporate Issue Tell us About Public Sector Management?” Public Organization Review. Vol. 14 Issue 4, (Dec 2014) p517-531. Web. 10 March 2015.
  • Smith, D. (2014). Under New Public Management: Institutional Ethnographies of Changing Front-line Work. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
  • Vermeulen, Philippe. “Ethics & Accountability in a Context of Governance & New Public Management.” Vol. 7, (1998) p171-188. 18p. 2 Diagrams, 1 Chart. Web. 10 March 2015.
  • Williams, Helen M., Julie Rayner, and Christopher W. Allinson. ″New Public Management and Organisational Commitment in the Public Sector: Testing a Mediation Model.″ International Journal of Human Resource Management 23.13 (2012): 2615-2629. EBSCOhost. Web. 9 March 2015.


  1. ^ Barzelay (2001). The New Public Management: Improving Research and Policy Dialogue. Russell Sage Foundation. 
  2. ^ Kaboolian, Linda (1998). The New Public Management: Challenging the Boundaries of the Management vs. Administration Debate. Public Administration Review. 
  3. ^ Marozzi, Marco; Bolzan, Mario (2015). "Skills and training requirements of municipal directors: A statistical assessment". Quality and Quantity. doi:10.1007/s11135-015-0192-2. 
  4. ^ Kaboolian, Linda (1998). The New Public Management: Challenging the Boundaries of the Management vs. Administration Debate. Public Administration Review. 
  5. ^ Lynn, Laurence (2006). New Public Management. Routledge. 
  6. ^ Barzelay (2001). The New Public Management: Improving Research and Policy Dialogue. Russell Sage Foundation. 
  7. ^ Dunleavy (2005). New Public Management Is Dead--Long Live Digital-Era Governance. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory. 
  8. ^ Dunleavy (2005). New Public Management Is Dead--Long Live Digital-Era Governance. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory.