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UNIT-3 Contemporary Theoretical Perspectives Notes (PPA)


  • Public administration has undergone multidimensional changes in theoretical, practical, social, political, economic, and cultural aspects.

  • Globalization, liberalization, privatization, and advancements in technology have significantly impacted public and private sectors and their relationship.

  • The shift from traditional state models to market-oriented economies raised concerns about the effectiveness of traditional public administration.

  • In response to these changes, New Public Management (NPM) emerged as a new approach to make public organizations more effective, efficient, and economical.

  • NPM developed as a result of Structural Adjustment Programs implemented by the UK and USA governments.

  • The objective of public administration is governance, which involves both government and citizen participation in policy formulation and implementation.

  • Good governance is a relatively recent development in public administration, emphasizing transparency, accountability, inclusivity, and adherence to the rule of law.

  • Good governance expands the scope of public administration to include formal and informal aspects, aiming for openness and accountability.


1. Emergence of NPM

  • NPM originated as a response to the challenges posed by globalization and the changing dynamics of public administration.

  • It emerged during the 1980s and 1990s, primarily in Western countries, as governments sought to adapt to new technologies, societal demands, and increased competition.

2. Connection to globalization and changes in public administration

  • Globalization, liberalization, and privatization have significantly influenced public administration by altering the roles and relationships between the public and private sectors.

  • The growth of information technology, finance, communication, and markets has been attributed to the rapid growth of globalization.

3. Need for an alternative model of administration

  • The traditional model of public administration faced challenges in implementing appropriate policies and delivering effective services in the changing global context.

  • The failure of the traditional state model led to a questioning of the basic features of public administration and the need for developing an alternative model.

Salient Features of New Public Management

A. Managerial Concepts and Techniques

1. Efficiency and effectiveness in public organizations

  • NPM emphasizes the efficient and effective delivery of public services, focusing on achieving desired outcomes with limited resources.

  • It promotes managerial practices borrowed from the private sector, such as strategic planning, performance measurement, and goal-oriented approaches.

2. Emphasis on performance measurement and accountability

  • NPM emphasizes the use of performance indicators and metrics to measure the performance of public organizations and individuals.

  • It aims to enhance accountability by linking performance to rewards and consequences.

3. Results-oriented approach

  • NPM shifts the focus from bureaucratic processes to achieving tangible results and outcomes.

  • It emphasizes setting clear objectives, monitoring progress, and making adjustments based on performance data

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B. Decentralization and Devolution of Power

1. Transfer of decision-making authority to lower levels of government

  • NPM advocates for delegating decision-making power to lower levels of government and public agencies.

  • It promotes the idea of local autonomy and responsiveness to the specific needs and preferences of citizens.

2. Increased autonomy for public agencies and managers

  • NPM grants greater discretion and autonomy to public managers to make decisions and manage resources efficiently.

  • It aims to empower managers to respond quickly to changing circumstances and make decisions based on local knowledge and expertise.

C. Market-oriented Reforms

1. Introduction of market mechanisms in public service delivery

  • NPM incorporates market principles into the provision of public services, aiming to introduce competition, choice, and efficiency.

  • It encourages the use of market-like mechanisms such as contracting out, public-private partnerships, and user fees.

2. Privatization and contracting out of services

  • NPM promotes the transfer of public services and functions to the private sector through privatization and contracting out.

  • It seeks to leverage the efficiency and innovation potential of the private sector while maintaining accountability and quality standards.

D. Characteristics of New Public Management

A. Customer Orientation

1. Focus on meeting the needs and preferences of citizens

  • NPM emphasizes a customer-centric approach, where public organizations prioritize understanding and meeting the expectations of citizens.

  • It aims to enhance public satisfaction and responsiveness to public demands.

B. Entrepreneurial Mindset

1. Encouragement of innovation and risk-taking in public organizations

  • NPM promotes an entrepreneurial mindset within public organizations, fostering a culture of innovation, creativity, and risk-taking.

  • It encourages public managers to explore new approaches, experiment with alternative solutions, and embrace change.


The New Public Management has three theoretical bases:

1. New Rights Philosophy

  • The New Rights Philosophy is rooted in the ideas of political philosophy and emphasizes individual rights, market-oriented solutions, and limited government intervention.

  • It argues for the application of principles from private sector management to the public sector, emphasizing individual choice, competition, and the protection of individual rights in public service delivery.

  • This perspective promotes the idea that citizens are customers and should have the freedom to choose among competing service providers, creating a consumer-driven approach in public administration.

2. Public Choice Approach

  • The Public Choice Approach applies economic theories and principles to the study of political decision-making processes.

  • It focuses on the rational behavior of individual actors, such as politicians, bureaucrats, and citizens, who pursue their self-interests in decision-making.

  • Public Choice Theory suggests that individuals act in response to incentives, seeking to maximize their own utility or well-being.

  • In the context of NPM, the Public Choice Approach informs the emphasis on efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and the introduction of market mechanisms in public administration to align incentives and promote better outcomes

3. Neo-Taylorism

  • Neo-Taylorism refers to the adaptation and application of Frederick Taylor's principles of scientific management to the public sector.

  • Taylor's approach sought to optimize work processes, standardize tasks, and enhance efficiency through detailed task analysis and division of labor.

  • In the context of NPM, Neo-Taylorism promotes the use of performance management systems, performance measurement, and goal setting to increase productivity and accountability.

  • It emphasizes the application of management techniques and practices borrowed from the private sector to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of public organizations.

These three theoretical bases collectively inform the principles and strategies of NPM, emphasizing market-oriented reforms, individual choice, efficiency, and performance measurement in the public sector.

New Public Service in Public Administration

  • New Public Service is a concept that emerged as a response to the limitations and criticisms of New Public Management (NPM).

  • It represents a shift towards a more citizen-centered and values-driven approach in public administration.

  • The emergence of NPS can be attributed to a growing recognition of the need to address changing societal needs, increasing demands for accountability, and the desire to restore public trust in government.

  • It reflects a broader shift towards a more participatory and collaborative form of governance.

Principles of New Public Service

1.Citizenship and Democracy

  • Citizen engagement and participation: NPS recognizes that citizens are not mere recipients of public services but active participants in decision-making processes. It promotes mechanisms such as public consultations, citizen panels, and participatory budgeting to involve citizens in shaping policies and services.

  • Promotion of democratic values and principles: NPS upholds the principles of transparency, accountability, and the rule of law. It ensures that decision-making processes are accessible, decisions are justified, and actions are consistent with democratic norms and values.

2. Public Value and Common Good

  • Focus on public interest and collective outcomes: NPS places a strong emphasis on achieving public value, which goes beyond measuring success solely in terms of efficiency and cost-effectiveness. It considers the broader societal impacts and outcomes that contribute to the common good.

  • Balancing diverse stakeholder interests: NPS acknowledges the existence of multiple stakeholders with varying interests and seeks to strike a balance among them. It recognizes the need to engage stakeholders, build consensus, and make decisions that consider the long-term well-being of society.

3. Ethical Leadership and Public Trust

  • Upholding ethical standards and integrity: NPS places a high value on ethical conduct and integrity in public administration. It expects public servants to adhere to professional codes of conduct, avoid conflicts of interest, and act in the best interests of the public.

  • Building and maintaining public trust and confidence: NPS recognizes the importance of public trust as a foundation for effective governance. It seeks to build trust through transparent decision-making processes, open communication, and responsive service delivery.

4. Collaborative Governance and Networks

  • Emphasis on collaboration and partnerships: NPS promotes collaboration among government agencies, civil society organizations, businesses, and other stakeholders. It recognizes that complex public problems require collective efforts and encourages joint problem-solving and shared responsibilities.

  • Networking and coordination among stakeholders: NPS emphasizes the need for effective networking and coordination mechanisms to foster information sharing, resource pooling, and joint decision-making. It encourages the formation of networks and partnerships to address interdependent challenges.

5. Equitable and Inclusive Service Delivery

  • Ensuring fair and equitable access to services: NPS aims to ensure that public services are accessible to all citizens, regardless of their socio-economic background, geographic location, or demographic characteristics. It seeks to eliminate barriers and provide equal opportunities for service access.

  • Addressing social and economic disparities: NPS acknowledges the existence of social and economic inequalities and aims to address them through targeted interventions and inclusive policies. It strives to reduce disparities in service delivery and promote social justice.

6. Capacity Building and Learning

  • Continuous learning and professional development: NPS recognizes the importance of investing in the professional development of public servants. It encourages a culture of continuous learning, skill enhancement, and knowledge sharing to adapt to changing needs and improve service delivery.

  • Building organizational capacity for innovation and adaptation: NPS promotes a culture of innovation, experimentation, and organizational learning. It encourages public organizations to be adaptive, responsive, and capable of embracing new technologies, practices, and approaches to improve effectiveness and efficiency.

Implementation of New Public Service Principles

The implementation of NPS principles requires various reforms and strategies in public administration, including:

1. Reforms in organizational structures and processes

  • Redesigning organizational structures to facilitate collaboration, flexibility, and responsiveness.

  • Streamlining bureaucratic processes and decision-making to promote efficiency and reduce red tape.

  • Introducing performance management systems that focus on outcomes, public value, and citizen satisfaction.

2. Human resource management and development

  • Emphasizing the recruitment, selection, and retention of public servants who embody the values and principles of NPS.

  • Providing training and development opportunities to enhance skills, competencies, and leadership capabilities.

  • Encouraging a culture of innovation, creativity, and learning within public organizations.

3. Redefining performance measurement and evaluation

  • Shifting from a narrow focus on outputs and efficiency to a broader assessment of outcomes, public value, and societal impacts.

  • Developing performance measurement frameworks that incorporate qualitative and quantitative indicators aligned with NPS principles.

  • Implementing regular evaluations to assess the effectiveness, efficiency, and equity of public services and programs.

4. Enhancing transparency and accountability mechanisms

  • Strengthening mechanisms for public disclosure of information, decision-making processes, and financial management.

  • Establishing independent oversight bodies and accountability mechanisms to ensure ethical conduct and prevent corruption.

  • Encouraging citizen feedback and complaint mechanisms to hold public servants and organizations accountable.

5. Embracing technology and innovation for service delivery

  • Utilizing digital technologies to enhance accessibility, efficiency, and responsiveness in service delivery.

  • Exploring innovative approaches such as e-governance, open data initiatives, and digital platforms for citizen engagement.

  • Leveraging data analytics and evidence-based decision-making to improve service design and resource allocation.

6. Engaging citizens and stakeholders in decision-making

  • Promoting participatory approaches through public consultations, citizen advisory panels, and participatory budgeting processes.

  • Engaging civil society organizations, community groups, and businesses in collaborative governance and co-production of services.

  • Ensuring transparency, accessibility, and inclusiveness in decision-making processes to foster trust and legitimacy.

Benefits and Challenges of New Public Service

1. Benefits

  • Enhanced public trust and legitimacy: NPS can help rebuild public trust by emphasizing transparency, accountability, and citizen participation.

  • Improved service quality and responsiveness: By focusing on public value and citizen needs, NPS can lead to more responsive and citizen-centric services.

  • Strengthened democratic governance: NPS promotes democratic values, citizen engagement, and inclusive decision-making, contributing to more democratic and accountable governance.

2. Challenges

  • Balancing competing interests and demands: NPS requires navigating diverse stakeholder interests, which can be challenging and may involve trade-offs.

  • Institutional barriers and resistance to change: Implementing NPS principles may face resistance from bureaucratic structures, entrenched practices, and resistance to organizational change.

  • Ensuring sustainability and long-term impact: Sustaining the principles of NPS over time and achieving lasting impacts may require ongoing commitment, resource allocation, and continuous adaptation.

Examples of New Public Service Initiatives

1. Citizen participation and co-production of services

  • Participatory budgeting initiatives that involve citizens in decision-making on public resource allocation.

  • Co-production of services where citizens are involved in the design, delivery, and evaluation of public services.

2. Collaborative governance models and networks

  • Multi-stakeholder partnerships to address complex societal challenges such as climate change or urban revitalization.

  • Collaborative decision-making forums where government agencies, civil society organizations, and community representatives work together.

3. Social equity and inclusion programs

  • Targeted interventions to address social disparities, such as affirmative action policies or programs for marginalized communities.

  • Inclusive service delivery models that consider the needs of diverse populations and ensure equal access.

4. Ethical leadership and transparency initiatives

  • Codes of conduct and ethics training programs for public servants to foster ethical behavior and integrity.

  • Open data initiatives and transparency measures to provide access to information and promote accountability.


The difference between New Public Management (NPM) and New Public Policy (NPP) lies in their focus and objectives within the field of public administration. Here are the key distinctions:

1. Focus

  • NPM: NPM primarily focuses on improving the efficiency and effectiveness of public sector management through managerial and market-oriented approaches. It emphasizes principles borrowed from the private sector, such as performance measurement, results-oriented management, and cost-effectiveness.

  • NPP: NPP focuses on the development and implementation of public policies that address societal problems and meet public needs. It emphasizes policy analysis, decision-making processes, and the evaluation of policy outcomes.

2. Objectives

  • NPM: The main objective of NPM is to reform public administration and improve service delivery by adopting private sector practices, such as decentralization, performance-based contracting, and customer orientation. It aims to enhance the efficiency, productivity, and accountability of public organizations.

  • NPP: The objective of NPP is to formulate and implement policies that address public concerns, solve societal problems, and achieve desired outcomes. It focuses on policy formulation, analysis, implementation, and evaluation to ensure effective governance and societal well-being.

3. Approach

  • NPM: NPM takes a managerial approach, emphasizing efficiency, competition, and the use of market mechanisms to drive performance and productivity in the public sector. It emphasizes the importance of organizational restructuring, performance measurement, and the use of incentives to improve public service delivery.

  • NPP: NPP takes a policy-oriented approach, focusing on the formulation, analysis, and implementation of public policies. It emphasizes the use of evidence-based decision-making, policy evaluation, and stakeholder engagement to address complex societal issues and achieve desired policy outcomes.

4. Emphasis

  • NPM: NPM places a strong emphasis on management techniques, organizational restructuring, and market-driven approaches to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of public administration. It seeks to improve the internal functioning of public organizations and promote a results-oriented culture.

  • NPP: NPP places a strong emphasis on policy analysis, formulation, and implementation processes. It seeks to address public problems and meet societal needs through evidence-based policy-making, stakeholder engagement, and policy evaluation.

In summary, NPM focuses on improving public sector management through managerial and market-oriented approaches, while NPP focuses on policy formulation, analysis, and implementation to address societal problems and achieve desired outcomes. While there may be some overlap in their objectives and approaches, the primary focus and emphasis of each concept differ within the field of public administration.


Concept of Good Governance

  • Good governance refers to the way in which power is exercised in the management of a country's economic, social, and political resources.

  • It involves the processes and institutions through which decisions are made, implemented, and monitored, and aims to ensure accountability, transparency, responsiveness, rule of law, and inclusiveness in governance practices.

Emergence of Good Governance

  • The concept of good governance gained prominence in the late 20th century as a response to the challenges faced by governments around the world.

  • It emerged due to the recognition that effective governance is crucial for sustainable development, social progress, and political stability.

  • International organizations, governments, and civil society began emphasizing the need for governance reforms to promote transparency, accountability, and citizen participation.

Characteristics of Good Governance

  1. Participation: Good governance encourages broad-based participation of citizens, civil society organizations, and stakeholders in decision-making processes. It ensures inclusiveness, representation, and the engagement of all segments of society.

  2. Rule of Law: It upholds the principle that all individuals and institutions are subject to and accountable to the law. Good governance promotes legal frameworks, impartial judiciary, and protection of human rights.

  3. Transparency: Good governance promotes openness and transparency in decision-making processes, public administration, and financial transactions. It involves access to information, public disclosure, and accountability mechanisms.

  4. Accountability: It establishes mechanisms to hold public officials and institutions accountable for their actions, decisions, and use of resources. Good governance ensures that those in power are answerable to the public and responsible for their conduct.

  5. Responsiveness: Good governance is responsive to the needs, concerns, and aspirations of the public. It ensures that policies and services are designed to address societal needs and expectations.

  6. Effectiveness and Efficiency: Good governance aims to achieve results and provide public services in an effective, efficient, and timely manner. It emphasizes sound management practices, performance measurement, and resource optimization.

  7. Equity and Inclusiveness: Good governance promotes fairness, social justice, and equal opportunities for all members of society. It addresses the needs of marginalized and vulnerable groups and ensures their inclusion in decision-making processes.

Significance of Good Governance

  1. Development and Economic Growth: Good governance is essential for sustainable development and economic growth. It provides a conducive environment for investment, innovation, and business development, fostering economic prosperity.

  2. Democracy and Political Stability: Good governance strengthens democratic institutions, processes, and values. It promotes political stability, citizen participation, and trust in government, contributing to the consolidation of democratic systems.

  3. Transparency and Accountability: Good governance reduces corruption, mismanagement, and abuse of power. It enhances transparency in public administration, financial transactions, and decision-making, fostering public trust and confidence.

  4. Social Justice and Inclusiveness: Good governance ensures equal access to public services, opportunities, and resources for all members of society. It addresses social disparities, promotes social cohesion, and protects the rights of marginalized and vulnerable groups.

Overall, good governance is crucial for the well-being of societies, the effective functioning of public institutions, and the advancement of democratic values. It sets the foundation for accountable and inclusive governance, promotes citizen participation, and contributes to sustainable development and social progress.


Concept of Collaborative Governance

Collaborative governance refers to the process of engaging multiple stakeholders, including government agencies, non-profit organizations, businesses, and community members, in decision-making and problem-solving processes. It emphasizes cooperation, shared decision-making, and collective action to address complex public issues. Collaborative governance aims to foster trust, build relationships, and leverage the diverse expertise and resources of stakeholders to achieve common goals.

Advantages of Collaborative Governance in Public Administration

  1. Enhanced Problem-Solving: Collaborative governance brings together a diverse range of perspectives, knowledge, and resources, enabling more comprehensive and innovative problem-solving. It facilitates the identification of creative solutions that take into account the interests and needs of various stakeholders.

  2. Increased Stakeholder Ownership: By involving stakeholders in decision-making processes, collaborative governance fosters a sense of ownership and responsibility among participants. This leads to increased commitment and support for the outcomes and decisions made, enhancing implementation and sustainability.

  3. Improved Trust and Relationships: Collaborative governance builds trust among stakeholders by promoting open and transparent communication, mutual understanding, and respect for different viewpoints. It helps establish and strengthen relationships, which are crucial for effective collaboration and long-term cooperation.

  4. Enhanced Resource Efficiency: Collaboration allows for the pooling of resources, expertise, and knowledge from different stakeholders. This can lead to more efficient use of resources and reduce duplication of efforts, resulting in cost savings and improved effectiveness in public administration.

  5. Inclusive Decision-Making: Collaborative governance ensures the inclusion of diverse stakeholders, including marginalized and underrepresented groups, in decision-making processes. It promotes democratic principles, equity, and social justice by giving voice to those who are affected by decisions and policies.

Disadvantages of Collaborative Governance in Public Administration

  1. Time-Consuming Process: Collaborative governance requires time and effort to engage stakeholders, build relationships, and reach consensus. The decision-making process may be slower compared to more centralized approaches, leading to delays in policy implementation.

  2. Power Imbalances: Power imbalances among stakeholders can undermine the effectiveness of collaborative governance. Dominant stakeholders may exert disproportionate influence or exploit their positions, marginalizing the interests of less powerful or marginalized groups.

  3. Lack of Accountability: In collaborative governance, decision-making is often shared among multiple stakeholders, making it challenging to assign clear accountability for outcomes. It may be difficult to identify who is responsible for specific actions or decisions, leading to a lack of transparency and accountability.

  4. Difficulty in Reaching Consensus: Collaborative governance relies on consensus-building among diverse stakeholders with varying interests and priorities. Achieving consensus can be challenging, especially when there are conflicting perspectives or interests, which may result in compromises that do not fully address the concerns of all stakeholders.

Overall, while collaborative governance offers numerous advantages such as improved problem-solving, stakeholder ownership, trust-building, and resource efficiency, it also poses challenges related to time, power dynamics, accountability, consensus-building, representation, and resource constraints. Public administrators need to carefully consider these factors when deciding to adopt collaborative governance approaches and implement strategies to mitigate potential disadvantages.


  • The concept of network governance refers to a collaborative and decentralized approach to public administration, where various actors, including government agencies, non-profit organizations, businesses, and community groups, work together in interconnected networks to address complex societal issues.

  • It involves the coordination and cooperation of multiple stakeholders to achieve common goals and outcomes.

  • In network governance, decision-making and problem-solving processes are distributed among the participating actors, rather than being solely controlled by a centralized authority.

  • The emphasis is on building relationships, trust, and shared responsibility among the network members.

  • The network structure allows for flexible and adaptive responses to emerging challenges and promotes information sharing, knowledge exchange, and learning.

Key features of network governance include

  1. Interconnectedness: Network governance recognizes that no single entity has the capacity or expertise to address complex problems alone. Instead, it focuses on building interconnected networks of diverse actors who can contribute their unique perspectives, resources, and expertise.

  2. Collaborative Decision-Making: Decision-making in network governance is a collective and participatory process, where stakeholders engage in dialogue, negotiation, and consensus-building. This collaborative approach ensures that decisions are informed by multiple viewpoints and enhances the legitimacy and acceptance of outcomes.

  3. Shared Resources and Responsibilities: Network governance promotes the sharing of resources, including financial, human, and informational resources, among network members. It also emphasizes shared responsibilities, where each actor contributes to the collective effort and is accountable for their actions.

  4. Trust and Social Capital: Trust is a crucial element in network governance, as it facilitates effective collaboration and cooperation among stakeholders. Building and maintaining trust requires open and transparent communication, mutual respect, and the establishment of social capital among network members.

  5. Flexibility and Adaptability: Network governance allows for flexibility and adaptability in responding to dynamic and complex challenges. The network structure enables quick adjustments, learning from experiences, and the incorporation of new information and insights into decision-making processes.


  • Digital governance refers to the application of principles, policies, and practices in the management and use of digital technologies by governments and public institutions.

  • It involves the effective and responsible utilization of digital tools and platforms to enhance public service delivery, transparency, accountability, citizen engagement, and overall governance processes.

  • Digital governance encompasses various aspects, including the development and implementation of digital strategies, policies, regulations, and infrastructure, as well as the protection of digital rights and data privacy.

Key elements and characteristics of digital governance include

  1. Digital Transformation: Digital governance focuses on leveraging technology to transform traditional governance processes and systems. It involves the adoption of digital tools, automation, data analytics, and emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and blockchain to enhance efficiency, effectiveness, and responsiveness.

  2. E-Government Services: Digital governance aims to provide seamless and citizen-centric e-government services. This includes online portals, digital platforms, and mobile applications that allow citizens to access public services, interact with government agencies, and participate in decision-making processes.

  1. Open Data and Transparency: Digital governance promotes the use of open data principles, making government information and data publicly accessible and usable. It enhances transparency, accountability, and public trust by providing citizens with access to government data for monitoring, analysis, and collaboration.

  2. Cybersecurity and Data Privacy: Digital governance emphasizes the protection of sensitive information, privacy, and cybersecurity. It involves the establishment of robust security measures, data protection regulations, and protocols to safeguard digital systems and the personal information of citizens.


  • The emergence of new public management marked a global reform in administration, emphasizing the role of market and reducing the state's involvement.

  • It aimed to improve the functioning of the welfare state and suggested changes in organizing and managing the public sector during the era of liberalization, privatization, and globalization.

  • The focus shifted towards better government rather than more government. Governance and good governance gained prominence, recognizing the importance of both citizens and government in policy-making and administration.

  • New Public Administration was followed by the theory of New Public Management, and subsequently, the concept of good governance gained worldwide attention.

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