Goals & Features of new Public Administration

New Public Administration emerged in the late 1960s and early 1970s as a response to the perceived shortcomings of traditional Public Administration. It came about during a period of major social upheaval and widespread distrust in government institutions. The traditional model of Public Administration was seen as overly bureaucratic, inefficient, and unresponsive to citizens’ needs. There was a call for public institutions to become more democratic, accountable, and focused on actively serving citizens rather than just running governmental processes. New Public Administration sought to transform the role of the public sector to be more socially equitable, citizen-centric, and focused on societal outcomes rather than organizational outputs.

Features of the New Public Administration

  •  Empowering citizens by making public institutions more transparent, participatory, and responsive to the public. This included efforts to democratize public administration.
  •  Providing high-quality, equitable services to citizens to meet their needs and improve their quality of life. The emphasis shifted from internal bureaucratic priorities to actively serving people.
  •  Focusing on social equity as a key priority and outcome for public institutions. Ensuring fair access and treatment for all groups in society.
  •  Adopting more collaborative and partnership-based approaches by working across sectors and with citizens directly.
  •  Applying new techniques from various social science disciplines to improve analysis and decision-making for social outcomes.
  •  Reforming organizational structures and processes to be more decentralized, flexible, innovative, and focused on results.
  •  Changing the role of public administrators from authoritative managers to facilitators and collaborators with other stakeholders.

New Public Administration represented an influential movement to reform Public Administration to be more citizen-driven, social justice-oriented, and effective at solving complex societal challenges. Its legacy continues to shape public sector management today.

Why New Public Administration?

In the United States during the Second World War, the situation of political and administrative affairs has been characterized by a weakness in the theory of the politics-administration dichotomy in the traditional public administration of the federal government. A number of nations emerged after the Second World War (became independent from the colonial era) under the title of third-world countries and became independent from the colonial era. As a result, they were faced with a number of problems such as poverty, unemployment, lack of national development, as well as backwardness. In third-world nations, the Western model of public administration (traditional managerial administration) has been unable to overcome the crises brought about by these management methods. In order to solve these problems, a new approach to public administration has been developed in order to deal with these challenges. As a result of this approach, it was called the New Public Administration.

What is new in New Public Administration

There are some important differences between New and old public administration.
Old Public Administration
●Structural and Rigid
●Focus on Principles, and maintain the status quo
●Client Oriented

New Public Administration
●Profit Oriented
●Flexible and Dynamic
●Change Oriented

Goals of New Public Administration

Frank Marini summarizes the five aspects of the new public administration under five headings: relevance, values, social equity, change, and client focus. These are explained below:

1. Relevance: A key goal of new public administration is being responsive and adapting to changing social needs. This involves emphasizing experimentation and applying concepts to real-world problems. The new public administration points out that the public sector has traditionally been a sector dedicated to efficiency and economy. It stresses that the discipline does not allow for much interaction with contemporary problems and issues, so it has become irrelevant as a result of this. In order to make this possible, meaningful studies must be conducted that are oriented toward the realities of social life.

2) Values:- Values are a core focus of the new public administration. There is an emphasis on operating ethically with accountability and transparency to serve the public interest. The new public administration rejects the value-neutral position that has been taken by those who have been promoting a management-oriented public administration for a long time. It is clear from the beginning that the study of administrative studies has a basic normative concern. It promotes the idea of being open about how the values of an organization are served through the actions of its administration.

3 . Social Equity:- In accordance with the philosophy of the new public administration, the realization of social equity should be the primary objective of public administration. To achieve social equity, public administrators need to become champions of the underprivileged sections of society in order to achieve a better quality of life for them. To make sure that the interests of the poor are protected and promoted, they should use their discretion when administering the program.

4. Change:- The concept of change is a core philosophy of new public administration. Whereas traditional public administration emphasizes hierarchy, standardization, and resistance to change, new public administration embraces evolution, adaptation, and reform. New public administration recognizes that public organizations exist in a dynamic environment. As society changes, so too must the public sector in order to remain responsive to citizens’ needs. New public administration emphasizes willingness to modify organizational structures and processes in order to improve effectiveness and efficiency.

5. Client-focused:- The new public administration has advocated a customer-focused approach to the way the public sector operates. There is a focus not only on providing goods and services to the customers but also on giving them a voice in terms of what and when they should receive these items and services. It needs administrators who are positive, proactive, and responsive, not ivory-tower and authoritarian bureaucrats.

Anti-Goals of New Public Administration

1. Anti-Positivism:- It Rejects the definition of public administration as value-free and makes public administration more flexible, receptive, and problem-solving.

2. Anti-bureaucratic and anti-hierarchical :- they call for the elimination of the strict hierarchical structure of public administration.

3. Anti-Technical:- Respects emotive creative humans and doesn’t treat them like a cog in the machine.

Criticisms of New Public Administration

New Public Administration has received some criticism and debate over its core tenets and effectiveness. Some of the key criticisms include:

  1. Limitations pointed out by academics: Some scholars have argued that New Public Administration over emphasizes citizen participation without fully considering the costs and complexities involved. It has been critiqued for lacking concrete strategies for reform and relying too heavily on rhetoric. The feasibility and scalability of involving citizens extensively have also been questioned.
  2. Concerns about efficiency and red tape: Critics contend that the focus on participation, equity, and social change comes at the expense of efficiency. The layers of participation and focus on process over outcomes are believed to create unnecessary red tape and bureaucracy. Some argue that the rights-based approach hampers pragmatic policy making.
  3. Idealistic assumptions about administrators: The view that administrators can act altruistically has been characterized as unrealistic and naive by some. It does not account for the self-interest and influence of bureaucratic politics. The degree of value change expected from administrators has been critiqued as impractical.
  4. Insufficient attention to implementation challenges: Critics point out that the New Public Administration does not adequately grapple with the complex practical difficulties involved in translating its ideas into reality. It lacks a clear implementation framework and strategy.
  5. Conflicts between politics and administration: Some argue that political interference and control over bureaucracy make it difficult to fully embrace the neutral competence-based administration envisioned by New Public Administration theorists.
  6. Measurement and accountability concerns: The focus on social equity has been argued to come at the cost of measurable performance metrics and accountability. It has been accused of lacking ways to measure outcomes and effectiveness.