This paper discusses the future of public management with regard to the changes that have taken place in public administration in the modern era. Factors, such as evolution of technology and globalization have influenced various aspects in public administration, for example, the demands of the people. In the modern world, the citizens perceive access to government information as a way of showing its commitment to democratic transparency. It is the duty of the administrators to meet the changing demands of the public. This explains the necessity of having a flexible system of administration in the public that accommodates the changing demands of people. The future of public management must consider the values that the public perceives as important to its satisfaction with government services. Although the values may be considered as non-mission based, they are linked to public satisfaction. The paper highlights various features that characterize the future of public administration and discuss the reasons why any government should consider implementing the same in the current public administration system.
The Future of Public Management
The evolution of technology over the years has affected almost all aspects of life in the modern world including public administration. The process of formulation and implementation of public policies as well as preparing individuals to serve as civil servants is the main concern of public administration. It entails advancing management of public entities to make the government more efficient in offering its services to the citizens. Every government is obliged to ensure that the citizens have access to basic facilities, such as learning institutions, hospitals, clean water, and good infrastructure. In most cases, it is not possible to provide free essential amenities to the citizens depending on the level of a nation’s economic growth and development. However, this does not imply that the government whose countries are economically challenged should not provide the basic amenities.
The government should ensure that the citizens have access to affordable social amenities for their welfare to be enhanced. Provision of these services requires implementation of sound public policies to ensure equality in the distribution of national resources. Failure to implement sound public administration policies leads to widened gap between the wealthy and the poor as the case in most developing economies. Economic inequality in a nation drags its development due to the rise in crime rates and school dropout. Education is among the key factors that promote sustainable development of a nation thus it is important for governments to ensure equality in distribution of national resources. With sound public administration policies, it is possible to determine the appropriate portions to allocate to different populations in an economy.
The complexity of public administration and the need to have the public resources under control led to the emergence of public management policy. This is a sub-field of public administration that evaluates policies in both public and private sectors to come up with a system that enhances public administration. The public management concept emphasizes on the activities that enhance performance of the public and semi -public institutions, such as human resources policies and management styles. Public performance is a vital component of public management as it determines the ways through which value creation in the public sector is achieved. Focusing on public management in public administration is, therefore, a way that can guarantee sanity in the public governance. With the current pace at which technology is evolving, it is necessary for the policies affecting the public to be reviewed to meet the changing trends in public administration. This paper discusses the future of public management in response to the changing trends in the social, political, economic, and technological environments.
One of the essential aspects of public management is public performance that is concerned with the control and management of performance of the public sector. The sector is entitled to provide basic goods and services that are directly related to a nation’s economic growth and development, such as education and good infrastructure. The measurement and control of performance in the public sector is important in ensuring that the citizens only get quality goods and services from the public and semi- public sectors. It entails establishing the legitimacy of activities to make public administration an easier task. In public management, administration of public resources is viewed as a business where the public servants are the service providers while the public is the client. Satisfaction of these clients is among the primary priorities of public management (Perry, Hondeghem & Wise, 2010). The other focus is the effectiveness of organizations and the individuals offering labor in the entities. The input of every employee is important in the public sector and this includes the managerial team. Leadership in public administration is among the factors that can influence the satisfaction of public in the goods and services offered. The managerial styles applied in running the public sector determine the ability of the service providers to be creative and innovative, and this ultimately affects the success of an organization. The professionalism and discretion of the employees are also important in enhancing public performance. The public performance concept also emphasizes on enhancing satisfaction of the clients or the public and the employees.
Measuring the public performance is a concept in public management that determines the extent to which a public entity is likely to meet its set objectives. The services offered to the public, such as provision of health care services at a subsidized cost are essential, thus there is need to ensure that quality is guaranteed. Performance measurement in the public sector has many advantages that justify its worth. Through the activity, the employees in the public service are able to understand the expectations of their work (Hughes, 2012). Their performance is gauged by the ability to meet the set objectives, which are explained to them more during the performance measurement. It is also possible to identify the areas where the employees are underperforming and offer the necessary training. Performance measurement enables the employees to see the bigger picture of the public administration objectives, thus making public management easier. The variables used in measuring performance are helpful as they act as indicators of accountability of the public sector.
Performance measurement is important in public management as it helps in identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the system and identification of the best way to improve the situation. With the goals and performance being closely aligned, it is easier for the administrators to identify the areas that need improvement and the ones that need to be supported further. Allocation of public resources is also possible through the results of performance measurement. After the causes of underperformance of public sector are identified, it is possible to determine the portion of national resources that should be allocated to specific areas. Through performance measurement, it is also easier to benchmark various departments of public administration by comparing their performance. Benchmarking is important as it may help in improving the efficiency of the teams as well as reduce the amount of expenses incurred in offering goods and services to the public. Although measuring performance in the public sector has had a number of challenges in the past two decades, its ability to enhance accountability and efficiency in the public sector is worthwhile.
Measuring public performance enables the administrators to control the performance. This entails defining the procedures and policies used in ensuring the programs initiated by the government meet the expected results. The resources used in executing public administration are also monitored to ensure that they correspond to the intended objectives. Performance control is important in ensuring that the public resources are protected from fraud, mismanagement, and other corrupt deals that may cripple public administration. Matching the resources with intended objectives makes it easy for the administrators to determine the areas where the resources are directed to other areas and this enhances accountability in the public sector. The administrators are less likely to be involved in corruption when they know that they will eventually be answerable to the authorities for misuse of public funds. Performance control also enhances decision-making process in public administration since it provides timely and accurate data on the impact of resource allocation in various sectors.
Although performance controls do not guarantee total absence of fraud and mismanagement of public funds, it is a way of monitoring the risks associated with government policies and programs. One of the roles of public management is to review the policies put in place for public administration, but this cannot be possible without the performance measurement and controls (Hughes, 2012). The performance controls also ensure that the public activities are carried out according to the legal framework within a particular region. The evolution of information technology in the modern era has made the task of performance control easier but there are challenges that come with that. However, the drawbacks of the system are fewer compared to the efficiency that results from the use of information technology in performance measurement and control. The future of public management is dependent on the extent to which the public performance is enhanced. Identifying the factors that influence public performance is important as it allows the authorities to revise the existing policies that may affect public performance negatively.
Performance Management and Democratic Performance
The evolution of information technology, globalization, and change in political state of the nations are among the factors that have led to a shift in public management and administration. The future of public administration lies in the ability of the current administrators to change the priorities of the government. Performance management has been useful over the years leading to revolutions in the public sector but the changes in public administration and management necessitate a change of the concept to one that accommodates the needs of the public. While building performance regimes in the performance management is important, the administrators must consider the consequences of such actions. The clients of public administration had little faith in the administrators at the beginning of the twenty- first century but the situation has changed. The introduction of performance management in the public sector restored the lost confidence of the public in the administrators. This is because performance management emphasized on factors, such as efficiency and accountability that are important in public administration. Government policies that support accountability and reduction of inefficiency in the public sector contribute to economic growth of the nation by reducing the gap between the wealthy and the poor.
Performance management was introduced in the public sector to shift the nature of governance from an inefficient system to one that promotes equality. It aimed at changing the culture and behavior of the administrators to enhance efficiency in the public sector. The use of performance management in enhancing public management is crucial in ensuring that the resources are only used for the intended activities. Providing public services involves a lot of funds and this may give way for the corrupt administrators to embezzle public funds (Poister, 2010). Although performance management has had major contributions towards public management, it has had some challenges that necessitate a shift to another form of public management concepts in the future. The data collected in performance management may be used positively for the benefit of the public or negatively for the benefit of the administrators. Even with the current use of information technology in public administration, corrupt administrators can alter the data obtained to favor them. For instance, the misuse of performance targets may lead to lose of motivation for the employees and this affects the overall satisfaction of the public. In other instances, the administrators may use the information gathered from the performance management to award the employees on favoritism instead of merit. Although performance management has led to efficiencies in the public administration, it has also excluded values, such as transparency, due process, and social equity. The values are important in public management. This forms the basis of the revision of the current policies and procedures thus making public governance and administration more efficient.
The future of public management is defined by the shift of public administration from public performance to governance through democratic performance. Some of the drawbacks of public performance, such as misuse of data collected can be reduced by the use of democratic public performance. Critics of the public performance concept in public management cite that the efficiency of the concept is negatively affected by the fact that it places more emphasis on market principles and ignores other important aspects of leadership, such as democratic governance. The separation of governance techniques in both the private and the public sector makes it hard to determine the accountability of the sectors. Measuring public performance is irrelevant unless the information obtained is applied to improve the situation of the public. The performance management is viewed as a narrow method that may not be effective in solving public problems thus creating the need for the democratic performance strategy that views public issues from a broader sense. There is a need to develop approaches that respond to the complexity of public networks in the modern era as well as the governance of public policies. Performance management may be viewed as a structure that enhances efficiency in the public sector, but the future of public management depends on both a structure and a process that manages public administration. This makes democratic public performance useful in the public management.
Democratic public performance comprises structures, such as the communities, markets, and networks that work to ensure that the public is satisfied with the goods and services offered by the government. Each of the structures in the governance system is concerned with the ways that the problems faced by the society can be addressed and how to provide direction to the public. This makes democratic performance superior to the performance management that has been there in the past. It is a significant method of solving the modern issues facing the delivery of public services due to its comprehensive nature and the fact that it embraces policymaking.
Changing the strategy used in performance management is an important aspect in determining the future of public management. The targets set in the performance management ought to be changed from a single organization to multi-organizational setting. This implies that the public performance should be assessed on the basis of how a whole sector of the public performs rather than the performance of individual industries within the sector. For instance, in determining whether the public is satisfied with the health care services provided by the government, it is important to evaluate the performance of all the health care facilities in the country for a conclusive decision. Considering the performance of a few hospitals may lead to inaccurate results (Borins, 2002). The information gathered in performance management is important in determining whether the current policies meet the expected objectives. The change in public administration, such as globalization has led to the emergence of international interests in public management thus a system that does not accommodate this may not be efficient. Democratic performance governance emphasizes on a thorough evaluation of a policy before it is used in public administration. This is an important aspect of public management as it enhances understanding of public policies before they become applicable to the public. It also helps in explaining the reasons that make certain policies effective while others have undesirable outcomes.
Globalization and evolution of information technology have led to a change in the behavior and culture of the public, which may affect their satisfaction with public services. Through democratic performance governance, it is possible to assess the inter-organizational and social networks that shape the beliefs of the society to provide them with better services. Satisfaction of the public is among the core tenets on which the concept of public management is found. For the public services to be declared satisfactory, there must be a process of performance measurement and control carried out across a long duration of about five to ten years. This allows for the amendments to be made and the outcome for the same to be obtained. The democratic performance enables the administrators to replace the rigid methods of administration with more flexible ones that are needed in the modern era. The pace that the world is changing in terms of technology and networking of organizations requires a public management system that accommodates the changes that may arise. The flexibility of the public system allows the administrators to appropriately implement the alternative policies if a need arises.
Implementing Non-Mission based Values into the System
The other feature that characterizes the future of public management is the incorporation of values that are not mission-based into public administration. The ability to incorporate mission-based values in offering goods and services to the public is important as it enhances accountability. Over the decades, the federal courts and the Congress have pushed the government to see that the public administration in the country upholds values, such as transparency, individuals’ rights, and representation. These are constitutional values that are regarded as non-mission as they are not specific to the accomplishment of any mission. The future of public management lies in the ability of the administrators to incorporate the values that may be viewed as intrinsically non-mission based (Poister, 2010). Public management in the modern era is not just a system of ensuring that public administration is carried out effectively, but it also ensures that the public is protected from all forms of unfairness.
One of the ways through which the non-mission based values can be incorporated in the system is by allowing freedom of information. This implies that the future of public management depends on the extent to which the public can access information it needs about public administration. Accountability in the public system is enhanced through the provision of information to the public on the amount of resources available for the public use and the allocation of the same to the public. Evolution of information technology in the modern world makes the provision of information to the public easy since there are many mediums through which the public can access information. Values, such as transparency and representation that are considered intrinsically non-mission are important in promoting public satisfaction with the government services. Providing information to the public allows them to determine whether the government is committed to providing public service. The current system of public management emphasizes on a result-oriented administration, which may lead to the lack of information by the public. The administrators may be too busy running their work and forget to honor their duty of providing information to the public. Although the provision of information to the public may be considered non-mission based, it is an important aspect in enhancing public satisfaction. Focusing too much on the results of public administration may reduce the commitment of the administrators in ensuring the constitutional values of the public.
The future of public management lies in the ability of the administrators to prioritize the values that are not central to achieving the mission of the public organizations, yet very important in enhancing public satisfaction. The employees in the public sector need to be informed about the significance of values, such as equity, due process, and integrity that may be considered as non-mission. The values may not be central in achieving organizational goals, but they are important aspects that determine satisfaction of the public. The rules, laws, policies, and regulations, associated with these values should be part of the jobs that these public servants do to ensure efficiency in their work. Transparency is one the values that are perceived to be non-mission based but it is central to achieving satisfaction in the public sector. The ability of the public to access information on government activities is considered an important concern for the citizens who attribute it to transparency. The lack of access to such information is attributed to vices, such as corruption, being unethical, and unaccountable, and this leads to dissatisfaction of the public with the government services. Democratic accountability requires that the government must be transparent by making its activities public, but this is overlooked in most cases. When the government information is readily available to the public, it is easier for the inefficient administrators to be held accountable because the public is able to engage more with the government.
The Issue of Social Equity in Public Administration
The other factor that characterizes the future of public management is the ability of the administrators to ensure social equity in public administration. Ensuring social equity in the public entails implementing policies that promote fairness in terms of allocation of national resources. Among the factors that lead to high crime rates and illiteracy in a country is the inequality in distribution of national resources (Hughes, 2012). The poor population gets poorer while the wealthy gets wealthier. This tempts the poor population to engage in criminal activities as they look for means of providing their necessities. Over the decades, governments have strived to see that the issue of social equity in public administration is addressed. Policies that govern issues, such as civil rights and racial equality are meant to ensure that social justice is achieved in the public. Social equity is concerned with ensuring that all the institutions that provide public services are fair and just to everyone and not just a particular part of the population. Social equity also focuses on the nature of the policies implemented in public administration. The most desirable policies are ones that promote justice, fairness, and equity as they consider the interests of the public.
Globalization in the modern world has increased the number of interracial populations. There are intermarriages between people from different races and immigration due to factors, such as labor mobility. The increase in the number of people from different races has brought about the issues of racial justice in public administration, which is part of the social equity (Wholey, 2007). The future of public management depends on the ability of the administrators to ensure that the issue of racism is not tolerated in offering public services. There should be a representation of the races in the public service, and the formulation and implementation of the public policies should be based on social equity. The issue of racism should not be ignored, as it exists, thus, the administrators need to carry out a racial analysis to determine social equity within the public sector. The analysis is helpful in determining the economic status of the populations by seeking to understand the cultural and historical backgrounds of the communities. For a government to identify the measures that should be taken to address the issue of social equity in the society, it must devote some resources to research. Identifying the extent and types of social inequalities available in public administration is crucial to determining the most suitable solutions.
Identifying the forms of social inequalities available in the population is the first step towards ensuring sanity in public management. This involves carrying out qualitative and quantitative research to identify whether the public receives services equally and justly. Some of the variables that can be used to determine the extent of racial inequality in a given region include education, poverty levels, crime rate, and the average level of earnings per household (McLaughlin, Osborne & Ferlie, 2002). Once the extent of social inequality is identified, it is possible to determine the most appropriate policies that can address the same. Among the primary focus of public management is the formulation of policies that promote the welfare of the society.
There are various policies that can be implemented, such as anti- discriminatory laws and policies on affirmative action. It is important to determine the appropriateness of a policy in addressing the issues identified. Once the appropriate actions have been identified, it is important to identify the ways through which the implementation of such policies is made. The success of these policies is greatly determined by the method of implementation and the extent to which the public servants understand their implications. The structural context of the policies is among the vital factors that should be considered during implementation. This is because it may lead to inefficient results, especially if the persons carrying out the implementation do not fully understand the concept of social equality.
The complexity of public administration in the modern era makes it necessary to have sub-branches, such as public management that are primarily concerned with ensuring that the public is satisfied. The traditional policies of public administration may not be effective in the modern world where issues, such as globalization and information technology have influenced the public demands. Public management entails ensuring that the services provided by the government to the public are carried out in an efficient and most cost effective way. The government must ensure that it provides the services that are mostly demanded by the public in an equitable manner. The issue of public satisfaction is at the heart of public administration in the modern era. The future of public management depends on factors that are related to efficiency and accountability offering services to the public. Among the factors that characterize the future of public management is the shift from the performance management that focuses purely on the results of public administration to a more diverse concept of democratic performance. The other feature of public management in future is the ability of the administrators to enhance social equity in their work to enhance the satisfaction of the public. The implementation of non-mission based values into the system is also a feature that shapes the future of public management.
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