New Public Management essay

New Public Management 4

NewPublic Management



Locationof Institution

NewPublic Management

Thenew public management system (NPM) is a human resource system thatseeks to attain the same outcome but with more efficient means(Gadkari, 2010). It stresses on the notion that the ideas applied inthe private sector can be effectively implemented in the publicsector (Barzelay, 2001). This essay seeks to analyze the argumentsabout NPM by different scholars, its impact on human resourcepractices, systems and policies and gains and challenges thesechanges present to the state as an employer through exploring thecase of a national or provincial government department of choice.

Analyticalsummary of the key NPM arguments proposed by different scholars

Accordingto Hood, new public management has constantly been attacked by aclaimed contradiction between efficiency and equity, but if anyattack survives the NPM’s claim of infinite reprogram ability mustbe on the basis of possible conflicts between administrationprinciples (Hood, 1998).

Accordingto Hood NPM’s evolution is connected to specific administrativetrends, these include

1)Attempts to reverse or slow down government growth terms of overtpublic spending and staffing (Dunsire and Hood 1989)

2)The shift toward privatization and quasi-privatization and away fromcore government, stressing on `subsidiarity` in service delivery(Hood and Schuppert 1988 Dunleavy 1989).

3)The development of automation, particularly in informationtechnology, in the production and distribution of public services(Hood, 2004) and

4)The development of a more intercontinental agenda progressivelyfocused on issues of public management, policy design, decisionstyles and inter-governmental cooperation, on top of the oldertradition of individual country specialisms in public administration.

Impactsof NPM on human resources practices, systems and policies

Thenew public management in most countries is characterized by moreaccountability and responsibility for public managers, theintroduction of performance management systems, the introduction ofquality management techniques and more competition in the publicsector, (Hood 1.991, 1994 Bouckaert and Pollitt 2000). The impactsof new public management are based on the above characteristics.

Throughthe introduction of performance management systems, there has been animprovement in the services offered by the civil servants. Thepurpose of performance management system is to ensure that employeesperform as expected from them by their employers (Christensen andLægreid, 2007). These expectations are normally communicated to themat the beginning of the employment in the form of their jobdescriptions. At the end of a certain period maybe one year asstipulated in the country’s constitution the civil servants areassessed on the basis of their job descriptions and awarded mars inthe literal sense. The highest performing employees are rewarded tokeep them motivated as well as to inspire the rest of the employees.Through this management system, the administration is able todiscover areas that the civil servants are laid back on and issuewarnings on the same. The performance management system has greatlyincreased the quality offered by the civil servants without a shiftin the cost, because of the motivation in the form of a reward orfear of the consequences of not performing.

NPMhas also led to more responsibilities and accountability being placedin the hands of the public managers. In the ancient times,responsibilities and accountabilities were in the hands of theuppermost state administration this was not effective because theycould only do so much. Therefore placing these responsibilities andaccountabilities in the hands of public managers has proveneffective. This is so because the public managers have a goodunderstanding of the situations on the ground. They have a specificnumber of people to manage and delegate and are able to solvesituations as they arise. Also, the introduction of performancemanagement it has greatly increased the accountability of the publicmanagers together with the people they delegate because they areaware that they are accountable to their deeds.

Theenormous economic growth in countries has also led to theintroduction of great competition for the public sector from otherpublic sectors and mostly from the private sectors. Therefore, thepublic sector has lost its monopoly powers, and all that is left isto improve the products and services otherwise, the public sectorwill be accompanied by great losses which will see them out ofbusiness. This competition has led to increased productivity withless or minimal resources.

NPMhas led to the introduction of quality management qualities to ensurethat the output produced is up to standards. This quality managementsystems are introduced by the administration, and they are compulsoryfor all organizations be it public sector or private sector.

Theadministration forms a body that specifically deals with inspectingthe products and services, and if they are not up the standards, thebody issues warnings and discards the product followed by legalconsequences. This has greatly sensitized the companies to stress onquality, by using quality raw materials and skills. The qualitymanagement skills have greatly increased the quality of products andservices without increasing the cost associated with it.

Gainsand challenges these changes present to the state as employer throughexploring the case of a national or provincial government departmentof choice

Theapplication of NPM has led to gains and challenges to the state asthe civil servants employer. Some of the gains that are associatedinclude greater profits, change in the employee attitude towardswork, increased efficiency and reduced cost of production amongothers (McLaughlin, Osborne, and Ferlie, 2002). The challenges thatthe state encounters is great competition and employee resistance asdiscussed below.


NPMprimarily concentrates on cost reduction, without reducing thequality of the products offered (Pollitt, 1995). This has been thegreatest gain for the state as the employer. This has led to economicgrowth with the money that is spared being invested in other projectsthat are significant to the states development and growth. It hasalso brought about efficiency in offering such services this isbecause standards are already known. The civil servant knew what isexpected of them, and they are accountable for their deeds andmisdeeds.

Greatprofit realization this has been made possible by the increasedproductivity that comes along with the application of NPM. Change inthe employee morale the introduction of performance managementsystems has led to a change of employees’ morale and attitudestowards work (Pollitt and Hanney, 1997). Performance managementsystems introduce rewards according to the actual performance of theemployees as compared to what is expected from them. The highestperforming employees are rewarded. These rewards are not necessarilymonetary they are based on the employees’ preferences. This hasbeen able to instill motivation on the part of employees, as theystrive hard to get the rewards.

Inthe case of education systems as a national government department, ithas led to better ways of teaching. This is because the teachers areaware of what is expected from them, and they perform accordingly.The money that is spared from this is invested in more wantingprojects, for example, the health sector (Pollitt, Thiel, andHomburg, 2007).


Thestate also experiences challenges as a result of NPM. Thesechallenges may include

Resistancefrom the civil servants from the idea that they are over controlledwhich might lead an adverse effect from what is expected (Hood,Rothstein and Baldwin, 2001).

Thestate also faces a lot of competition from the private sector and maylead to loss of some of their employees to the private sectors.


Inconclusion, NPM has greatly revolutionized the human resourcessystems and policies in the public sector through the introduction ofthe performance management systems and quality management systems asmentioned above. This has led to increased efficiency and reducedcost in the public sector. However, I feel that there is still a gapwaiting to be filled, because most of the state administration stillstruggle with managing their employees, most of these civil servantsas well as the institutions are mostly laid back and that mostcitizens prefer seeking services from the private sector because ofloss of trust towards their governments.

Therefore,the state government as the employer should strive to fill thesegaps, because not all the citizens can afford seeking services fromthe private sector. Effective application of the new publicmanagement and constant iteration and learning will achieve this.


Barzelay,M. (2001). Thenew public management.Berkeley: University of California Press.

Christensen,T. and Lægreid, P. (2007). Transcendingnew public management.Aldershot, England: Ashgate.

Gadkari,S. (2010). Newpublic management.Mumbai: Himalaya Pub. House.

Hood,C. (1998). Theart of the state.Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Hood,C. (2004). Controllingmodern government.Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Pub.

Hood,C., Rothstein, H. and Baldwin, R. (2001). Thegovernment of risk.Oxford: Oxford University Press.

McLaughlin,K., Osborne, S. and Ferlie, E. (2002). Newpublic management.London: Routledge.

Pollitt,C. (1995). Managementtechniques for the public sector.[Ottawa, Ont.?]: Canadian Centre for Management Development.

Pollitt,C. and Hanney, S. (1997). Publicmanagement reforms.Helsinki: Ministry of Finance.

Pollitt,C., Thiel, S. and Homburg, V. (2007). Newpublic management in Europe.Basingstoke [England]: Palgrave Macmillan.