Comparative Public Administration: Volume 15

Subject:

Table of contents

(54 chapters)

Comparative public administration is a branch of public administration that focuses on comparative analysis of administrative processes and institutions. The comparative approach has been around since the inception of government. As a specialized field of interest, the significance of comparison cannot be accurately traced to a single event or country. What we know is that early scholarly work in the parent field drew upon knowledge and perspectives with cross-national origins. For example, Ferrel Heady reminds us that pioneers in the study of American public administration, including Woodrow Wilson and Frank Goodnow, made full use of lens’ provided in European scholarship (Heady, 2001, p. 6). Likewise, past and recent non-western scholarship has drawn substantial inspiration from European and American models. The reasons for this are easy to discern. At least three can be advanced. First is the colonial experience – with most countries in the southern hemisphere having derived a large part of their bureaucratic structures from their former colonizers, the importance of comparative approaches cannot be overemphasized. Second is the increased flow of information worldwide has made it easier for scholars to compare notes on administrative systems in different countries. Third are domino effects of human development, including deliberate attempts by various international bodies to encourage development via adoption of institutional and administrative models that have proven to enhance the quality of life. In fact, coincidentally, sustained comparative analysis in public administration occurred at the end of the World War II when many organizations with a global outreach emerged.

Comparative Public Administration (CPA) attained its greatest intellectual influence during the post World War II era, although it was utilized much earlier. In 1887, for example, Woodrow Wilson's article, considered the first articulation of public administration as a field of study, clearly emphasized the comparative approach as the foundation of developing administrative principles. Wilson argued for “putting away all prejudices against looking anywhere in the world but at home for suggestions” in the study of public administration. He emphasized that “nowhere else in the whole field of politics …, can we make use of the historical, comparative method more safely than in this province of administration” (Wilson, 1887).

There was a time, not long ago, when the study of comparative public administration had nearly slipped off the academic agenda. Interest in the administration of colonies by major powers evaporated, and concern about development administration slipped. A handful of scholars, led by many of the luminaries who have contributed to this book, kept the field alive. They rightly remained convinced of its importance, but many other experts pushed it aside.

Comparative public administration is a branch of public administration. As an approach, it considers the workings of government in different socio-economic and cultural settings. Much like public administration, comparative administration covers a wide variety of activities. Scholars employing the comparative approach focus on a wide variety of issues including public policy making and implementation in both the developed and developing areas. Comparative administration seeks to strengthen our understanding of broader public administrative processes by trying to expand the empirical basis of the field. By taking a keen look at administrative processes in all socio-economic and ecological settings, we have a more holistic view of the larger field.

How far has comparative public administration come in the relatively brief span of its existence? Let me first propose three criteria by which the status of the field can be judged. First, scholars in a relatively established field of study ought to be focusing their studies on a fairly small set of common issues. Second, if a field has reached even minimal theoretical–conceptual accord, a large proportion of its work should be “normal science” (empirical research designed to test existing theories) and a substantial percentage of this empirical should rely on systematic modes of analysis. Third, a field explicitly designated as “comparative” should lean toward work, which is cross-national in character.

A distinguished authority on methodology in the social sciences has written: “We are using models, willingly or not, whenever we are trying to think systematically about anything at all.”2 As used here, a model refers to any “structure of symbols and operating rules” which we think has a counterpart in the real world. A circle, for example, may be used as a model to characterize the shape of a bowl or a crown. Governments are often described in terms of a model of the family, the ruler being likened to a father, the people to children. In one sense, a model is simply an elaborated simile or paradigm.

Public administration as an aspect of governmental activity has existed as long as political systems have been functioning and trying to achieve program objectives set by the political decision-makers. Public administration as a field of systematic study is much more recent. Advisers to rulers and commentators on the workings of government have recorded their observations from time to time in sources as varied as Kautilya's Arthasastra in ancient India, the Bible, Aristotle's Politics, and Machiavelli's The Prince, but it was not until the eighteenth century that cameralism, concerned with the systematic management of governmental affairs, became a specialty of German scholars in Western Europe. In the United States, such a development did not take place until the latter part of the nineteenth century, with the publication in 1887 of Woodrow Wilson's famous essay, “The Study of Administration,” generally considered the starting point. Since that time, public administration has become a well-recognized area of specialized interest, either as a subfield of political science or as an academic discipline in its own right.

It is appropriate to begin with some observations on the development of Public Administration, for the development of Comparative Public Administration and its present problems are most clearly viewed in historical perspective: The logical problems are related to a chronological development.

The 1950s and 1960s were times of haphazard and yet vigorous growth in many academic and policy disciplines. The end of the World War II left the United States at the economic center of the world with commensurate technological, political, and cultural might. For many products, much of the higher technology, free-market leadership, and new social and administrative models, the world looked inordinately ‘to the United States.’ American leadership as a countervailing force to communism was particularly evident. However, foreign aid during the time, impressive though the Four Point and the Marshall Plan might have been, was as much an answer to an emergency as a strategic plan. Precursors ‘to the U.S. Agency for International Development’ (USAID) were little more than continuing resolutions. During this time comparative and development administration were coming into importance as academic domains of discourse with an inchoate sense of identity.10

It is now commonplace to depict the contemporary world as one of rapid, increasing, and frequently cataclysmic change. Such forces as disappearing colonialism, revolution in communications and technology, international technical assistance, and spreading ideology cancel out centuries of relative stability, replacing it with conditions of economic upheaval, social disorientation, and political instability. While the so-called developed nations prepare to harness at least a portion of space, most of the rest of the world –spurred along by the West and by the revolution of rising expectations – struggles to cross the threshold of social and economic modernity.

Nearly three decades have passed since the “heyday” of development administration. Huddleston (1984, p. 177) among others distinguished development administration from mainstream public administration at the practitioner level. He considered it as an area of comparative administration that focuses on the special problems and possibilities of countries of the Third World. Accordingly, it was an attempt to upgrade or develop administration in these countries. It also entailed the creation of unique administrative systems where none existed. The field was a product of its distinctive zietgeist and reflected the age of pronounced confidence in big government (Esman, 1988; Fried, 1990). Then, development theory scholars assumed incorrectly that progress would be linear with societies aiming toward a “take-off” stage. From there, development processes would be self-sustaining. Public administration was considered a vital tool for managing the economic growth and development process. Successive U.S. administrations from Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, and John Kennedy promoted the doctrine of development assistance (aid) to the developing areas. Aid provided the academy with opportunities to study such issues as development economics, community development, development education, and finally, development administration (Weidner, 1962, p. 97).

The chief model of modernization is that of Western Europe and North America, as these have developed since the seventeenth century. Its main elements may be described as the development of science and technology, the national state, democracy, and capitalism. The professed political ideals of this model were put forward by John Locke, John Stuart Mill, and T. H. Green among others. However, in practice, countries in the West have been imperial, warring powers, thus showing that they had little regard for democratic ideals. Internally also, a fascist tendency has often been present. Their economy has been beset with the ills of capitalism: inflation, unemployment, monopolies, and slums. Industrialization has resulted in dehumanization, social disorganization, misutilization of natural resources, and environmental pollution. Science and technology have been used more for private profit and war than for the betterment of human life. The civil administration in this model is expected to function like a large-scale industrial or business undertaking.

Human beings need a cognitive structuring of their activities – need to know what they are doing – if regressive (childish) behaviors are to be avoided.8 Clear goals can help to provide this cognitive structuring if they are “operationa1,” meaning that the impact of a proposed action on the goal must be demonstrated with sufficient credulity so that a reasonable person can accept the demonstration without denying his own rational nature.

The term “development administration” came into use in the 1950s to represent those aspects of public administration and those changes in public administration, which are needed to carry out policies, projects, and programs to improve social and economic conditions. During a period of 15 years following the end of World War II, in 1945, colony after colony threw off the imperial yoke. Country after country achieved independence and political autonomy. This new status gave promise of freedom and liberty and self-determination in political systems of representative democracy. It gave hope of greater individual freedom and equality of treatment in the society. And independence created hopes of higher national and per capita income, a rapid rise in standards of living, and an increase in individual opportunity. Even in countries which had not been colonies but had been administered by some other form of authoritarian government, this was a generation of rising and insistent expectations pressing for rapid political, social, and economic change. New governments and their bureaucracies, their administrative agencies and processes, were expected to give reality to these anticipated fruits of independence and liberty. These new functions, these demands upon the administration system, were not only enormous in size and weight, they were novel and complex in character.

For most members of the CAG, development administration involved no (explicit) teleological vision, but rather “organized efforts to carry out programs or projects thought by those involved to serve developmental objectives.” The better human societies were able to carry out “developmental objectives” through development administration; “…the essential idea of development lies in this increased ability of human societies [as collectivities] to shape their physical, human, and cultural environment.” Thus, “development administration refers not only to a government's efforts to carry out programs designed to reshape its physical human and cultural environment, but also to the struggle to enlarge a government's capacity to engage in such programs.”13

After President George Bush coined the phrase “New World Order,” he tried to articulate it in terms that would infuse a new sense of mission to America. He seemed to regard instability abroad as a danger for America.4 Although President Bush wanted to continue the U.S. internationalist policies of the last forty-five years, Americans and the Congress tended to lurch between isolationism and idealism. But as the Cold War has wound down, there can be little doubt that a New World Order is emerging that creates challenges for the United States and other Western nations that might be equal to those that existed when world politics turned on the confrontation between East and West. Unfortunately, most of the attention has been focused on the major events that created the New World Order: the dramatic dismantling of the Berlin Wall, the fall of communism in Eastern Europe and in the former Soviet Union, and the resurgence from their remains of independent republics. It appears that the 1990s will see foreign aid both from the United States and from the other Western countries going primarily to help establish free-market economies in the former communist countries.

One of the causes of the Iranian revolution of 1978–1979 was that the Iranian government had serious administrative deficiencies. Amir Taheri, a well-known Iranian journalist, wrote in the mid-1978 that public disturbances were “due to an accumulation of discontent with tight control, over-centralization, lack of sufficient open debate and a general feeling that corruption and inefficiency together with arrogance have struck the bureaucracy.”1 These administrative problems were not new. An important scholarly examination of the Iranian political system in the early1970s concluded that the “problems of governance in Iran are profound. Inefficiency is their hallmark….”2

Perhaps, the greatest role bureaucracies can plan is to find ways of extending their own reach: to recruit, train, supervise, and deploy paraprofessionals; and to use their knowledge of legal requirements for the management of public resources to mobilize local self-help efforts in the urban and rural slums; to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of voluntary groups willing to work with the poor; and, most important of all, to help organizations that already exist among the poor, giving them guidance in their own internal management, arbitrating among rival claimants when necessary, and providing them with information about the resources that might be available for their own further development. They can also act as links between these informal organizations in the field and the political and administrative leadership at the center, to the benefit of both.

What were the functions of public administration within this paradigm? Because of the expanding role of the state in promoting and guiding development and because of the increasing complexity of modern economies, good public management was obviously necessary. The capabilities of the state and of its administrative organs would have to be increased, and rapidly, in order to cope with new requirements both from the productive sectors and from the “nation building” and welfare services instituted by post-colonial governments to legitimatize new regimes. This explosive expansion of the state and its heavy dependency on public administration implied the need for rationalization of government services, in effect Weberianization of the structures and procedures of the burgeoning public bureaucracies.

The collection includes work on planning and decentralization because these are all tied together in the broad attempt at enhancing rural and community administration theory. Planning is a decision-making activity. It is also a process of control because it involves gathering information and marshalling resources “in a sequential priority framework in order to maximize agreed-upon objectives” (Murray, 1975, p. 369). Although planning is an integral part of development administration, its origins are not hard to find in western administrative thought. In fact, American public administration students can easily trace planning to classical works of Frederick W. Taylor and Luther Gulick. The former articulated the process in his design for work practices in corporations. For his part, Gulick's principles included a statement to the effect that planning was a central managerial role. Arguably, the American planning variant had more to do with the business world as opposed to the public sector. It was also largely decentralized and not comprehensive. This is in sharp contrast with the vast majority of countries, especially in the 1960s and 1970s. The planning discourse then assumed ideological proportions. This was in part due to the association of planning with command-type Communist Soviet administrative styles. Ironically, centralized planning achieved some limited success and was considered a useful tool for promoting development and industrialization.

This contribution presents an effort to develop a public administration perspective on the ongoing process of institutional reform and transformation in Central and Eastern Europe. It is organized around three rather straightforward questions. The first refers to analytical issues. How should we study the subject at hand? We are dealing with a multi-dimensional and multi-level reform and transformation process. The Central and Eastern European experience has not yet generated any models and theories of its own which might drive the administrative analysis. The question is how one could arrive at a theoretically orientated perspective to explore adequately the ongoing, multifarious and turbulent administrative reform processes, without being unduly biased by ‘western’ presuppositions and preoccupations (Section 2).

Such rural development programs are quite demanding in their organizational requirements. First, the implementing agency must have a special commitment to the delivery of program services to the rural poor. In social systems it is unnatural for benefits to be dispensed equally, much less redistributed toward the disadvantaged. Some inner or outer dynamic force must motivate the organization to overcome the momentum of inequality.

Since the end of the World War II, a considerable literature on development planning has accumulated. Most of it is concerned with how planning ought to be practiced, or more explicitly, how planning would work if it worked as originally conceived or as the writer might wish. While examples from experience have been used to illustrate principles, most authors have chosen to concentrate on theory rather than practice. These writers have generally been as aware as anyone that there was always a gap – often a great one – between the theories they espoused and planning as it is practiced, especially in less developed countries. But mostly they have considered discrepancies between the two as short-run aberrations, which would tend to disappear as more planners were trained and acquired experience.

National governments took responsibility for expanding their economies and providing public services during the 1950s and 1960s for many reasons. In North America and Western Europe the strength of central government bureaucracies grew from their crucial roles in mobilizing resources during World War II and, afterward, they took on expanded responsibilities for economic and social reconstruction. Strong central management in industrialized nations offered convenient models for new governments in developing countries. In the post-colonial period, many newly independent governments in Africa and Asia saw local jurisdictions as colonial institutions or as strongholds of ethnic or religious minorities that could be sources of political opposition. Weakening their powers and concentrating resources and authority in the central government was a crucial instrument for nation building.

During the last decade, there has been a growing interest in decentralization among the governments of a number of Third World countries, especially, but not only, in Africa. Countries that have introduced significant organizational reforms described as, or having elements of, ‘decentralization’ – or are in the process of doing so – include Tanzania, Zambia, the Sudan, Nigeria and Ghana in Africa (Adamolckun & Rowlands, 1979; Conyers, 1981a; Mawhood & Davcy, 1980; Rondinelli, 1981; Tordoff, 1980), Sri Lanka (Craig, 1981) and a number of countries in the South Pacific, including Papua New Guinea (Conyers, 1981a, 1981b; Ghai, 1981; Tordoff, 1981). Several other countries in Africa and Asia are attempting to achieve some degree of decentralization within the existing organizational structure. In Latin America, government structures have generally remained more centralized and there appears to be little prospect of any major change in the near future; nevertheless, calls for decentralization recur periodically and there have been a few attempts, albeit generally of limited duration and success, to introduce some measure of decentralization (Graham, 1980).

As both concept and process, privatization possesses ambiguous connotations and multiple meanings. Webster's Dictionary (1981) defines one related noun, privatism, as “an attitude of uncommitment or uninvolvement in anything beyond one's immediate interests,” while another associated noun, privacy, denotes a state of “withdrawal from society or the public interest” (Oxford English Dictionary, 1972). If government is a means of providing a wide range of collective goods, which do not necessarily lend themselves to market exchange, the public sector is naturally a highly visible target.4 At the same time, unrestrained public-sector expansion inevitably leads to public policy failure, as problems of communication, coordination, effective cost–benefit control, and revenue satiation accumulate.5 Privatization represents a logical reaction.

The outright sale of government assets is probably the most common form of privatization in the United Kingdom.1 Two primary pricing conventions have been used. Fixed-price stock offerings make single-priced shares available to the public. Tender stock offers, however, do not fix stock prices in advance; thus the price is determined by market forces.

Perhaps the increased use of technologies is the hallmark of the new global managerial dispensation. Worldwide, the tendency to use especially information technologies is legend. By far the most widespread use of ITs has been for governments to post information about themselves on the internet. Literally all governments have web sites with information about government structures, foreign embassies, and tourism and investment opportunities.

For centuries, dreamers have looked forward to the day when people would overlook their differences and recognize all as brothers, that under their skin they were very much alike and aspired to much the same future. Then, they would see the advantages of cooperating together, burying their disagreements, and working toward common objectives. Barriers between people would be removed. People and goods would move freely across the globe. Every human being would be accorded the same rights and be treated with the same consideration. And people would lay down their arms and make peace, not war. The world would unite and all human beings would realize that they shared a common fate. In time, the advancement of technology has indeed reduced distance and increased mobility, thereby bringing people closer and closer together and uniting the planet. But the experience of global warfare in increasingly horrifying form has made imperative an end to the madness of continued internecine conflict and a need to create universal bonds. Slowly, in fits and starts, the world's statesmen began to devise a new international order that would better suit humanity until in the last quarter of the 20th century, the world awoke to the fact that the future had at last arrived at thanks to globalization.

It is a point of continuing debate whether the study of public administration can in any circumstances be graced by a disciplinary label. Rhodes (1996), for example, has argued that the study of British public administration was traditionally insular, dominated for a long period by an institutionalist tradition characterized by an interest in administrative engineering, but a distaste for theory. As Rhodes also observes, this position emphasized, albeit in a traditional sense, the political and ethical context of administration public administration existed within a wider framework of accountability relationships and political and moral responsibilities. We might add to this the way government and public administration was seen as linked within a framework of administrative law, which, while not formalized in the sense of continental Europe, was important.

Bureaucracy, the structural form of the modern administrative state, is, by any credible theory of social development, endogenous to social and political transformation. Bureaucracy is not imposed, not exogenous. It is created by polities; it solves problems.

The new public management philosophy holds obvious appeal. It promises to provide the “Big Answer” to real and imagined shortcomings in public bureaucracy. How else does one explain such telling titles as “Reinventing Government” and “Getting Government Right”?

…In this issue, information is analysed not as a static resource, housed and managed by computers, but as dynamic flows on computer networks, networks which permit information to be communicated, shared, distributed and integrated (Taylor, 1992). As we have seen, what is distinctive in the information polity is, therefore, the changing nature of relationships both in and around governmental organizations, and their electronic mediation.

Business process reengineering, although initially developed for and within the private sector, is an approach that can form a valuable part of information age reform if it can transform the work processes of public sector organisations. Information technology (IT) has played a central role in reengineering. This chapter therefore describes many ways in which IT can be used to support public sector reengineering, including applications identified from analysis of the ‘political value chain’. Nevertheless, IT-supported reengineering originated from technical/rational organisational models that do not necessarily reflect the realities of the public sector. The chapter therefore proposes the concept of public sector process rebuilding (PUPREB): an approach to reengineering that includes a special awareness of the public sector context.

Two extreme positions set the tone in learned literature on the feasibility of democracies in the information society. In the opinion of a number of authors, the widely proclaimed “electronic revolution” will inevitably take us to “direct democracy”. The only question these computopeans hold different views on is to what extent active steering of the further introduction of technology is necessary to reach direct democracy. Some of them (like De Sola Pool, 1983) are of the opinion that technologies of freedom are involved, which will almost automatically result in a more democratic society, provided that the free market is left to its own devices. Other authors believe that the new technology enables a drastic renewal of political culture and structure, provided that it is used deliberately in a practical and sensible way (Etzioni, Laudon, & Lipson, 1975; Becker, 1981; Hollander, 1985; Barber, 1988; Abramson, Arterton, and Orren, 1988).

We enter the 21st century with our societies undergoing a radical transformation amidst an atmosphere of optimism that global economic prosperity and peace will prevail. At the same time, there is an increasing awareness of the important role government and public administration play in facilitating economic and social change together with a growing realization of the shortcomings of that role. The general belief holds that the far-reaching socioeconomic, political, and technological changes currently taking place will render 21st bureaucracies obsolete. Thus, transformation of our public bureaucracies becomes imperative to avoid the stigma of obsolescence. Major administrative reform undertaking must be launched in every country, western or eastern alike, “governance” matters more and more these days.

World poverty is well documented. It is estimated that 1.2 billion people live on less than a dollar a day (Bryant & Kappaz, 2005, p. 17). Another one and a half billion people, who are not among the “extreme poor”, suffer “chronic financial hardship and a lack of basic amenities such as safe drinking water and functioning latrines”. Together, these two groups makeup around 40 percent of humanity (Sachs, 2005, p. 18). Nor is the position improving: Joseph Stiglitz notes that “over the last decade of the twentieth century, the actual number of people living in poverty actually increased by almost 100 million”, at a time when total world income was increasing by an average of 2.5 percent annually (Stiglitz, 2002, p. 5). The position of children – the generation of the future – is of particular concern.

The concept of a New World Order is a rhetorical device that is not new. In fact, it is as old as the notion of empire building in ancient times. When Cyrus the Great conquered virtually the entire known world and expanded his “World-State” Persian Achaemenid Empire, his vision was to create a synthesis of civilization and to unite all peoples of the world under the universal Persian rule with a global world order characterized by peace, stability, economic prosperity, and religious and cultural tolerance. For two centuries that world order was maintained by both military might and Persian gold: Whenever the military force was not applicable, the gold did the job; and in most cases both the military and the gold functioned together (Frye, 1963, 1975; Farazmand, 1991a). Similarly, Alexander the Great also established a New World Order. The Romans and the following mighty empires had the same concept in mind. The concept was also very fashionable after World Wars I and II. The world order of the twentieth century was until recently a shared one, dominated by the two superpowers of the United States and the USSR.

The year 2000 marks not only the start of a new century and millennium, but also a turning point in world history that has, in fact, already started. Its dominant forces are well captured by the word globalization, which symbolizes a fundamental transformation in the role of the post-Westphalian state. Public Administration as the study of governance in America, and Comparative Administration with its complementary focus on the administrative problems of new states, have both been state-centered, taking for granted the salience and sovereign role of independent states in a world-system of states. Regardless of how the political institutions of these states were formed, we have assumed that they all required public bureaucracies able to attend to the most important needs of their citizens in an increasingly complicated age of industrialization and interdependence. That assumption has informed our analysis of the American system as though it were a prototype that could serve as an exemplar for all the new states born out of the collapse of the modern empires that had first occupied the world and then shredded it by their great inter-imperial wars.

How do these external and internal forces forge new tasks and responsibilities for European states? In the process, how do they serve to restructure and redefine their administrative systems? Will these changes shift European priorities and alter the content of activities that European public administrators perform? How well – or poorly – do they carry out their new roles?

The French strong stare tradition decisively shapes both its past and present development of public administration. France created some of the earliest continental administrative institutions and the first studies of public administration. The development of the French liberal stare in the 19th century led to the predominance of law and lawyers emphasizing the guarantee of citizens’ rights and limits on state power. The shift to law eclipsed social science-based public administration. Since the 1960s, for various reasons, France has witnessed the reemergence of a broader administrative science, with law-based models competing with managerial and sociological-based models. Today several analytical approaches exist, reflecting a complex and rich pluralism, although legal dogma remains strong and poses dilemmas for the independence of French administrative sciences.

What most characterizes German public administration since the 18th century is its early modernization relative to the political regime. The “rule of law” became the central mechanism of modernization when the “rule of man” – the nonconstitutional monarchy – was still intact. The “science” of administration was, until recently, dominated by jurisprudence, as were the institutions of public administration. A social science-oriented concept of administrative science only emerged with the reformist drive for accelerated modernization of public infrastructure and public planning in the 1960s. The article outlines the phases of development of this new administrative science from the 1960s to the 1990s and argues that today, as in the past, reform remains the central focus of German public administration, especially with its current emphasis upon the problems of German reunification.

British public administration has endured radical antistate reforms since 1979. This essay outlines the three phases of these administrative reforms, their sources of support, underlying rationales, basic institutional elements as well as their limitations. As a result of profound administrative changes, UK academic administrative sciences have undergone a redefinition and relabelling. Yet, there is still not a distinctive British School of public administration, nor a pronounced shift to Continental European thinking. Indeed, the author concludes, “UK academic public administration is still more that of a North American satellite than a core European State.”

Until the 1960s, the Dutch state was characterized and limited by “pillarization,” “corporatism” and “consensus-democracy.” Its public administration reflected the juridical perspective that dominated continental European administration during the 19th and 20th centuries. The rise of Dutch administrative science in the 1960s is related to the postwar expansion of its welfare state. The growing welfare state needed scientific support for policy making and planning. Legal expertise alone was no longer sufficient. The one-sided orientation in U.S. literature in the 1970s made way or a growing self-identity and self-confidence. Dutch administrative research today has reached a relatively high level of maturity, which might possibly contribute to the development of a new kind of European thinking about public administration.

While Norway, Sweden, and Denmark share many historic, political, and cultural features, their state systems and public administration exhibit important differences. Likewise, Nordic administrative sciences reflect a significant degree of ethnocentric diversity. Although as a whole, since the 1960s, Scandinavian academic public administration has witnessed rapid growth, an emphasis on local–regional government, and highly sophisticated scientific-empirical research, as opposed to professional training or narrow application of technical–legal methodologies.

Tracking global trends has evolved into an analytic and prognostic industry in and of itself, and we do not pretend to offer a comprehensive overview of global trends and globalization. We offer a selective catalog of what we see as the major global trends that impact upon public managers in developing and transitional nations.5

The design and direction of economic reforms are heavily taxing the macroeconomic policy apparatus of every country of Eastern Europe. Government ministers and their senior staff tend to operate in relative isolation from other ministries. Few officials grasp the broad shape of their national reform program or can express the underlying motivations for the policies being enacted.2

This article attempts to capture and extend the lessons rendered in the previous articles in this book. In overview we may observe that over the past three decades, criticisms about government performance have surfaced across the world from all points of the political spectrum. Critics have alleged that governments are inefficient, ineffective, too large, too costly, overly bureaucratic, overburdened by unnecessary rules, unresponsive to public wants and needs, secretive, undemocratic, invasive into the private rights of citizens, self-serving, and failing in the provision of either the quantity or quality of services deserved by the taxpaying public (See, for example, Barzelay & Armajani, 1992; Osborne & Gaebler, 1993; Jones & Thompson, 1999). Fiscal stress has also plagued many governments and has increased the cry for less costly or less expansive government, for greater efficiency, and for increased responsiveness. High profile members of the business community, financial institutions, the media, management consultants, academic scholars and the general public all have pressured politicians and public managers to reform. So, too have many supranational organizations, including OECD, the World Bank, and the European Commission. Accompanying the demand and many of the recommendations for change has been support for the application of market-based logic and private sector management methods to government (see, for example, Moe, 1984; Olson, Guthrie, & Humphrey, 1998; Harr & Godfrey, 1991; Milgrom & Roberts, 1992; Jones & Thompson, 1999). Application of market-driven solutions and business techniques to the public sector has undoubtedly been encouraged by the growing ranks of public sector managers and analysts educated in business schools and public management programs (Pusey, 1991).

These ideas lead to a much greater emphasis on certain kinds of public management that have been stressed only intermittently in the past, notably continuous quality improvement; electronic government; performance measurement; intersectoral and intergovernmental collaboration; coalition formation; benchmarking; citizen satisfaction studies; public program evaluation; strategic planning; training; team building; decentralization; devolution; downsizing; privatization; enhanced executive authority; and streamlining and innovating procurement, budgeting, and human resources.

To clarify our analysis, we start with a conceptual explanation of synarchy and the key terms that we need to use in this chapter. Synarchy is a neologism that combines synthesis with anarchy. We will first look at how these two contrasting ideas are linked. In juxtaposition, they provide a basis for understanding contemporary public administration in a global and comparative context.

Subject Index

Pages 971-980
Content available
DOI
10.1016/S0732-1317(2006)15
Publication date
Book series
Research in Public Policy Analysis and Management
Editors
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
ISBN
978-0-76231-359-4
eISBN
978-1-84950-453-9
Book series ISSN
0732-1317