Leadership and Public Sector Reform in Asia: Volume 30
Table of contents(13 chapters)
This introductory chapter explains why public sector reforms matter and why a focus on Asia and leadership is needed. It also provides an overview of highlights, lessons and conclusions in this book. Cases of successful public sector reforms usually show leadership by central agencies, with support of the office of President or Prime Minister. While laws and rules are commonly used to further reform, cases show that more is needed to ensure success and sustainability. A range of strategies include heightened accountability, personnel changes, supporting change leaders in departments, reform through capacity development, and learning from innovations other jurisdictions. Conclusions include suggestions for further research.
Japan has had four periods of public sector reform since World War II. This chapter discusses the leadership for reform during the occupation period, the high economic growth period, the low economic growth period and the search for a ‘new’ Japan under various present difficulties. Reforms reflect the priorities of the time and interests of prime ministers, whose style of functioning also affects how public sector reforms are advanced. During the occupation period, the Administrative Management Agency was established in the Prime Minister’s Office and was responsible for the overall management of national government organizations. It was staffed by civil servants who were experts in their areas. Since the 1980s, furthering privatization, deregulation and reorganization, advisory councils for the prime minister were also used, involving influential business leaders and scholars.
This chapter shows that political leadership, especially that of the prime minister and minister in charge of administrative reform, is important in deciding on highly political issues, to persuade or direct politicians and administrators to follow the leadership, to inspire and get the support of the general public and to ensure the support or acceptance of those concerned. Where prime ministers are not directly involved, leadership is provided by professional administrators under the general support of the prime minister and the minister responsible for administrative reforms. It is also pointed out that reform sustainability occurs through institutionalization, incentives, management and producing meaningful results.
Leadership for public sector reforms in Indonesia involves both national level efforts and leadership from local levels that have been empowered by prior decentralization. This chapter focuses on reforms made by the national government, which has been guided by the values of serving public, increasing efficiency and becoming corruption-free. Although the National Development Agency and the Ministry for Administrative Reform provided central impetus and coordination, reforms were seen as quite fragmented across ministries with uneven results. The authors are concerned about reform effectiveness and sustainability. Reform leadership is challenged by human capital and legally mandated but inefficient bureaucratic processes and structures as well as challenges of public distrust and disobedient civil servants. The latter is sometimes dealt with by using patronage to insert allies for reform, and they take note of leaders gaining leverage from working across boundaries and jurisdictions, and by improving their authorizing environment. The chapter describes a strategy of leaders-led efforts that are cascaded through ministries through institutionalization (e.g., of policies) and obtaining support from successive reform champions at different levels and locations. The authors argue for increasing the number of ‘champion leaders’ who pragmatically, transactionally and successfully get subordinates to commit to reform efforts.
This chapter discusses how China’s rapid economic development since the 1970s has involved three different periods of administrative reform, stretching out over seven successive five-year plans. The author focusses on leadership style, specifically, the thinking that is expected from leaders in each period of leadership for development, open leadership and innovative leadership. The author discusses that leadership for these reforms comes from the highest levels, the Communist Party of China (CPC), as articulated by successive secretary generals of the CPC, that the purpose of reform is not only to achieve policy goals but also to uphold CPC leadership in China, and that public managers throughout China are assessed by the party as well as the government. The author also provides an excellent case of reform anti-corruption leadership that shows how the CPC deals with complex and entrenched issues through education and strict implementation, leading to punishment of 1.2 million people, including senior officials. The case shows well senior officials setting the general direction, preserving the role of the CPC, achieving results, learning through practice and innovation, trends towards increasing the rule of law, and the use of audits.
Thailand continuously has had administrative reforms in spite of periods of military regime and democratic government. This chapter describes the leadership of administration reforms coming from issue experts and senior civil service officers described as a ‘jazz-banded’ leadership model of different actors. Political parties pick up reform packages consistent with their policy platforms, while the military looks for ready-to-deliver policy packages. The author discusses the example of education and health care reforms and the role of the Office of Public Sector Development Commission (OPDC). In Thailand, resistance usually occurred during the implantation stage rather than at the formulation stage. The chapter discusses that OPDC initiatives were implemented with bonuses of up to 12-month salary for some senior officers and department heads. In health care, success came from concerted efforts of health care experts who transcend their ideas from one generation to another and who kept convincing politicians running the Ministry of Public Health. However, in other instances, budget allocations may bump up against financial procedures that are detailed and tight due to anti-corruption practices. In education reforms, teachers were placed at different school districts that lacked commitment. In the decentralization of reforms, resistance comes from line ministries wanting to secure their authority, although local authorities are very active. Resistance often requires negotiation of many parties; rarely do politicians step in to overcome and assist.
This chapter describes how public sector reform (PSR) became important following the ‘Doi Moi’ (renovation) programme in 1986. Restructuring of state-owned sector was regarded as crucial for ensuring the quality of economic growth, and the Vietnamese government (www.chinhphu.vn/portal/page/portal/English) put considerable effort in PSR. The 8th Party Congress (1996) emphasized the urgent need for a more transparent, capable and modern public sector, including efforts to improve law-making process and capacity, reducing burdensome bureaucracy, fighting corruption, increasing leadership by senior officials and improving public service delivery. The government specifies the national PSR Master programme, and the Ministry of Home Affairs coordinates its implementation among ministries, central agencies and provincial governments. Local political leaders (party leaders) determine reforms based on guidelines of the party and government. The author writes that in spite of ambitious public service reform programmes and some positive achievements, the quality of public sector remains poor. The professional capacity of civil service is low, pay is low, corruption is high and processes and structures seem ill-fitted for the market economy. Reform scope is too broad, the capacity of public agencies and civil servants is limited and existing monitoring, evaluation and reporting systems are weak. In some successes, leaders use appointment and promotion to encourage lower level to implement reforms and training to increase understanding. They believe that Vietnamese leadership has become less proactive and vigorous in practicing or embracing bold reform experiments.
In this chapter the authors discuss that despite public sector reform being a primary concern of successive national leaders of the Philippines, ‘massive – and sometimes impressive – reorganization plans have not met their declared objectives’. They note that intractable and stubborn problems of Weberian bureaucracy, such as excessive rules and regulations, overlapping structures and procedures, inefficient procedures, lack of coordination, excessive partisan politics and corruption, remain. They examine how leadership can play a pivotal and key role in addressing these problems. Specifically, they argue that reforms should be multi-dimensional, going beyond reorganization and shifting organizational boxes and encompassing changes in behaviour, perspectives and attitudes. Using a concept of ‘phronetic leadership’, they examine three cases of national, local and civil society leaders, as well as a survey of university leaders. They conclude that leaders can make a difference by developing capacities of themselves and of others, and pushing the boundaries of continuous improvement. However, to be sustainable, public sector reforms have to be complemented by reforms of institutions, structures and procedures and anchored in behaviour, values and a common vision that is communicated well and owned by all.
This chapter discusses reforms to increase customer-centredness, public consultation (including professional, business and community associations), whole-of-government approaches (a case of trafficking in persons), increased budget, personnel and procurement delegation to departments and increased role of statutory boards (autonomous agencies). According to the author the driving force behind public sector reforms emanates from the inner core of ministers, most particularly the prime minister and deputy prime minister, working in close conjunction with senior permanent secretaries, directors of boards and government-linked companies. In Singapore, power is concentrated in the hands of political executives and senior levels of civil service. Ministers set the policy agenda and make final policy decisions on important issues. The administrative service is the elite service (of about 250 persons) within the civil service that shapes policy, especially permanent secretaries and deputy secretaries. Objections to reforms are often avoided through inputs to the reform process by key stakeholders and experts of relevant fields from inter-ministerial and inter-agency committees and through public consultations. Singapore has achieved an exceptional level of prosperity, and according to the author civil service is guided by practices of meritocracy (e.g., in promotion) and strict accountability through audits and anti-corruption steps.
This chapter highlights how Malaysia has experienced a successful economy through different stages since independence. The development, administration and institution-building phase was followed by reform initiatives throughout the years. Master Industrial Plans, 5-year development plans and other mid-term plans are used, which include governance and performance management reform. Today, public service reform continues to evolve with emphasis on better services, e-government and one-stop clearance centres. Under the Government Transformation Programme launched in 2010, seven National Key Results Areas have been identified, e.g., reducing crime, fighting corruption, improving education, and raising living standards of low-income households. Within this, political transformation programme, digital transformation programme, community transformation programme and social transformation programme have been created that advance public sector reforms. This chapter shows that while states and leaders remain powerful actors, leaders recognise a need to reform and overcome unethical and inefficient bureaucratic dysfunctions, or keep them at a minimum. Leaders manage such problems by using transparency to address problems of vested interests, stringent audits and punishing civil servants for criminal breaches of trust, removal of ministerial control over government-linked companies and removing resisting actors. Yet, more reforms in shepherding public service renewal are needed in sustaining reforms and reputations of public institutions. The author calls for increased values-based leadership that is inclusive at the highest levels.
Australia is one of the Anglophone countries that readily adapted to a public management approach. Reforms since the 1980s have shown remarkable breadth, longevity and significance. The reforms acknowledge failure of existing approaches and the need to address management deficiencies, fiscal stress and increased complexity. This chapter discusses four cases, reflecting leadership from core agencies as well as executives. Financial management reform was initially led by Finance, and then a broader agenda was pursued through a senior management committee under the Department of the Prime. However, devolution of responsibilities from central agencies did not appear to make managers more accountable. Finance was weakened by devolution and unable to exercise appropriate leadership, and agencies did not integrate performance management reform with internal planning processes. By contrast, a one-stop shopping service for welfare was successful, although later folded in the Department of Human Services. DPMC also launched reform process in the 2010s, although not a priority of the prime minister, some recommendations, such as leadership development and talent management, were implemented that increased public service capacity. The case of Australia shows that in spite of variable political support and leadership by central agencies, a relatively stable environment (governments serving multiple terms) allowed implementation to proceed in the mid-term, including incentives to ensure responsiveness at department levels.
New Zealand is a small country with a rich history of pioneering administrative reforms. This chapter describes administrative reform processes emanating from the ‘core agencies’ of the State Services Commission (SSC), Treasury and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. It describes the famous New Public Management reforms of the late 1980s–2000s, led by the Treasury that restructured ministries (creating more agencies that are single-purpose agencies), rewrote policy rules (e.g., the same laws for public and private sector employees) and created accountability from agency heads to ministers as well as SSCs who evaluate and re-appoint agency heads. It should be noted that in this Westminster system, ministers provide policy leadership but not executive leadership of ministries. The chapter describes in detail two reform processes led/administered by the SSC since the mid-2000s to increase accountability for ministry mid-term policy and organizational capability targets (performance improvement framework) as well as cross-ministry goals (better public services). These efforts have been evaluated over time as being quite effective and are noted for their sustainability and improvement.
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- Public Policy and Governance
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- Emerald Publishing Limited
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