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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2006

Anthony B. L. Cheung

Hong Kong’s public sector reform since the 1990s is not just a continuation of an administrative reform trajectory started in colonial years to modernize the civil…

Abstract

Hong Kong’s public sector reform since the 1990s is not just a continuation of an administrative reform trajectory started in colonial years to modernize the civil service. Although concerns for efficiency, productivity and value for money have always formed part of the reform agenda at different times, an efficiency discourse of reform is insufficient for capturing the full dynamics of institutional change whether in the pre-1997 or post-1997 period. During Hong Kong's political transition towards becoming an SAR of China in 1997, public sector reform helped to shore up the legitimacy of the bureaucracy. After 1997, new political crises and the changing relations between the Chief Executive and senior civil servants have induced the advent of a new “public service bargain” which gives different meaning to the same NPM-like measures

Details

International Journal of Organization Theory & Behavior, vol. 9 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1093-4537

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Article
Publication date: 9 December 2019

Anthony B.L. Cheung

The purpose of this paper is to identify the underlying problems of the recent socio-political disturbance originated from the amendments of extradition law in Hong Kong.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify the underlying problems of the recent socio-political disturbance originated from the amendments of extradition law in Hong Kong.

Design/methodology/approach

The perspectives of politics and governance are adopted to analyze the current situation.

Findings

Three underlying problems are identified, including the existential crisis under “One Country, Two Systems”, the politics of “fear of losing” and the institutional weakness to reform and change under the current system of “Hong Kong people governing Hong Kong”.

Originality/value

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government should take initiatives to address the above problems.

Details

Public Administration and Policy, vol. 22 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1727-2645

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Article
Publication date: 5 July 2013

Anthony B.L. Cheung

The purpose of this paper is to explain the evolution of the system of public governance in Hong Kong, the various public sector reforms undertaken over the past two to…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explain the evolution of the system of public governance in Hong Kong, the various public sector reforms undertaken over the past two to three decades, and the present quagmire in governance resulting in a looming crisis in public trust and governability.

Design/methodology/approach

The research for the paper is based on opinion polls conducted by the University of Hong Kong Public Opinion Programme, and the findings of government reports, international organizations, official documents of the Hong Kong government, surveys by international and domestic organizations, and media reports.

Findings

The paper shows that the present political configuration of governance in Hong Kong had largely thrived on the pre‐1997 colonial logic of administrative state and government by bureaucracy. Such a system has now become hard to sustain due to rising political distrust and cynicism caused partly by the democratic deficit and the absence of the politics of responsibility. Hong Kong was a pioneer of public sector reforms in the 1980s and 1990s, but such reforms – grounded in the NPM (new public management) logic of management efficiency – no longer suffice to cope with the growing crisis of governability. It is argued that rebuilding trust and governability should be put at the forefront of the governance reform agenda.

Originality/value

The value of the paper is to show that despite good external ratings, the domestic perceptions of the performance of governance might be very different due to internal social and political problems. Administrative and management reforms merely copying external models, without touching on the fundamental and structural issues, are unlikely to forge a common sense of purpose and identity that is needed for sustainable governance.

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Article
Publication date: 5 July 2013

David S. Jones and Anthony B.L. Cheung

Abstract

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 26 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

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Article
Publication date: 5 July 2013

Osamu Koike

The purpose of this paper is to examine the features and impact of performance management reforms implemented in the bureaucracies of several Asian states.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the features and impact of performance management reforms implemented in the bureaucracies of several Asian states.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper draws on government reports, reports of international bodies, and the data produced for various governance indicators, as well as scholarly analysis of performance management and new public management.

Findings

After the 1997 Asian financial crisis, many Asian countries, including developed and developing, have introduced a variety of performance management systems into their bureaucracies. This has been encouraged by international agencies as part of their “good governance” agendas. Despite this, the goal of achieving efficient and workable public administration has still not been realized in many cases. Anti‐corruption measures are not effective, and efficiency and service delivery in public organization has not significantly improved. However, political leaders must recognize that the building of rational legal bureaucracy in which patronage influence is reduced, creating networked governance, allowing engagement with civil society, and fostering high employee motivation, are the other prerequisites for achieving efficient and accountable government. Only then will performance management contribute to this aim.

Originality/value

The value of this paper is to show that within the context of Asian bureaucracies, performance management is not a panacea to guarantee improvements in public administration. Other requirements are necessary, as indicated above, especially the creation of rational legal bureaucracy.

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Article
Publication date: 1 September 1996

Anthony B.L. Cheung

Argues that from the 1980s onwards, the Hong Kong Government has initiated a series of reforms within the civil service which eventually have been subsumed within a…

Abstract

Argues that from the 1980s onwards, the Hong Kong Government has initiated a series of reforms within the civil service which eventually have been subsumed within a programme of public sector reform. The key features of these reforms are not dissimilar from the style of reform espoused within “new public management” (NPM) ideology. Argues that, despite attempts to adopt NPM ideology with regard to public sector reform, Hong Kong’s reforms do not share the same institutional reform logic as those of NPM. Suggests a political discourse of NPM‐based public sector reform which places the re‐legitimation of bureaucratic power as the key to understanding the reform process.

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 9 no. 5/6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

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Article
Publication date: 5 July 2013

Milan Tung‐Wen Sun, Mei‐Chiang Shih, Keng‐Ming Hsu and Jenhei Chen

The purpose of this paper is twofold: to analyse the diffusion of an innovative policy or service and the factors influencing it through an explorative study of the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is twofold: to analyse the diffusion of an innovative policy or service and the factors influencing it through an explorative study of the diffusion of the Bookstart program in Taiwan; and second, to provide an analytical framework for further study of this program.

Design/methodology/approach

The study is both empirical and theoretical. It uses data from existing studies and also agencies involved in Bookstart to explain the diffusion of the program. It then draws on theories of policy diffusion and the initial findings of this study to develop an analytical framework for the further study of the diffusion of the Bookstart program.

Findings

The Bookstart program, which is designed to promote reading habits for children 0 to 3 years old and to strengthen parent‐children relations, was originally initiated in the UK. It was first introduced into Taiwan in Taichung County in 2003. The paper shows how the program spread throughout Taiwan and indicates the role of the key players in the diffusion, including charitable institutions, local politicians and leaders, local authority agencies, and the Ministry of Education. The paper posits an analytical framework identifying factors which may help to promote or facilitate the diffusion. In this respect, the paper draws on the theoretical literature and also initial evidence from the research so far undertaken. This will guide the research in the next stage of the study.

Originality/value

This explorative study provides an example of the nature, process and direction of the diffusion of a policy or service innovation, and suggests the possible factors promoting or facilitating it, as identified in the initial findings of the research and in the relevant theoretical literature.

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 26 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 4 August 2008

Anthony B.L. Cheung

Despite an intensified anti-corruption campaign, China's economic growth and social transition continue to breed loopholes and opportunities for big corruption, leading to…

Abstract

Despite an intensified anti-corruption campaign, China's economic growth and social transition continue to breed loopholes and opportunities for big corruption, leading to a money-oriented mentality and the collapse of ethical standards, and exposing the communist regime to greater risk of losing moral credibility and political trust. In Hong Kong, the setting up of the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) in 1974 marked the advent of a new comprehensive strategy to eradicate corruption and to rebuild trust in government. The ICAC was not just an anti-corruption enforcement agency per se, but an institution spearheading and representing integrity and governance transformation. This chapter considers how mainland China can learn from Hong Kong's experience and use the fight against corruption as a major political strategy to win the hearts and minds of the population and reform governance in the absence of more fundamental constitutional reforms, in a situation similar to Hong Kong's colonial administration of the 1970s–1980s deploying administrative means to minimize a political crisis.

Details

Comparative Governance Reform in Asia: Democracy, Corruption, and Government Trust
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84663-996-8

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Article
Publication date: 5 July 2013

Jon S.T. Quah

The purpose of this paper is to attribute Singapore's good governance to the effective policies implemented by the People's Action Party (PAP) government and contend that…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to attribute Singapore's good governance to the effective policies implemented by the People's Action Party (PAP) government and contend that it will be difficult to transfer Singapore's experience to other countries because of Singapore's unique circumstances and favourable policy context.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper analyses four policies initiated by the PAP government: comprehensive reform of the Singapore Civil Service; anti‐corruption measures; decentralization of the Public Service Commission; and payment of competitive salaries to attract and retain the best candidates to the government. The effectiveness of these policies is assessed by referring to Singapore's performance on eight governance indicators.

Findings

The four policies are effective, as reflected in Singapore's superior rankings and scores on eight indicators: Global Competitiveness Report's (GCR's) competence of public officials; World Bank's indicator on government effectiveness; Political Economic Risk Consultancy's (PERC's) survey on bureaucratic effectiveness; Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index; PERC's survey on corruption; World Bank's indicator on control of corruption; World Bank's ease of doing business survey; and GCR's public trust of politicians survey. However, as Singapore's good governance is the result of the PAP government's political will and its favourable policy context, it is difficult to transfer Singapore's experience elsewhere because of the limited political will and unfavourable policy contexts in many Asian countries.

Originality/value

This paper will be useful to those interested in learning how Singapore succeeded in promoting good governance.

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 26 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

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Article
Publication date: 5 July 2013

David Seth Jones

The purpose of the paper is to examine features and impact of recent reforms introduced by the Philippines government to deal with the longstanding shortcomings in its…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of the paper is to examine features and impact of recent reforms introduced by the Philippines government to deal with the longstanding shortcomings in its procurement system.

Design/methodology/approach

The research for the paper is based on reports by international organizations, official documents of the Philippines government, surveys by international and domestic organizations, interviews with relevant officials and media reports.

Findings

The findings show that the reforms have focused on fostering competition, increasing transparency, standardizing procedures, enhancing end‐product quality and contractor reliability, ensuring proper planning and budgeting, combatting corruption, and strengthening accountability. These reforms were intended to create a procurement system more in line with international best practices. However the paper shows that the impact has been less than promised. This is due to limitations of certain provisions of the reforms and weaknesses in both implementation and in the accountability of the procuring entities. A key factor in undermining the reforms is widespread corruption, which continues to affect many aspects of the procurement system. The article identifies two important and related reasons for such failings: elite capture of the government and bureaucracy by a powerful network of business leaders from well‐established landed families, who have close links with the political establishment; and second, a long‐established culture of informal influence in the Philippine state bureaucracy (what may be termed the informal bureaucracy), which has been used to maximum effect by the elite network of business leaders. As a result, this network has been able to influence the reforms to serve its own interests and ensure its continued dominance of the procurement market.

Originality/value

The value of the paper is to show how administrative reforms, no matter how well formulated they are, may be readily undermined in the process of implementation by elite groups able to influence government bureaucracy through an informal culture.

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 26 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

Keywords

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