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As the 21st century moves ahead, it is increasingly evident that globalization and democratization are strong forces playing crucial roles in shaping public sector transformation around the world. For Asian countries, the key questions are, how should selected reform ideas from other countries be diffused, and which parts of one's traditional government and culture should be retained? A common choice among Asian countries is to replace government with governance. Transforming bureaucracies from government to governance involves the acceptance of certain democratic principles such as accountability, openness, transparency, integrity, corruption-free, and high performance standards (Bowornwathana, 2006, pp. 667–680).
In this chapter, the words “big businessmen at the helm” refers to the situation when wealthy and prominent businessmen become prime ministers, ministers, and hold other…
In this chapter, the words “big businessmen at the helm” refers to the situation when wealthy and prominent businessmen become prime ministers, ministers, and hold other key political positions in government. Many high political positions in governments around the world are held by big businessmen-turned-politicians. For them the distinction between business and government is blurred and maybe useless. The typical business lobbyists have conquered government. We can no longer expect government to act in the public interests when dealing with powerful companies belonging to government politicians. When big businessmen are at the helm of government, combating corruption becomes an elephantine task.
The import of the idea of “governance” into the Thai polity has resulted in several competing interpretations. The body of knowledge on governance in Thailand is not yet…
The import of the idea of “governance” into the Thai polity has resulted in several competing interpretations. The body of knowledge on governance in Thailand is not yet well developed. Chaos and contradictions are characteristics of the field of study. First, the author explains the six interpretations of governance: the new democracy or democratic governance, good governance, the efficiency perspective, the Ten Guiding Principles for the King, the Thaksin system, and the ethical issue interpretation. Second, the author discusses the four reform consequences arisen from the import of governance: the difficulty in determining which is the correct prototype of governance, the problem from cloning deformed hybrids, the confrontation among competing hybrids, and the appropriate level of analysis for the concept of governance.
Bidhya Bowornwathana is associate professor at the Department of Public Administration, Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand. His research interests are on governance and administrative reform. His writings appear in journals such as Governance: An International Journal of Policy and Administration, Public Administration and Development, Australian Journal of Public Administration, Asian Survey, Public Administration Quarterly, Public Administration: An International Quarterly, Asia Pacific Journal of Public Administration, Asian Review of Public Administration, and Asian Journal of Political Science. He has written several books in Thai on administrative reform and public administration. He co-edited a book with John P. Burns on Civil Services Systems in Asia (Edward Elgar, 2001). He also has chapters in recent books such as in Christopher Pollitt and Colin Talbot, eds., Unbundled Government (Taylor and Francis, 2004), Ron Hodges, ed., Governance and the Public Sector (Edward Elgar, 2005), Eric E. Otenyo and Nancy S. Lind, eds., Comparative Public Administration: The Essential Readings (Elsevier, 2006), and Kuno Schedler and Isabella Proeller, eds., Cultural Aspects of Public Management Reform (Elsevier, 2007). He was Chairman of Department of Pubic Administration, Chulalongkorn University. He has served several times as member and secretary of the national administrative reform commissions appointed by Thai governments.
During the last decade, globalization and democratization have been the major forces that helped transform the structures, functions and processes of Asian public sectors…
During the last decade, globalization and democratization have been the major forces that helped transform the structures, functions and processes of Asian public sectors. These transformation efforts of Asian countries vary considerably depending on local context, and have met with different degrees of success. Some countries experienced smooth transformations. For others, the reform process has been more volatile. These issues were explored at a conference 7–9 July 2008 in Bangkok, Thailand, hosted by the Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University, and co-sponsored by the International Public Management Network, the Asia-Pacific Governance Institute, and Thailand Democracy Watch. This book presents some of the works contributed by participating scholars and practitioners at the conference. The contents fall into three categories: corruption and anti-corruption initiatives, public financial management (PFM) and public management reforms with emphasis on performance and results.
This chapter proposes a cultural perspective towards understanding the nature and outcomes of governance reforms. The argument is that “culture” is a promising, though…
This chapter proposes a cultural perspective towards understanding the nature and outcomes of governance reforms. The argument is that “culture” is a promising, though somehow neglected, explanatory factor. There are three major roles that the cultural factor can play. First, governmental culture acts as the intervening variable. Many reform attempts around the world failed because governmental culture obstructed reform success by producing perverse or ugly reform hybrids. When reform innovations were chosen, the cultural factor was not seriously taken into consideration. Second, governmental culture can become the dependent variable. The basic objective of governance reform is to ultimately change the governmental culture of the society. Therefore, reform cannot become successful until the reform initiatives eventually change the basic cultural traits of government. Since changing governmental culture takes a long time, there is a feeling of hopelessness in conducting reform. The more reforms are introduced, the more things remain the same. Third, governmental culture performs the role of an independent variable that affect the processes and outcomes of governance reform. There are other competing independent variables in the explanatory equation, and the cultural factor becomes a less visible factor for political scientists who prefer to highlight other variables, such as power and institutions.
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…
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.