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Consequently, actors in civic society should have some basic knowledge about the concepts, results, and effects of NPM-related reforms in the public sector. Skip to main content Skip to table of contents. International Encyclopedia of Civil Society Edition. Contents Search. New Public Management. How to cite. Introduction New Public Management hereafter NPM is a doctrine of administrative reform that has been well-known for approximately 30 years. This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access. Barzelay, M. The new public management. Google Scholar. Christensen, T. New public management.

The transformation of ideas and practice.

Ewan Ferlie

Aldershot: Ashgate. Ferlie, E. The Oxford handbook of public management. Another element of NPM was performance management. Monitoring and evaluation, output control, accreditation, performance measurement were the main sub-themes of performance management. Three managers stated that:. Public sector monitoring is based on input control, and it leads to inefficiency.

Thus, we need a new model of control that will be based on output control. NPM can help us using performance management with which we can recognize good staff from bad staff. We have to try to use downsizing strategies to resolve this problem. In my opinion, NPM can help us in knowing the real amount of resources needed in our organizations. So, we have to use operational budgeting. It leads to increase efficiency, motivation and performance among staff. Cost-saving incentives, recruitment restrictions and operational budgeting were the sub-themes of this element of NPM. Attention to the customer was one of the main elements of NPM.

Public managers noted that customer orientation is a missing ring Persian te in Iranian public organizations and NPM without attention to the customer is incomplete. We identified six sub-themes for this element of NPM: customer charters, advertisement, developing a complaint tracking system, customer orientation programs, using the information technology and physical access.

New Public Management

So, our planning should be based on customer needs. Therefore, we have to create a customer-oriented culture in the public organizations, and attempt to involve people in planning for their health.


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In addition, we can use information technology for communication with customer. For example, we can use SMS system for conveying information to the customers. From the perspective of managers participated in the present study, nine main infrastructures are necessary to implement NPM Figure 2. NPM may not be correctly performed in the absence of trust between managers and staffs.

Furthermore, providing quality services is depended on the employees and managers attitude, skills, commitments and efforts. Moreover, the public sector managers should use information technology to assemble a mixture of technical skills with financial resources needed to implement the reforms.


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  • Figure 2 Infrastructures for implementing of new public management NPM in public health complex. In this qualitative study, we identified six elements of NPM which are suitable for public health complex from the perspectives Iranian health managers. According to the results, the managers had an overall positive attitude toward NPM. Kalimullah et al. In another study six elements were reported for NPM: decentralization, privatization, orientation of the results from the market mechanism toward the public sector, private sector management practices, and introduction of participation.

    In this study, the elements of NPM were reported to be successfully implemented in public organizations Babravicius and Dzemyda, From the perspective of participants in the present study, if the elements of NPM are selected properly and in the case of infrastructures provided, the resulted reforms would improve the performance of the public health sector.

    Therefore, before implementing NPM, public health complex should provide the essential infrastructures. Studies have noted that developing countries cannot provide resources and managerial capacity for adopting NPM reforms Flynn, In these countries, weak administrative and implementation capacity and resource constraints have been reported as the main barriers to public administration and management reforms Batley and Larbi, ; Fernandez and Rainey, Therefore, before implementation of NPM, managers and employees need to be completely informed about such reforms.

    Primarily, organizational culture should be revised and information technology should be developed. Also, The organizations should be rehabilitated from the aging infrastructures and strong commitment between managers with suitable tools should be created. In many developed countries England, Canada and Australia and some developing countries Egypt, Malaysia and New Zealand , the governments after providing appropriate infrastructures have been successfully performed the NPM reforms Aucoin and Peter, ; Hood, ; Barzelay, ; De Boer et al.

    Public managers in our study were interested in learning new methods of management. They believed that service quality and performance in public health complex may be improved through applying managerial skills.

    According to their opinion, employees need to be empowered, as well. Our study showed that the managers in public health complex tend to have freedom in management, and they want to participate in decision-making processes on human resource management and budgeting. They mentioned the need for delegation of authority in their systems which may lead to motivation in management.

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    New public management

    They also announced the need for more participants on the compilation of strategic plannings. The managers in our study mentioned the need for using technology for benchmarking and relationship with customers. They also noted that if we want to have increased level of satisfaction among customers, improved management structures and time management, we should provide our customers with information technologies like SMS system and effective automation, as well. Decentralization was another main element of NPM Constantinou-Miltiadou, and one of the central factors in changing public sector and making new public administrations Hope, Decentralization is a broad term, that may be defined as the transfer of authority or responsibility for decision making, planning, management or resource allocation from the central government to the field units, district administrative units, local government, regional or functional authorities, semiautonomous public authorities, parasitical organizations, private entities and nongovernmental private voluntary organizations Dzimbiri, Decentralization also involves the delegation of more authority over the officials working within the field, and closer to the problems Engida and Bardill, Moreover, downsizing may lead to decrease in the cost of public organizations Ferlie, The results of our study showed that decentralization is somewhat implemented in the Iranian health complex but the rules are still very inflexible and bureaucracy is high.

    New Public Management Introduction by Lane Jan Erik

    They mentioned that if we want to work with efficiency, senior managers should be trusted by public health managers and the bureaucracy should be decreased, as well. Managers in our study noted their tendency to manage like the managers in the private sectors. They said that authority, as a factor of decentralization is an essential element of NPM needed for the well management of health systems. From their point of views, authority and effective performance are correlated together.

    As a result, if organizations want to maintain their managers with accountability for the output, they should give the managers some levels of control over their subordinates. In Sweden, individual agencies are responsible for authority on employment and human resource management. Furthermore, collective bargaining among local-level public employers, has widely been decentralized and wage-setting systems have been reformed to make them more flexible, individualized and performance-oriented Bach and Bordogna, In the Cypriot public health sector, decentralization of managerial authority and creating flexibility to managers are main elements for NPM reforms Constantinou-Miltiadou, One of the elements of NPM mentioned by managers was performance management.

    The aim of this element is to report the outputs of public organizations and to apply these data to reward or penalize Constantinou-Miltiadou, It is strongly and implicitly depended upon the other elements of the reform Demediuk, Performance management in Cyprus was created in response to change environmental conditions, institutional resources and individual values.


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    • This element in this country may lead to new progress in the public sector through confirmation of vision, goals, strategies, performance measures and indicators and reporting systems. Many countries like United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Norway have used performance management to improve the quality of services delivered to their citizens Dixon et al.

      Managers in our study explained that controls in the public health complex are based on inputs and not outputs which is insufficient for performance management. From their points of view, output and outcome controls as well as paying attention to quality and performance measurement are essential tools for public health complex.

      One of the main results of performance management was the need of public health complex to accreditation with the hope to encourage public and private health complex to compete for better and higher quality. In addition, accreditation may increase motivation between organizations for implementing effective activities. The market-type mechanism, discipline and parsimony budgetary process and customer orientation were the other NPM elements emphasized by the health managers.

      Public health organizations, through market mechanisms eg, competition with private sector, advertisement and grading , are supposedly forced to improve the quality of their services. Discipline and parsimony budgetary process was another element of NPM that draws a relationship between what organizations did and the cost of what they did McLaughlin et al. Many countries, after implementation of NPM elements, have found increased levels of efficiency and effectiveness in public organizations.

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      In New Zealand, privatization was used to transfer the ownership of public enterprises to the private interests. Furthermore, in the public sector, it was attempted to contract arrangements for service delivery. In order to enhance accountability among managers they also used agreements, plans, budgets, financial reports and presentation of budgets, estimates, plans, and annual reports. There is no budgeting in the Iranian public health complex and it depends on the higher levels. Managers in the present study explained their need to operational and flexible budgeting.

      Finally, customer orientation from the perspective of the managers was very important and they need to have resources for increasing efficiency. They also noted that to increase customer satisfaction, there is a need to correct implementation of all the elements of NPM. We were able to interview a large sample of participants.

      However, due to the nature of qualitative studies, we cannot generalize our findings to the other populations. Participants in our study included both men and women from various age groups. A large number of the managers contacted by us to participate in the study announced agreement to take part in the interview sessions which indicate an excellent response rate. Also, illustrative verbatim quotes were provided for each sub-theme to demonstrate the relationship between the interpretation and the evidence for increasing trustworthiness.

      We did not invite the health care managers of health centers in Tehran, Shiraz and Esfahan provinces due to the recent initiation of health complex in these provinces. The health care sector is of particular concern to society due to its growing costs and operational complexities. In order to solve such problems, the NPM methods have been proposed in the health care systems of a majority of Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development countries with the hope to avoid discrimination and injustice and to control costs.

      NPM is also used to provide a system with better efficiency and progress while dealing with distrust. One of the important strategies in the Iranian health system reforms is health complex. In public health complex, the managers are requested to use the characteristics of private sectors in health care delivery.