What is New Public Administration (NPA)?
New Public Administration (NPA) is the long result and outcome of the inefficiency of the Old Public Administration, where need of the people was remain unfulfilled due the inefficiency of the administrators. It was believed that policy formulation is a field of political leaders and policy implementation is a field of Public Administration.
Origin Of NPA
The emergence of the New Public Administration (NPA) can be traced back to the late 1960s when American society appeared to be in a state of disruption, dissolution, and breakdown. At that time world was facing serious economic and social problems.
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Unemployment, poverty, population, etc., were increasing very rapidly, and it was considered that these problems were due to the inefficiency of the administrator.
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Why need for NPA?
The need for Public Administration arises as it was thought in the early 1960s that the machinery of public administration was not responding to the needs of the people as it was considered that policy formulation was an area for the political leaders, while the administrators had only to implement the policy so framed.
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Hence, a need arose to rethink the objective and scope of public administration, and the concept of New Public Administration emerged as a result thereof.
Observation of Nigro on New Public Adminstration (NPA)
Nigro and Nigro observe: “While there is no doctrine to which all persons associated with the new public administration subscribe, most emphasize the principle of social equity – the realization of which they feel should be the purpose of public administration. They believe that in the past Public Administration has neglected the question of values concerning the social purposes of government and that public officials have emphasized efficiency and economy of execution, often at the expense of social equity. These officials, they say, profess neutrality but in fact have been far from neutral, even catering to special interests.”
Features of New Public Administration (NPA)
NPA focuses chiefly on the following things:
- Environment Change and Administrative Responsiveness: This feature focuses on operational flexibility and organizational adaptability to meet the environmental change, should be in-built into the administrative system.
- Relevance/Rationality of changes: The second feature says that people should see changes as relevant, meaning that changes should be specific to the area’s and people’s needs.
- Strong Management and Good Worker Relations within Organization: Third Feature of New Public Administration (NPA) emphasis on Management and worker relations within organization. There should be equal emphasis both on efficiency and human considerations. The new approach must satisfy both the efficiency and human relations criterion to succeed.
- Organizational Hierarchies: NPA suggests that small decentralized and flexible hierarchies in organizational structures are more suitable in view of the increasing role of the administration.
- Heterogeneous scope of studying public administration: Since public affairs are highly varied and complex, no single approach in the study of public administration out of various approaches, namely the management approach, human relations approach, political approach, public-choice approach, etc., would be adequate to guide the actions of administrator. Hence education in public administration should be heterogeneous and wide-based, as is advocated by NPA.
- Three Anti-goals of NPA: NPA has advocated three anti-goals,; hence, its literature is called “anti-positivist”. These are :
(a) Rejecting a definition of public administration as value-free, i.e. public administration should be value-oriented since not all the inclinations to the values are bad and hence are desirable sometimes.
(b) Rejecting a rationalist and perhaps deterministic view of humankind since human behavior is quite unpredictable. Public Administration studies should hence focus on what the administration should “become” instead of focusing on what the administration should “be”.
(c) Rejecting “Politics – Administration Dichotomy” since administrators today are involved in policy formulation and policy implementation at all stages.
Four Goals of NPA: NPA advocates four goals to be achieved in the future, namely – Relevance, Values, Equity, and Change.
- Relevance: Contemporary Public Administration has been adversely criticized as it has done nothing to solve the problems and issues confronting society. In view of this, the present concept of NPA suggests that administrators should deal explicitly with the administrative actions’ political and normative implications. In this regard relevance of administrative actions not only to the administration but also to the public should be kept in mind.
- Value: NPA rejects procedural neutrality and emphasizes that public officials must advocate the interests of disadvantaged people. However, emphasis on personal values that benefit the elite sections of the societies should be rejected.
- Social Equity: A public administration system that fails to work for the changes and fails to redress the grievance of the minorities is likely to be eventually used to suppress those minorities. Hence the goal of administration should be to bring about social equity and thereby harmony and social integration in the society.
- Change: Change is necessary to prevent Public Administration from coming under the dominance of the powerful interest groups. Now the question arises as to what changes are desirable and what should be the direction of these changes? In NPA, these changes should bring about social equity, and the changes brought about should suit the future needs.