Explain the emergence and growth of New Public Administration.

Emergence and Growth of New Public Administration:

The New Public Administration as a, movement inspired by younger scholars to challenge several tenets of administration. The credit for inspiring New Public Administration Movement goes to Dwight Waldo. The two works, Towards a New Public Administration: The Minnowbrook Perspective edited by Frank Marini in 1971 and Public Administration in a Time of Turbulence edited by Dwight Waldo was published in 1971 generated the concept of New Public Administration.

These books represented the ideas of thirty-three young scholars and practitioners of Public Administration at Minnowbrook Conference site held in 1967. Thus, from the Minnowbrook Conference, the New Public Administration was emerged. This conference was held in 1967 under the exhortation of Dwight Waldo and under the academic leadership of Frank Marini, George Frederickson, Joseph Wages, Charles Lindblom, Vincent Ostrani etc.

The major landmarks in the growth and emergence of New Public Administration are:

  • The Honey Report on Higher Education for Public Service, 1967.
  • The Philadelphia Conference on the Theory and Practice of Public Administration, 1967.
  • The Minnowbrook Conference-I, 1968.
  • The Minnowbrook Conference-II.

The Honey Report on Higher Education for Public Service, 1967.

It was in 1966, John Honey of Syracuse University undertook an evaluative study of Public Administration as a field of study in the US Universities. The Honey report was submitted in the year 1967. It identified four problems conforming the discipline which needed immediate actions. These are;

  • Uncertainty and confusion over the status of the discipline,
  • Institutional shortcoming, and
  • Lack of communication between the scholars and practitioners of Public Administration.

This report recommended for setting up of a National Commission on Public Service Education to provide leadership in the field. It also suggested for generation of resources from government and business, encouraging higher studies in public administration. Those who were interested to become teacher of Public Administration for them a special programme of fellowship should be started. Facilities also provided to scholars for programs of Public Administration and public affairs by federal, State and local governments.

A substantial programme of fellowships should be started for Post-Graduate and doctoral level-students preparing for public services. This report also provide support for university personnel engaged in research on governmental and public affairs issues. Inspite of its shortcomings, the report laid the basis for examining the role of public administration in generating social awareness.

The Philadelphia Conference.

In 1967, the American Academy of Political and Social Science under the chairmanship of James C. Charles-worth, organized a conference on The Theory and Practice of Public Administration in Phildelphia. Aim of this conference is to discuss the scope, objectives and methods of Public Administration. The major view points that emerged out of the conference are:

The dichotomy between policy and administration was considered meaningless, due to the inter-linkages between the policy-making and implementation functions of the discipline.

Public Administration as a discipline and practice needs to focus more on social problems such as poverty, unemployment, environment and so on.

Training of administrators in professional schools.

Emphasis on administrative ethic in the training programs.

Promoting social equity and other values such as efficiency, accountability, administrative responsiveness, people’s participation in decision-making.

Flexibility in the scope of discipline that would facilitate its development. The massive increase in the functions and responsibilities of the government calls for widening of the scope of public administration.

Training programs in Public Administration should not only provide management abilities and techniques skills, but also deepen the social sensitivity of the trainees.

Excessive emphasis of adherence to other internal mechanisms increases the hierarchy, and administrative rigidity. Hence to enhance its efficiency, there is need for management flexibility and other innovations.

This conference has provided a broad philosophical basis to the discipline of public administration. The outcome was the convening of the Minnowbrook Conference of 1968.

The First Minnowbrook Conference.

The First Minnowbrook Conference was the youth conference on Public Administration and it was this academic get together which gave rise to New Public Administration. The genesis of the Minnowbrook Conference lay in two factors. Firstly, it was a turbulent period designed by numerous societal problems and public administration was not interested to solve them.

Secondly, there was a need to hear young scholars and partitioners of the discipline as Public Administration which was facing a kind of generation gap. These conference suggested for active and participate citizenry, implementation in the decision-making process, and public policy approach to public administration. It also suggested for responsive government to manage change.

The Second Minnowbrook Conference.

The Second Minowbrook Conference held in September 4, 1988, twenty years after the first conference. It was attended by sixty-eight scholars and practitioners of public administration and other disciplines such as history, economics, political science, psychology and soon. It was held against the backdrop of the changing role of state and government, more privatization, and increasing role for non-state actors in the governance process. This conference examined the theory and practice of public administration in the changing scenario.

These two conferences were mentioned in the works of Marini and Dwight. Marini’s book “Toward a New Public Administration the Minnowbrook perspective” and Dwight Waldo’s, “Public Administration in a Time Turbulence” represented the ideas, views and philosophy of the New Public Administration. There has been no serious publication on New Public Administration since 1971.

Closure:

The New Public Administration have rejected the view that administration is value neutral. It fosters a new set of values. It advocates humanism, personal growth, individual dignity etc. It also advocates citizen participation and neighborhood control over street-level bureau-cries. It supports bureaucratic responsiveness. It doesn’t totally oppose the classical values of public administration like efficiency, economy, productivity and centralization.

But it suggested that Public Administration merely committed to efficiency and economy can still perspectuate injustice, inequality and poverty. Therefore, significance given to the New Public Administration and the New Public Administrative growth.

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