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A Comparative Review of Traditional and New Public Administration and Critique of New Public Management Yorid Ahsan Zia∗and M. Zeb Khan∗∗Abstract The problems of collective nature have always received a good deal of attention from politicians, economists, and academicians in an attempt to seek solutions that ensure efficient utilization of resources for prosperity and progress of the present generation without compromising the future generations to meet their needs. Keeping this end in view, many approaches have been advocated at different times ranging from market economy to welfare state to the most recent focus on public-private partnership. Each approach offers some benefits as well as costs. This study is an attempt to look deeply into both traditional approach to public administration and New Public Management (NPM) with special focus on their similarities and differences in addition to critically examining some assertions associated with NPM. The aim is to build on the strengths of both approaches and overcome their weaknesses for serving the rising expectations of citizens properly. Keywords: Public administration; New public management; Efficiency; Effectiveness Introduction Public administration has been in practice since the dawn of human civilization but it is nascent as an academic field. It constitutes the government machinery and is supposed to implement policies formulated in response to public aspirations and needs. The success of governments, therefore, depends to a greater extent on how public administration effectively and efficiently meets the changing demands of the society. The emergence of public administration as a field of scientific inquiry began with the seminal article of Woodrow Wilson titled, “the study of administration”.1He argued that it is difficult to run modern complex governments without thorough ∗Dr. Yorid Ahsan Zia, Lecturer, Quaid-e-Azam College of Commerce, University of Peshawar. Email: [email protected]∗∗Muhammad Zeb Khan, Assistant Professor, FAST National University, Peshawar Campus.
A Comparative Review of Traditional … Yorid & ZebThe DialogueVolume IX Number 4 429knowledge and strongly advocated politics-administration dichotomy. Wilson was followed by scholars such as F.W. Taylor, Max Weber, Luther Gulick, Herbert Simon, Buchanan, Williamson, and others who shed light on different aspects of public administration. The entire spectrum of ideas pertaining to public administration could be placed on a continuum. On one extreme are the theories, epitomized by bureaucracy, that advocate hierarchical structure and centralization, strict conformity to policies and procedures, standardization, and paternalism. On the other extreme are the proponents of fluid structure and decentralization, result-based controls, and customization. New Public Management represents this school of thought. Moreover, many countries have started revisiting the roles and responsibilities of government institutions with many of them having been subjected to privatization as panacea for bureau-pathologies.