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المملكة العربية السعودية وزارة التعليم الجامعة السعودية اإللكترونية Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Ministry of Education Saudi Electronic University College of Administrative and Financial Sciences Assignment-1 MGT425 – Spreadsheet Decision Modeling Deadline: 16/10/2021 @ 23:59 Course Name: Spreadsheet Decision Modeling Student’s Name: Course Code: MGT425 Student’s ID Number: Semester: 1 CRN: 12937 Academic Year: 1442/1443 H For Instructor’s Use only Instructor’s Name: Dr. Noorjahan Sherfudeen Students’ Grade: Marks Obtained/Out of Level of Marks: High/Middle/Low Instructions – PLEASE READ THEM CAREFULLY • The Assignment must be submitted on Blackboard (WORD format only) via allocated folder. • Assignments submitted through email will not be accepted. • Students are advised to make their work clear and well presented, marks may be reduced for poor presentation. This includes filling your information on the cover page. • Students must mention question number clearly in their answer. • Late submission will NOT be accepted. • Avoid plagiarism, the work should be in your own words, copying from students or other resources without proper referencing will result in ZERO marks. No exceptions. • All answered must be typed using Times New Roman (size 12, double-spaced) font. No pictures containing text will be accepted and will be considered plagiarism). • Submissions without this cover page will NOT be accepted. Course Learning Outcomes-Covered Aligned PLOs Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs) MGT.K.3 Explain simple decision models and management science ideas that (1.2) provide powerful and (often surprising) qualitative insight about large spectrum of managerial problems. MGT.S.1 Demonstrate the tools for deciding when and which decision models to (2.1) use for specific problems. Question Question 1 Question 2 Assignment Instructions: • Log in to Saudi Digital Library (SDL) via University’s website • On first page of SDL, choose “English Databases” • From the list find and click on EBSCO database. • In the Search Bar of EBSCO find the following article: Title: Towards “Cognitively Complex” Problem Solving: Six Models of Public Service Reforms (Case Study). Author: Willy McCourt (June 2017) Assignment Questions: (Marks 05) Read the above Article and answer the following Questions: 1. Explain the problem-solving approach discussed in this article. (450-500 words) 3-Marks 2. What is your opinion about this study and how it is related to learning in the course of management science?. (250-300 words) 2-Marks Answers: Received: April 2014 | Accepted: June 2017 DOI: 10.1111/dpr.12306 ARTICLE Towards “cognitively complex” problem-solving: Six models of public service reform Willy McCourt Global Development Institute, University of Manchester Correspondence Willy McCourt Email: [email protected] Abstract This article proposes “cognitively complex problem- solving” as a refinement of the recent problem-solving approach to public service reform, and as an addition to existing political and institutional explanations for the frequent failure of reform. It substantiates the new problem- solving model by identifying and selectively reviewing six models of reform that have been practised in developing countries over the past half-century: public administration, decentralization, pay and employment reform, New Public Management, integrity and corruption reforms and “bottom-up” reforms. A short case study of Myanmar is presented to illustrate the problem- solving approach in practice. KEYWORDS New public management, problem-solving, public service reform 1 | IN T RO D U C T ION : FAC ING UP TO FAILURE When Apollo declared through his Oracle at Delphi that no one was wiser than Socrates, what the god was trying to get across (at least according to Socrates himself, who declined to take the compliment at face value) was that “The wisest of you men is he who has realised, like Socrates, that in respect of wisdom he is really worthless” (Plato, 1969, p. 52). To say that what we know about public service reform is “worthless” would be an exaggeration. But a confession of our relative ignorance may still be the beginning of wisdom. It will be fruitful if it helps us to frame the problem that faces us in a way that stimulates readers to propose approaches that stand a better chance of success than the ones we have been following up to now. That is what this article tries to do. © The Author 2018. Development Policy Review © 2018 Overseas Development Institute O748 | wileyonlinelibrary.com/journal/dpr Dev Policy Rev. 2018;36:O748–O768. MCCOURT | O749 2 | E V ID E NC E A N D E X P LA NATIONS: POLITICS AN D IN ST IT U T IO N S 2.1 | Evidence | Politics The most robust evidence that we have of reform outcomes is in the form of World Bank project evaluation reports. The Bank’s Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) found that that only 33% of the public service reform projects completed between 1980 and 1997 had been rated as satisfactory (World Bank, 1999). When IEG revisited the topic nine years later, public sector reform was rated joint eighth among the Bank’s twelve project sectors in terms of project success, and its success rate had declined over the previous five years more sharply than all but one of the other eleven sectors (World Bank, 2008). Reviewing overlapping evidence just before the first IEG evaluation, Nunberg (1997b) also found that the success rate was lower than for Bank projects as a whole. We should keep these negative findings in perspective. World Bank projects are a skewed sle. The Bank operates predominantly in low-and middle-income countries where reform is difficult. The Bank’s own finding that its civil service reform projects have a poorer track record than other kinds of public service reform (such as public financial reform) disappears when we allow for the fact that they are disproportionately located in poor and unstable countries (Blum, 2014). The Bank’s perspective when it evaluates its projects is not necessarily the same as that of the beneficiaries or other stakeholders. Moreover, failure is by no means the exclusive prerogative of civil service reform, or even international development. Business start-ups in the US funded by venture capital have a failure rate of anything from 25% to 75%. Public policy failures in the UK have been common enough to provide the material for a substantial recent book by King and Crewe (2013) (Gage, 2012). However, even if we amend “relatively poor” to “relatively not bad,” the outcomes have not been good enough. Moreover, the “frequent failures” and the perception of public service reform as “out of fashion or too difficult in practice” (World Bank, 2008, pp. xvi, 65)—as recently as 2010, an internal Bank paper carried the title Why do Bank-supported public service reform efforts have such a poor track record?—are likely to have a chilling effect on activity if not addressed.1 In this article, we briefly review two existing explanatory factors, politics and institutions, before proposing a third factor of our own, cognitive complexity, which we illustrate through a discussion of alternative models of public service reform. 2.2 While IEG’s remedial recommendations in 1999 were mainly technocratic and piecemeal, by 2008, IEG was identifying “political feasibility” as a key factor. (Similarly, political commitment to reform by client governments had pride of place in Nunberg’s 1997 review.) This emphasis on politics reflected the political economy studies of the structural adjustment era, based on which the Bank’s 1998 Assessing Aid report concluded that “Successful reform depends primarily on a country’s institutional and political characteristics” (Cos #038; Esfahani, 2000; Johnson #038; Wasty, 1993; Nelson, 1990; World Bank, 1998, p. 53). The management of the Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) took the lesson to heart, with the Bank’s President at the time, James Wolfensohn (1999, p. 9), remarking that 1 In the author’s personal experience as a practitioner, this is already happening. O750 | MCCOURT It is clear to all of us that ownership is essential. Countries must be in the driver’s seat and set the course. They must determine goals and the phasing, timing and sequencing of programs. After the dawning of that realization on the international development agencies in the late 1990s, the decade of the 2000s could be called the decade of politics, with the Swedish and UK governments, and the World Bank, all sponsoring studies of the politics of reform (Dahl-Østergaard, Unsworth, Robinson, #038; Jensen, 2005), and with one of the largest US development consulting companies employing as many specialists in politics as in public administration (Cooley, 2008). The studies pointed to generic factors like technical capacity, insulation from societal interests and building incentives for politicians to embark on reform; and country-specific factors like the importance of public society and the media (Duncan, Macmillan, #038; Simutanyi, 2003; Robinson, 2007). 2.3 | Institutions2 | Beyond politics and institutions The Assessing Aid report highlighted institutional as well as political characteristics, and they are a second group of factors which affect the success of reform. Tanzania’s legal framework for public staff management illustrates their subtle influence. The Constitution, as well as primary and secondary legislation enacted over several decades, give the President immense direct powers, with few procedural checks on how the powers are exercised. For exle, the Public Service Act, 2002 states that (any) delegation to the Public Service Commission (PSC) “shall not preclude the President from himself exercising any function which is the subject of any delegation or authorization.” Further, “The President may remove any public servant from the service of the Republic if the President considers it in the public interest to do so.” An earlier Act states that “Whether the President validly performed any function conferred on him … shall not be inquired into by or in any court.”3 As a consequence, Tanzania’s senior officials have little job security. One of them remarked that “the President changes the top officers in the service in a similar way as (sic) he changes attire.” Yet increasing their security, or restoring the independence of the PSC, would require both a constitutional amendment and the revision or repeal of many separate laws and procedures; and, they, in turn, would require “political commitment” of the kind which we discussed in the previous section. (Bana #038; McCourt, 2006) 2.4 We have discussed politics and institutions quite briefly, not because they are minor factors, but because they are quite well understood by now (which is not to say, of course, that they have invariably translated into the practice of governments and development agencies). However, they do not provide an exhaustive explanation for reform outcomes. Organizations can succeed while others are failing within a single political dispensation (Grindle, 1997; Tendler, 1997). Similar institutions, such as the Commonwealth public service commissions which are responsible for appointing and, sometimes, managing public staff, have had different outcomes in different countries (McCourt, 2003, 2007). If we now focus for the remainder of this article on another group of factors, we do so in an additive 2 I use ‘institutions’ in this article to refer to the formal laws and agencies of the state (such as a Civil Service Law or an Election Commission), and not the informal institutions of society (such as the family). 3 http://bunge.parliament.go.tz/PAMS/docs/8-2002.pdf; http://polis.parliament.go.tz/PAMS/docs/16-1989.pdf. MCCOURT | O751 spirit. We acknowledge the political and institutional factors, but we suggest that they leave a significant explanatory residue. 3 | CO G N IT IV E LY CO MP L E X PROBLEM – S OLVING What is the residue, and how should we deal with it? This article proposes a problem-solving approach, viewing the different reform interventions as ways of dealing with the problem situation as different national governments have defined it. “Problem situation” is borrowed from Karl Popper (1989, 1999). Popper argues that at any given point in the history of science there is an agenda which arises from problems which current theories have created or failed to solve: “You pick up, and try to continue, a line of inquiry which has the whole background of the earlier development of science behind it.” Similarly, it seems to us that at any given point in the development of public administration in a particular country, there is an agenda of problems which the previous experience of reform has created, and which confronts the most perceptive national policy-makers and other stakeholders (Fritz, Kaiser, #038; Levy, 2009). This article is not alone in adopting a problem-solving approach. It follows Fritz et al. (2009), who applied it to political economy. Andrews (2013) has developed an alternative and more elaborate problem-solving model in parallel with this article. This article attempts to refine those approaches in one respect. Readers will be familiar with the saying “if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”4 Identifying a problem, or problem situation, is not an end in itself. We must propose a solution. And when we do so, at least in the experience of this author, we tend to fall back on the tools in our reform toolbox; all too often, reform problems do get treated as “nails.” In a globalized world, most reform does not start from first principles, but from previous reforms in other places (Dolowitz #038; Marsh, 2000). In other words, the suggestion is that public service reforms have sometimes failed because of the reformers’ cognitive narrowness. The notion of “cognitive complexity” is borrowed from psychology, where it is defined as an aspect of a person’s cognitive functioning which at one end is defined by the use of many constructs with many relationships to one another (complexity) and at the other end by the use of few constructs with limited relationships to one another (simplicity) (Cervone #038; Pervin, 2015). People with a large set of interpersonal constructs tend to have better social perception skills than those with a relatively small set (Delia, O’Keefe, #038; O’Keefe, 1982). This psychological finding has been applied in organization studies, in work which emphasizes the value in decision-making of a range of perspectives. A wide “information range” makes it easier to spot problems and opportunities, or reframe problems that have been intractable up to now (Bolman #038; Deal, 2003; George, 1972; Mitroff #038; Emshoff, 1979). It contributes to the “cognitive complexity” of reformers; their ability to entertain a range of options and engage in what Weick (1993), drawing on Lévi-Strauss, has called “bricolage” (Lévi-Strauss used this term to describe the characteristics of “mythical thought” or “the science of the concrete” associated with so-called “primitive” cultures, in contrast to modern technological thinking) rather than defaulting to a “best practice” solution of the kind criticized by Grindle (2007), Rodrik (2008) and many others.5 4 Though probably a traditional saying, it is often attributed to Abraham Maslow (1962, 1966), who wrote “I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.” 5 See also Wilkinson (2006) on the related concept of tolerance of ambiguity as an attribute of successful leaders. | O752 MCCOURT To be sure, cognitive complexity is not a sufficient condition for policy success, which also entails such features as ethical understanding and some finesse in action (Bartunek, Gordon, #038; Preszler Wethersby, 1983; Denison, Hooijberg, #038; Quinn, 1995). However, it seems plausible to suggest that it is a necessary one. | 4 M O D EL S OF P U B L IC S E RVICE REFORM In applying a “cognitively complex” approach to problem-solving, we cannot make bricks without straw. If we are serious about respecting the specific priorities of developing country policy-makers, and compensating for past cognitive deficiencies, then we will need a variety of tools. We flesh out the approach by a selective review of the experience of public service reform in developing countries. “Reform” is necessarily a broad term. Public service reform has been defined as “interventions that affect the organization, performance and working conditions of employees paid from central, provincial or state government budgets” (Rao, 2013). It can be seen as policies implemented by public agencies with the intention of improving some aspect of the functioning of that agency. In this article, it will be defined operationally as the six reform “families” which are listed in Table 1. In keeping with our problem-solving approach, the origin of reform is located in problems which policy-makers pose to themselves, or which circumstances thrust upon them.6 Abstracting from the practice of developing country governments over recent decades, six major problems are identified, and six families of reform are listed as attempted solutions. This stance aligns us unequivocally with those who prioritize context over “best practice.” We pay respect to successful reform models. But they must be understood in terms of the environment in which they have arisen; or, in the language used in this paper, in terms of the “problem situation” as particular policy-makers have perceived it. We reject the tendency of some international reform brokers to treat reform models as “widgets” (Joshi #038; Houtzager, 2012) which can be transferred unaltered without regard to the environments that they are transferred from and to. That point will be emphasized throughout this article. TABLE 1 6 Public Service Reform Problems and Models Problem Model Main Action Period 1. How can we put government on an orderly and efficient footing? “Weberian” public administration and capacity-building Post-independence period in south Asia and sub-Saharan Africa 2. How can we get government closer to the grassroots? Decentralization 1970s to present 3. How can we make government more affordable? Pay and employment reform 1980s and 1990s 4. How can we make government perform better and deliver on our key objectives? New Public Management 1990s to present 5. How can we make government more honest? Integrity and anti-corruption reforms 1990s to present 6. How can we make government more responsive to citizens? “Bottom-up” reforms Late 1990s to present Many others have recognized that governments tailor approaches to their circumstances (Nunberg, 1997a; Turner, 2002). MCCOURT | O753 Emphasizing context means recognizing that “vice may be virtue uprooted,” in the words of the Anglo-Welsh poet David Jones (1974, p. 56). It is not appropriate to express a preference for any of the approaches listed in Table 1, all of which are already normative rather than descriptive (the list does not include perverse problems which have absorbed some officials’ attention, such as how to make government a vehicle for rent-seeking or patronage). I hope instead to provide enough detail for readers to decide what they have to offer in terms of the “problem situation” in readers’ own countries or the countries with which they are concerned. Our simple problem-solving approach should not be taken literally. First, our models are what Weber called “ideal types.” They are abstracted from reality for analysis. Likewise, the periodization of the third column in the Table should be handled with a light touch. Governments did not suddenly discover honesty in the 1990s, and particular governments started pay and employment reform for the first time only in the 2000s (Morocco) or even later (Serbia). However, there have been periods when particular questions have dwelt on policy-makers’ minds. Public policy questions arise in the order they do partly because external shocks like the oil price rises of the 1970s foist them on policy-makers’ attention. But they also arise as reactions to the unintended consequences of the previous generation of reforms (here again we follow Popper, for whom managing unintended consequences was the essence of public policy).7 The bureaucratization that was the unintended consequence of Weberian public administration created the need for decentralization. The expansion of state capacity had the unintended consequence of creating a fiscal burden which pay and employment reform was framed to relieve. Context has a temporal as well as a spatial dimension. An administration’s “problem situation” is dynamic. By solving one problem we always create another as an unintended consequence. Moreover, just as grouping public service reform approaches in terms of policy problems provides a convenient structure for the article, so the periodization outlined in Table 1 gives us a convenient order in which to address the approaches. There is insufficient space in this article to deal with all six of the approaches. We shall discuss Approaches One, Four and Six in turn: Approaches Four and Six will be relevant to the Myanmar case presented later in the article. (For Approach Two, see Evans (2003) and Turner #038; Hulme (1997); for Three, see McCourt (2001) and Lindauer #038; Nunberg (Eds.) (1994); for Five, see Klitgaard (1988).) 5 | “ W E B E R IA N ” P U B L IC A D M INISTRATION AND CAPAC IT Y-B U IL D ING We shall briefly address this familiar concept. 5.1 | Bureaucracy and (neo)patrimonialism The public administration model in developing countries is essentially the classic Weberian model of bureaucracy harnessed to the needs of the developmental state. The German sociologist Max Weber located its origins, for both the public and private sectors, in the growth and complexity of the tasks of modern organizations; and also in democratization, which created an expectation that citizens, and members of an organization, would be treated equally. The main features of the model are: 7 See also Merton (1936). Merton and Popper seem to have come up with the idea independently of each other. O754 | MCCOURT • A separation between politics and elected politicians on the one hand and administration and appointed administrators on the other • Administration is continuous, predictable and rule-governed • Administrators are appointed on the basis of qualifications, and are trained professionals • There is a functional division of labour, and a hierarchy of tasks and people • Resources belong to the organization, not to the individuals who work in it • Public servants serve public rather than private interests (Minogue, 2001) There are partial exceptions, for exle the socialist countries of East Asia such as Lao PDR and Vietnam, which do not recognize the separation of administration and politics. But in practical terms, administrations that follow the Weberian model—and almost all do pay at least lip service—begin by putting in place a system of rules. Where staffing is concerned, we can expect to find a compendium of posts, arranged in a hierarchy according to rank, with statements of the duties expected of each post (in some countries this is called a “scheme of service”). There will be clear guidelines about how s should be advertised and filled, how pay grades are determined, and so on. The rules and guidelines will be overseen by central agencies such as the finance ministry and the public service commission or similar body. There will be similar rules for the control of government spending, overseen by the relevant central body, such as a procurement agency (Schick, 1998). Administration tends to be highly centralized: the model posits an unbroken hierarchical chain from the top (in the capital) to the bottom (in the remotest outpost of government). The tendency is to focus on inputs, in the sense of the efficient management of resources rather than outputs in the sense of the goods and services that the resources are used to produce, let alone outcomes in the sense of the social and economic results that derive from the outputs. Bureaucracy has a bad name in the popular imagination. However, a study commissioned by the World Bank in the run-up to its 1997 World Development Report found a close statistical connection between public bureaucracy and economic growth. The study data suggested that merit-based recruitment was the most important bureaucratic element, followed by promotion from within and career stability for public servants (Evans #038; Rauch, 1999). Further support for meritocracy came from a more detailed study of personnel management in the Kyrgyz and Slovak republics and in Romania. It highlighted the importance of sound administrative procedures underpinning merit, very much as outlined here (World Bank, 2003). So, we have recent evidence that Weber’s century-old insight was basically sound: the bureaucratic model was indeed the efficient successor to patrimonial regimes which had centred on the personal and arbitrary power of an absolute ruler. But there are a number of preconditions which may need to be in place for the model to produce the results that Weber anticipated. Let us mention two. The first is a culture in which rules are respected and followed. (This point has been emphasized by Schick. We expand on it later in this article.) A second condition is that the Weberian rules should not be undermined by patronage pressures. Weber did not anticipate that bureaucracy and patrimonialism would become fused in the hybrid of “neopatrimonialism,” where state resources are diverted for patronage purposes such as securing support in an election. This neopatrimonial hybrid is widespread, having been identified in modern times in places as far apart as Greece and Chicago (Clapham, 1982). As the state developed, it was perhaps inevitable that there would be an attempt to use its growing resources in the same way that “traditional” patrons used private resources: to co-opt supporters and ensure their loyalty (McCourt, 2007). But the neopatrimonial twist was that patronage operated by a single, visible patron mutated into patronage operated by political parties and other broad groupings, often organized on a national scale. With many individuals implicated at different levels, this stubborn MCCOURT | O755 neopatrimonial bush with its complex root system could be even harder to eradicate than its relatively simple patrimonial predecessor. Much recent reform effort has been devoted, to the task of eradication. | 5.2 Capacity-building A distinctive feature of public administration in developing countries is that, unlike industrialized countries, where capacity evolved gradually, developing countries have put in place crash programmes of capacity-building following independence and, more recently, armed conflict and state collapse. The programmes have centred on staff training and development. The assumption is that public administration is deficient because public administrators lack skills which can be readily imparted through training. The “training and visit” system for agriculture extension workers was a typical exle. In the context of a fixed programme of field visits overseen by their supervisors, extension workers received frequent one-day training sessions to impart the three or four most important agricultural recommendations that they should pass on to farmers in the following few weeks (Hulme, 1992). There is no doubt that capacity affects performance, as even politically orientated studies such as the collection edited by Nelson (1990) recognize. But we have learnt that capacity-building is a broad concept with a political dimension (Boesen #038; Therkildsen, 2005). Moreover, it is rarely effective in an organizational vacuum. For exle, capacity-building at the individual level usually takes place on training courses, away from the workplace. Learning designs need to make a bridge from training to the “action environment” of work—its organizational culture, management practices and communication networks—in the form of action plans, supervisor involvement and post-training review arrangements (Grindle #038; Hilderbrand, 1995; McCourt #038; Sola, 1999). 6 6.1 | N E W P UB L IC MA NAGE ME NT ( NPM ) | Elements of NPM In terms of the periodization outlined in Table 1, NPM is the reform model which succeeded the public administration model. Of course, there was continuity as well as change in the succession. The OECD’s (1995) review of public management developments, published at the high tide of NPM, includes initiatives to improve management of human resources (HR), something that the Weberian model also emphasizes in its own way. The essential change, however, was from the public administration doctrine of regular, predictable and rule-governed behaviour to behaviour that was driven by performance. The public administration doctrine tends to assume that if a sound framework of rules is put in place and public servants are persuaded to adhere, adequate performance will follow. But the governments that went down the NPM road were setting their sights on better performance, rather than adequate. Moreover, continuing pressure to restrain public expenditure meant that better performance could be bought only up to a point, and although the stimulus of competition was introduced (as we shall see), it became clear that there were limits to its use, intrinsic or political as the case may be. Thus, the application of management techniques became the formula deployed to square the circle of government that worked better while costing no more (Pollitt, 1993). NPM in practice has been driven by four management imperatives: delegation, performance, competition and responsiveness to clients. We shall now discuss three of them: improving performance, developing competition and providing responsive service. O756 6.2 | | MCCOURT Improving performance The NPM approach to ensuring performance hinges on the formulation and measurement of performance indicators. In the early days of NPM, such indicators usually addressed the internal operations of individual agencies. In a typical exle, Denmark’s national library undertook to increase productivity by 10%, increase the number of transactions by 2.5% annually and put purchases prior to 1979 on computer, all by the end of 1996 (OECD, 1995). Subsequently, the technology of monitoring performance has grown sophisticated, with performance management indicators that are outcome-rather than output-or input-based (different from the Weberian model in this respect), and which generate elaborate performance data. Performance management is also widely practised by international development agencies: in a sense, the Millennium Development Goals were performance management on a global scale (Goldsmith, 2011); the same goes for the new Strategic Development Goals. Public administration, as a rule, leans lightly on theoretical support. But advocates of performance indicators can point to plentiful evidence for their value from organizational psychology. Locke, Latham, and Erez (1991), surveying numerous empirical studies, characterize goal-setting theory, whose essential claim is that setting goals improves performance, as “among the most scientifically valid and useful theories in organizational science” (Locke et al., 1991, p. 370). Not just any old goal, though: research shows that goals should be specific and challenging. Those who have to reach them should be committed to doing so, and should receive support and encouragement, and feedback on their performance, as they work towards them (Locke #038; Latham, 1990). The application of goal-setting in the public sector, in the form of target regimes with their “key performance indicators,” has not been without problems, as the UK experience shows. If agencies are given incentives to reach challenging targets, there will tend to be “gaming”: agencies may take short cuts to hit the targets. Agencies may have a perverse incentive to perform sub-optimally (a “threshold effect”), fearful that if they exceed the initial targets, the bar will be set higher next time round (a “ratchet effect”). Accordingly, UK hospital ambulances have been found waiting in queues outside hospitals until the hospital was sure that the Accident and Emergency department could see the patient within its four-hour maximum waiting time target (Bevan #038; Hood, 2006). Likewise, 21% of UK police officers in a 2014 survey reported pressure from senior officers to misreport crimes, again in order to meet government crime reduction targets (McCourt, 2014a). Malaysia is perhaps the most elaborate exle of performance management in the public sector among developing countries, and can be described as a success, allowing for reservations noted below (Lesley, 2011; McCourt, 2012). During their seven-year lifetime up to 2017, its National Key Result Areas were the numerical indicators for the Governance Transformation Programme which was the Barisan Nasional government’s response to its poor performance in the 2008 election, when the opposition tapped public anxieties on crime, corruption and the economy. (So, it was an intensely political initiative.) Its first annual targets, widely publicized, included a 20% reduction in street crime, and an improvement in Malaysia’s score on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) from 4.5 to 4.9. In the event, there was a reported reduction in street crime of 37% by the end of 2010. The CPI score languished initially at 4.4, but the 4.9 target was met the following year when Transparency International announced its latest annual index. Moreover, mindful that it should not be judge and jury in its own case, the Malaysian government assembled an international panel in January 2011 to review its progress. Its members included an Australian public service commissioner, an IMF Resident Representative and a co-founder of Transparency International. MCCOURT | O757 Their response was fulsome: “a great success,” “impressive,” “extraordinary” (PEMANDU, 2011, pp. 199, 200, 202). However, reservations should be entered. First, there are holes in the data; Malaysia’s Performance Management Delivery Unit (PEMANDU) has not recorded performance systematically. Second, apart from the possibility of a Hawthorne effect,8 given that Malaysia’s initiative was still at a relatively early stage at the time of writing, there is the scope for gaming, as occurred in the UK. There is no evidence of this in Malaysia, but the theoretical concern is reflected in the international panel’s report, which recommended that the statistics should be audited “to preserve authenticity and validity” (PEMANDU, 2011, p. 206; McCourt, 2012). Their recommendation is reflected in the UK’s creation of an independent Office of National Statistics, whose role in regulating public agencies’ performance statistics has reduced the gaming which occurred during the early period of target regimes (McCourt, 2014b). 6.3 | Developing competition | Providing responsive service The impression of a traditional bureaucracy whose agents were exclusively fully paid-up public servants is misleading. A proportion of public work was always contracted out to the private and voluntary sectors, not only in fringe areas like the placing of newspaper advertisements, but also strategic capital projects for the construction of motorways, buildings and so on. In Germany the application of the subsidiarity principle made this inevitable (Reichard, 1997). The difference which NPM makes is to remove bureaucrats’ discretion, making contracting out obligatory, and thereby increasing its scope and extent. Contracts awarded competitively are, in a sense, performance indicators “with teeth.” A weakness of purely internal “service level agreements” based on performance indicators is the lack of effective sanctions if the agreement is broken, since the internal supplier knows that the internal customer has nowhere else to go (Greer, 1994). By contrast, a contracting regime uses competition or the threat of competition to enhance performance at three stages: in the initial bidding for the contract, in monitoring compliance and in rebidding at the end of the contract period. In this way, as one sympathetic account from New Zealand maintains, provision becomes results-driven, transparency and accountability are ensured and—not least—responsiveness to voice increases because customer feedback really matters. In New Zealand, consequently, delivery of local authority services by external providers jumped from 22% to 48% of provision between 1989 and 1994 (Boston, Martin, Pallot, #038; Walsh, 1996). 6.4 With its emphasis on management techniques as a spur to performance, NPM operates from the top down, which militates against responsiveness. The oddity of managing service performance over the heads of its beneficiaries has been compensated for through devices like “citizen’s charters” which set out minimum standards of service that clients can expect, based on principles such as: • quality—improving the quality of services • choice—wherever possible • standards—specify what to expect and how to act if standards are not met 8 The Hawthorne effect occurs when individuals modify an aspect of their behaviour in response to their awareness of being observed. For further details see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawthorne_effect. O758 | MCCOURT • value—for the taxpayers’ money • accountability—individuals and organizations • transparency—rules/procedures/schemes/grievances They have been introduced in many countries, including India. However, the experience has been mixed, not only in developing countries (Sharma #038; Agnihotri, 2001), but even in the UK, where the charter movement began. The UK Citizen’s Charters were a flagship initiative of Prime Minister John Major, yet only 16 out of 1,000 Britons polled at their height in the mid-1990s were both familiar with a Charter and satisfied with it (O’Conghaile, 1996). The criticism arose that lip service was being paid to citizens’ views, and that the charters reflected the priorities of managers, not citizens (Clarke #038; Newman, 1997). The involvement of non-state providers is probably of greater significance than “managerialist” initiatives such as citizen’s charters. In this article we are not interested in stand-alone service provision, whether by non-governmental organizations (NGOs), for-profit providers or donors, even though in some countries there are areas such as water and sanitation where private provision predominates, but rather in services that are contracted by or actively aligned with state service provision. Experience here has been mixed yet again, and probably more negative than positive. An early study of contracting for clinical and ancillary services in the health sector found problems created by the limited capacity of slow-moving, rule-ridden bureaucracies to perform even very basic functions, such as paying contractors in a timely manner (Mills, Bennett, #038; Russell, 2001). A more recent comprehensive survey echoed that finding, and noted that formal policy dialogue between government and non- state providers was often imperfect and unrepresentative, especially in fragile settings, and sometimes unduly dominated by the provider side (Batley #038; Mcloughlin, 2010). 6.5 | The appropriateness of NPM NPM has been described as “truly a global paradigm” (Borins #038; Warrington, 1996, p. 65) whose spread is impeded only by bureaucratic isolationism (Thompson, 1997). However, the contributors to a comprehensive review in 2001 found that its incidence in developing countries was limited (McCourt #038; Minogue, 2001), and that picture has probably not changed a great deal in the last decade. The problem-solving approach taken in this article suggests an explanation. If NPM is essentially a response to the problem of improving performance and delivering on a government’s objectives, then a prior condition for its application must be that government makes improving performance a priority. Whether performance is or even ought to be a priority was the subject of a debate over the application of the New Zealand version of NPM (New Zealand was a market leader in the early days of NPM.) Bale and Dale (1998), as advocates, argued that the New Zealand reforms were relevant to developing countries because they were developed from a broad, system-wide perspective that focused on the causes, not the symptoms, of dysfunctionality. In addition to this, having specified the performance standards that the centre expected, the reforms devolved to line agencies the management authority that they would need to meet the standards. However, they conceded that some stringent conditions were also necessary: a politically neutral, competent public service; little corruption or nepotism; a functioning legal code and political market; and a competent private sector. Answering Bale and Dale’s case, Schick (1998) argued that the former were taking for granted the earlier stage of New Zealand’s bureaucratic development where a framework of rules and a culture of following them had been implanted. By contrast, he went on, developing country public administration was typically informal, with local managers having virtual impunity to override formal procedures. Deliberately weakening those procedures, which were weak in the first place, in the interests of giving managers “the right to manage,” would exacerbate the very problems which NPM wanted to solve. MCCOURT | O759 In terms of the problem-solving framework adopted in this article, Schick’s objection is that NPM is a high-income industrial countries’ solution to the problem of improving public sector performance, something that industrialized country governments have the luxury of doing because, by deploying the Weberian model much earlier in their history, they have already solved the problem of how to put government on an orderly and efficient footing. Developing countries should follow the same sequence, in Schick’s view: walk before they try to run. We do not need to take sides in the debate. However, it illustrates—and not for the first time in this article—the importance of tailoring reform to the context in which it is taking place. 7 7.1 | BOT TO M-U P R E FO R MS | Towards empowerment Both the models we have presented so far share an assumption: that when it comes to setting priorities for public management, public managers should be in the driving seat. Reform should come from the top down—just as it did with India’s citizen’s charters and Malaysia’s National Key Result Areas. Indeed, a great deal of reform effort has gone into ensuring that managers are in the driving seat, insulated from clientelistic pressures from society and politicians. That view has changed dramatically. We can see Peter Evans’ (1995) concept of “embedded autonomy” as the first crack in the monolith, through its recognition that East state officials’ effectiveness depended on a dense network of ties with the private sector and civil society. Evans labelled this distinctive relationship “embedded autonomy” because, although officials were “embedded” in social ties, they retained some aloofness, informed but not instructed by their social interlocutors. The bureaucrats stayed in the driving seat, even if they now had industrialists and civil society in the passenger seat next to them. But, arriving just a little after Evans’ seminal work, a new fashion for participation increased the influence of civil society.9 In this bottom-up approach, policy priorities were to come directly from citizens, placing public officials in a responsive or even passive posture. The World Bank’s landmark Voices of the poor report (Narayan, Patel, Schafft, Rademacher, #038; Koch-Schulte, 2000) found that public agencies were among the most important, but also the least effective, institutions in poor people’s lives. The report called for “organized communities that can participate in devolved authority structures and keep local governments accountable” (Narayan et al., 2000, p. 283; see also Figures 10.1 and 10.2). In due course, the World Bank’s World Development Report (WDR) for 2000–2001 advocated “empowerment” of poor communities, including through participation in public services, and making public agencies directly accountable to the public via the media, the courts and advocacy by civil society organizations (World Bank, 2001). It departed abruptly from the public administration doctrine of accountability with the assertion that “the quality of public service is reduced when public officials are held accountable more to their hierarchical superiors than to the people they serve.” The new doctrine was lified by WDR 2004 (World Bank, 2004). The argument now was that elections are an inadequate way for citizens to control what state agencies do in their name: “Given the weaknesses in the long route of accountability [i.e. classic vertical accountability], service outcomes can be improved by strengthening the short route—by increasing the client’s power over providers.” In making this argument, World Bank authors were mindful of innovations in developing countries where officials’ direct accountability to their clients has been institutionalized. The Indian experience 9 Or, more correctly, a revived fashion: see below. O760 | MCCOURT with citizen report cards and the Brazilian experiment in participatory budgeting, both celebrated in WDR 2004, are innovations which illustrate both the strength and one or two weaknesses of the new accountability doctrine. 7.2 | Citizen report cards in Bengaluru | Participatory budgeting in Porto Alegre | The appropriateness of bottom-up reforms A “citizen report card” survey in Bengaluru (Bangalore) in Karnataka state in 1993 identified an abysmal satisfaction rating of 9% with municipal services. Following press coverage and action by the state government, satisfaction increased across two subsequent surveys to 48% in 2003. The World Bank evaluated the initiative positively (Ravindra, 2004), and the evidence that “voice” was improving services, just as the new doctrine had said it would, stimulated replications in countries as far apart as Ethiopia, the Philippines and the Ukraine However, the survey instigator, Samuel Paul, was more cautious than his admirers. He concedes that service quality in Bengaluru started to improve in the context of a wider urban reform programme introduced by the Congress party state government which came to power in 1999. In fact, the programme was wound up in 2004 by an incoming state Chief Minister who believed that its urban bias had lost votes for the Congress party. The Report Card initiative was not repeated after the 2004 election in Karnataka. Paul’s initiative suffered from the perception that it served a sectional (urban) interest.10 It was certainly providing direct accountability to citizens. But the accountability was only to one group of citizens, urban dwellers, and was perceived to be at the expense of rural dwellers (Paul, n.d.). 7.3 The participatory budgeting experiment in Porto Alegre, Brazil draws on a strong history of social movements, and on the neighbourhood associations and other participatory procedures introduced when the Workers’ Party took control of the municipality in 1991. By 2000, at least 20,000 residents were taking part in the participatory processes, which covered the full range of municipal budgets from road-building to health care. Review meetings in municipal districts took place at least twice a month, attended by around 50 people on average. However, Porto Alegre’s budget experiment has accounted for only a modest proportion of the municipal budget: officials still hold most of the purse- strings. There have been problems elsewhere too: an optimistic report of an attempted replication of Porto Alegre in El Salvador admits that participatory budgeting had fallen into disuse in 60% of the locations where it had been attempted; and emerging evidence from Africa is also disappointing (Bland, 2011; Booth, 2011; Gaventa #038; McGee, 2010). Moreover, “If one considers the legislature to be an important organ of democratic institutionality, it may seem problematic that the local legislature tends to have its powers diminished by the participatory budget planning” (Teivanien, 2002, p. 629; Baiocchi, 2003). 7.4 The difficulties with accountability that bottom-up initiatives inadvertently create (“unintended consequences” again) echo criticisms, mostly forgotten in development circles, that followed the wave of participation experiments in countries like Libya, Tanzania and Yugoslavia in the 1960s and 1970s, 10 It is perhaps relevant to note that the author of the evaluation study which conferred the World Bank seal of approval was not a disinterested party, being a former Chief Secretary of the Karnataka state government who subsequently joined the Board of the Public Affairs Centre, the NGO in Bengaluru which sponsored the initiative. MCCOURT | O761 not to mention industrialized countries like the UK and the US (Pagano #038; Rowthorn (Eds.), 1996; Richardson, 1983; Wolfe, 1970). Finally, it is important to draw a distinction here between public administration functions. The “voice” approach is most promising for functions such as service provision, regulation and revenue collection, where there is a clear interface with citizens, and therefore a citizen constituency for reform. However, it is less promising for overall policy formulation and “back office” functions such as human resource management, which are less visible to citizens. Kessy and McCourt (2010) found that school meetings in Tanzania were better attended than any other participatory forum: citizens care a great deal more about their children’s education than about abstruse questions of governance. For the back office functions, top-down management reform is probably the only way to proceed. So, there are questions of appropriateness with the bottom-up reforms, just as there have been with the top-down ones. It is ironic that advocates of bottom-up approaches to reform have been slower than their top-down counterparts to recognize the problems we have just discussed, even though their favoured initiatives have been concentrated in middle-income countries, especially in Latin America, and implemented in idiosyncratic ways. That indifference to context, mixed with the powerful support of international development agencies, has prompted a concern in an article which is sympathetic to the reforms that the voice-based reforms might be “ground, pasteurized and converted into new appendages of conditionality” (de Sousa Santos, 1998, p. 507) De Sousa Santos was prescient: “process conditionality” in the form of a requirement for governments to consult public society was to become integral to the design of Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs), the lending vehicle that replaced structural adjustment loans, with initiatives like Porto Alegre and Bengaluru held up as models. Despite criticisms that what was being promoted was not so much ownership as “donorship” (Cramer, Stein, #038; Weeks, 2006; Dijkstra, 2002), the model has spread to other development agencies like the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). 8 | CO G N IT IV E LY CO MP L E X PROBLEM – S OLVING: THE CAS E O F M YA N MA R Myanmar in the period between the release from house arrest of Aung San Suu Kyi in November 2010 and the general election in late 2014 offers an exle of our proposed problem-solving approach in operation. During that historical parenthesis, the government wanted to make up for lost time by showing its citizens, belatedly, that it wanted to respond to their concerns. It requested advice from a development agency on how it should use the machinery of government to that end. A briefing paper was prepared, and discussed with ministers in the Office of the President in early 2013. It included the following text as a summary (together with a table which is reproduced below as Table 2). Reforms should: • be tailored to the institutional and cultural context • address specific problems which policy-makers have identified • have strong leadership commitment The government discarded most of the long-term options (in hindsight, it probably realized that it could plan only for the short time remaining up to the election), apart from some actions to strengthen merit. The major option it adopted was an idiosyncratic hybrid of deliverology and “bottom-up,” an instance of O762 | TABLE 2 MCCOURT “Cognitively Complex” Policy Problem-Solving in Myanmar Approach Features Exles Advantages Disadvantages Commissions and strategies Commissions: A broad view of government roles and functions Strategies: strategic analysis; focus on specific issues; implementation timetable Korea South Africa Lao PDR Malaysia Vietnam Fundamental reorientation of administrative structure; Generating national consensus for reform; Durable blueprint for reform Cannot address immediate problems; Governments may “bite off more than they can chew”; Recommendations may be out of date by the time the report appears Strengthening merit Institutions and professional methods to ensure fairness and “the best person for the job” Sri Lanka UK Strong institutions protect against patronage; Better selection and promotion improves service performance Rigid institutions create bureaucratic inflexibility; Advanced methods are expensive and require high capacity Public service guarantees and “deliverology” Public Service Guarantee Acts; Special-purpose central units setting targets for rapid service improvements India Indonesia Malaysia Popular “one-stop” initiative; Sharp focus on key priorities; Can achieve quick results; Hard evidence of results Effectiveness is unclear; Requires strong central authority and high capacity to communicate and achieve targets Bottom-up approach Citizens, civil society organizations and public servants participate in policy Brazil India Involving citizens can deepen democracy; Harnesses the support of stakeholders May undermine democratic mandate; May limit civil servants’ ability to make professional judgements LONG-TERM SHORT-TERM what we called “bricolage” earlier in the article: having Malaysia as a near neighbour, the government was keen to replicate Malaysia’s delivery unit, PEMANDU. Service ministries were instructed to constitute a committee functioning as a delivery unit (there were procedural barriers to setting up a delivery unit as a separate structure), and use it as a vehicle for “going to the people” to find out what they wanted and give it to them. The way the initiative unfolded was both as dynamic and, perhaps, as naïve as this bald outline suggests, though it was refined following a rapid evaluation after initial implementation. It was, in any case, swept away in the electoral tidal wave that brought the National League for Democracy to power in December 2014. No claim is made for its lasting effects. MCCOURT | O763 However, the Myanmar case indicates how the approach discussed in this article might be applied. Within the framework of public administration in low-income Myanmar, ministers, officials and development agency staff worked to clarify the policy problem which the government was trying to solve, and to design a solution in the light of a rich menu of policy options. The menu included two of the reform approaches which have been discussed in this article, namely NPM and “bottom-up.” This is in marked contrast with the habitual practice of at least some development agencies, which conduct their independent analysis of a country’s key problems through a country strategy exercise, and then engage with national actors to turn it into a development programme. The starting point for the exercise was a policy problem framed by the government, rather than the problem of how to produce a country strategy as framed by a development agency. 9 | CO NC LUSION : F ROM FA ILURE TO SUCCESS? “Almost none (of the many identified factors affecting commitment to economic reform) seems to have a uniform effect across countries… Reform outcomes depend on complex combinations of a variety of factors.” (Cos #038; Esfahani, 2000, p. 222) “Incomplete and even quite ambiguous explanations are about the most we should expect. This is not an area in which clear-cut, high-probability causal models can be developed -far from it.” (Whitehead, 1990, p. 1145) “Answers must be invented for each country individually.” (Nelson, 1990, p. 361) In the light of the confession of relative failure at the start of this article, citing these quotations may look like gratuitous self-flagellation. However, they take on a more positive hue when we place them in the light of the problem-solving approach that is proposed in this article. Seen in that perspective, the suggestion arises that where the approaches failed, it was not necessarily because of any intrinsic defect: they may have been responses to problems which arose in one country, but which did not arise in the country to which they were being applied. We had a vivid exle of this just as this article was completed. Under its current President, Jim Yong Kim, the World Bank has developed an interest in a so-called “science of delivery.” This has led in turn to an interest in initiatives such as Malaysia’s National Key Result Areas, because of the dramatic improvement in service outcomes which those initiatives have engendered. However, such initiatives presuppose that a government has made service delivery improvement a key objective, as Malaysia’s has done. Evidence is emerging—predictably, from the perspective taken in this article—that where an approach like Malaysia’s has been attempted in countries which do not share that objective in any real sense, it has either failed or it has been adapted almost out of recognition to serve policy-makers’ specific preoccupations (Gold, 2017). This exle does seem to support the argument on which this article is based, namely that having specified the problem we are trying to solve as precisely as we can, just as Fritz and Andrews have enjoined, we should select our attempted solution from a broad range of alternatives, as was attempted in the Myanmar case. In her classic study of what she calls “wooden-headedness” in policy-making, The march of folly, Barbara Tuchman (1984, p. 480) asserted that O764 | MCCOURT Leaders in government, on the authority of Henry Kissinger, do not learn beyond the convictions they bring with them; they are “the intellectual capital they will consume as long as they are in office.” That may be so. But perhaps their advisers, who are the intended audience for this article, can compensate for that deficiency in the ways that have been proposed here. In this way, we hope that this review of models of public service reform and their trajectories suggests a way forward which readers will be able to pursue. Very different from public management specialists in industrialized countries, specialists in public management in development are frequently economists, with a learnt preference for unitary, sharp-edged solutions. Yet such solutions are even less on offer in developing countries than they are elsewhere. Let us make an analogy with the practice of medicine. There are medical doctors who choose to practice in poor countries because of the challenge they offer to their professional judgement and improvisational skills, not to mention their humanitarian commitment: German Nobel Prize winner Albert Schweitzer is the classic exle. Moreover, and very interestingly, we have seen the development of “problem-based learning” among medical schools, to the extent that some of those schools have made medical problem-solving the centre around which their students’ entire medical education revolves (Barrows, 1996). Thus, we hope that among our readers there are a few who will be stimulated rather than daunted by the sheer intricacy of the challenges I have touched upon in this article. 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