Academic journal article Development and Society

A Comparative Study of Governance in State Management: Focusing on the Roh Moo-Hyun Government and the Lee Myung-Bak Government*

Academic journal article Development and Society

A Comparative Study of Governance in State Management: Focusing on the Roh Moo-Hyun Government and the Lee Myung-Bak Government*

Article excerpt

This study aims to explore development discourses of the Roh Moo-hyun and Lee Myung-bak governments and evaluate their governance in achieving their respective visions of development. The two governments advocate sustainable development and green growth, respectively, as their national development paradigms, and strategies, laws, and organizations were developed to realize their goals. This research analysis reveals that the Roh administration perceived and reflected the concept and the importance of governance into its own policy framework while the Lee administration has not. The Roh administration perceived civil society as the subject of governance and policy process whereas the Lee administration perceives it as the object. In conclusion, the Roh administration can summarily be described as non-authoritarian with civil societycentered governance that pursues sustainable development, while the Lee administration is authoritarian with token state-centered governance that pursues green growth. This difference results from the difference between the nature of development discourse, principles of government management, perception of governance, leadership style and values, and the support basis of each government.

Keywords: Governance, Development Discourse, Sustainable Development, Green Growth, Participation, Communication


On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of national independence in August 2009, President Lee made an official announcement to change the previous paradigm of sustainable development pursued by the Roh Moohyun government to the "new national development paradigm" of "low carbon, green growth." Following this, the Presidential Committee on Green Growth (PCGG) was established as the governing agency of this new development paradigm, while the previous governing body, the National Commission on Sustainable Development (NCSD), was downsized to a ministerial committee under the Ministry of Environment.

The word "governance" was once popular in South Korean society, but this term is now seldom used since the advent of the Lee administration despite the fact that PCGG has been established to pursue governance. According to Ra (2009), studies on governance began in the late 1990s and have increased since 2000 in terms of quantity and quality. This phenomenon reflects the transition in different government philosophies for management of state affairs.

At this moment, some questions may be raised: What is governance? Is governance a crucial component of democratic society? If governance is still valuable, how is governance operationalized in current government? This study aims to compare the patterns of governance of the previous Roh government and current Lee government1 to reveal differences in the degree of governance between the two governments. If there are differences, what caused them? To promote governance properly, what needs to be done? These are the core questions of this study.

Each government pursues its own philosophy and vision in managing state affairs. In order to realize them, each government establishes strategies, laws, and organizations, allocates budgets, and implements projects. Therefore, this study explores and evaluates the governance systems and performances of the Roh and Lee governments in terms of national strategies, relevant laws, organizations, and projects because these four elements are crucial in realizing their governing philosophy.2

To evaluate and compare governance within the two governments, this study selected the following acts, organizations, and projects for analysis: National Strategy for Sustainable Development (NSSD), Framework Act on Sustainable Development (FASD), Presidential Commission on Sustainable Development (PCSD), and the Gulpocheon-Gyeongin Canal Project during the Roh government, and National Strategy for Green Growth (NSGG), Framework Act on Low Carbon, Green Growth (FALCGG), Presidential Committee on Green Growth (PCGG), and the Four Major Rivers Project during the Lee government. …

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