New Public Management: Current Trends and Future Prospects

By Kate McLaughlin; Stephen P. Osborne et al. | Go to book overview

Chapter 12

Australia, the New Public Management and the new millennium

Peter Carroll and Peter Steane

Introduction
This chapter evaluates convergence in NPM. The first section provides working definitions for the concepts of NPM and convergence. The second section assesses Australia's experience of public sector reform over the last two decades to see whether or not NPM has become the dominant paradigm. The third section examines a selection of examples of convergence in Australia, APEC (Asia- Pacific Economic Cooperation), Hong Kong and New Zealand to see whether or not processes of international convergence related to NPM are occurring. The Conclusion looks to the future, to see whether we can forecast what shape convergence might take, in light of the conclusions this chapter draws, those being that:
• NPM has become the dominant paradigm in Australia.
• There is clear evidence of what we define as principles convergence in Australia, New Zealand and APEC.
• There is substantial divergence in terms of sources, content, learning and structure.

NPM and convergence: characteristics and issues
This section aims to provide working definitions that can act as sets of criteria in our later assessment of NPM in Australia and the evidence for international convergence. NPM is characterized by features that have been outlined by a number of authors (Hood 1991; Hood and Dunleavey 1994; Hood 1996; Lynn 1996). Essentially, NPM is a form of public management:
1 whose proponents affirm that private sector management models and techniques can be applied in the public sector;
2 that is associated with a commitment to plural models of the provision of public services by a mixture of business, the non-profit sector and government actors, emphasizing the importance of cost, choice and quality in the precise mix of service providers;

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