There is a grey distinction between the public and private sector in OECD countries with private sector organisations moving further toward delivering public goods and services as well as an increasing social responsibility often reported as triple bottom line. The aim of this paper is to contrast the traditional model of public administration with the developing New Public Management (NPM) phenomena. Briefly defining the concepts, the focus will be on the reasoning behind the shift to NPM coupled with the critical issues and successes of its evolution and implementation from an Australian Federal context.
There is a plethora of evidence demonstrating a wave of reform in public administration commencing in the early 1980's. (Davis & Rhodes, 2000; Hughes, 2003) To critically review and contrast the reasons behind this reform, it is important to first of all understand the traditional bureaucracy of public administration.
According to Hughes (2003), traditional public administration is based on bureaucracy while NPM, or managerialism, is based on markets.
Public administration was referred to as the services that are government funded with its purpose to serve the democratically elected government of the day under the Westminster model. (Davis & Rhodes, 2003) Public administration grew slowly from British origins and American influence. Early 20th century saw the public service boards and commissioners identifying problems within the Commonwealth public service. The key components of this model were evident until the 1970's and included: a) independent control of the public service; b) open competition for entry and independent control of employment conditions; c) defined rights and obligations by employees; d) merit based promotion usually through seniority; e) remuneration based on work value, graded and classified; f) job security providing the ability to give frank and fearless advice. (Olsen, 2005; Peters, 1996) Critics ensue that traditional public administration is overly bureaucratic,