New Public Administration(late 1960s to 1970s)The term “New Public Administration” orNew PA may have emerged from theMinnowbrook Conference in 1968 inSyracuse University. The conference wasthe brainchild and inspiration of DwightWaldo who brought together young publicadministrators and scholars to discussimportant issues and varying perspectiveson public administration. The conferencecreated a hullabaloo.
One of its controversies is that it had rejected theclassical theories of public administration andinstead offered new principles. For instance,Frederickson in his essay, “Towards a New PublicAdministration,” adds social equity to the classicdefinition of public administration.Conventional or classic public administration soughtto only answer inquiries on efficiency andeffectiveness like: how can the government offerbetter services with available resources(efficiency) or how can we maintain our level ofservices while spending less money (economy)? Inintroducing the principles of New PA, he adds thequestion: “Does this service enhance socialequity?” (Frederickson 1971)
The Minnowbrook conferees also questionedthe relevance of traditional public administration toexisting deprivation with an era of fast-pacedtechnological advancement in the backdrop.Frederickson argued that, disparities existed becausepublic administration focused less on social purposesor values of government policies and programs andmore on the economy and efficiency of execution.The value-free and neutral stance of traditionalPA has alienated the less privileged and deprivedgroups in the society. New PA’s proponents, likewise,advocated that public administrators should not beneutral; they should be committed to both goodmanagement and social equity as values to beachieved.
Social EquitySocial Equity—while named the fourth pillar ofpublic administration by the National Academyof Public Administration in 2005—stillstruggles to find equal footing with itspartners, economy, efficiency andeffectiveness. As Wooldridge and Gooden(2009) have argued, it is the rare publicadministrator who has the courage to makesocial equity the primary goal of policy. Thequestion for this work is, “Can we achieveequity for social equity among the pillars ofpublic administration?”Kristen Norman-Major (2006)
New PA is “change”New PA then called for client-orientedadministration, non-bureaucraticstructures, participatory decision-making, decentralized administrationand advocate-administrators.(Frederickson 1971; Nigro and Nigro1989) With the above contentions, itcan be said that the theme of New PAis “change” and the challenge is forthe public administrators is theircapacity to accept change.
Is the New PA relevant?Pilar (1993) in his article “Relevance ofNew PA in Philippine PublicAdministration. He argued that New PAis relevant while there is no indigenousmodel of public administration, therelevance of New PA maybe regarded interms of their compatibility with thecontext or the environment, as well asthe convergence between the contentand intent of new PA with the goals,purposes, and aspirations of thecountry.” (Pilar 1993: 145)
The principle of New PA is compatiblewith the environment of the PhilippinePA, although it was conceived duringthe time that the US was in chaotic andunpredictable environment amidstprosperity. Such situation is different inthe Philippines considering that notonly it grappled with advancement butit struggled to pull itself out of povertywhich is a major concern of thegovernment up to this date.
New PA created the need to stimulate change:meeting the needs of the society throughthe government’s development programsand projects, and addressing social equityand justice. It must be emphasized though,that the core questions raised by New PA arealso embedded in our second orderquestion, “for whom is PA?” It is indeedcritical to define the ultimate targets andpartners of public administration structures,institutions and processes. In other words,who is the “public” in public administration?Kristen Norman-Major (2006)
It is argued here that social equity can be simplifiedto maintaining or creating equality of opportunityin the provision of public services and that it cantake three different forms in publicadministration:1. Simple fairness and equal treatment2. Distribution of resources to reduce inequalities inuniversal programs and services3. Redistribution of resources to level the playingfield or increase equality of opportunity throughtargeted programsKristen Norman-Major (2006)
Social equity among the values of public administrationhas gained ground in acceptance since the firstMinnowbrook conference. But over 40 years later, it stillstruggles to gain traction as an equal among its partnerseconomy, efficiency, and effectiveness. Despite othersymposia in the Journal of Public Affairs Education, thework of the Standing Panel on Social Equity in NAPAand its annual Social Equity Leadership Conference, andthe establishment of a Democracy and Social JusticeSection in the American Society for PublicAdministration, the field of public administration hasnot fully accepted the role of social equity in publicadministration. In part, this is due to the lack of cleardefinitions and measures for social equity.Kristen Norman-Major (2006)
Alex Brillantes, Jr. and Maricel Fernandez Is therea Philippine Public Administration or BetterStill, for whom is Public Administration? UPNCPAG June, 2008Kristen Norman-Major (2006) Balancing the FourEs; or Can We Achieve Equity for Social Equity inPublic Administration?Hamline University. JPAE 17(2), 233–252Reference: