Concept of New Public Management has yet to disappear, says Professor Christopher Hood
From left to right: Dr Fox Hu Zhiyong, Acting Head of APS; Professor Chan Hon-suen, College President, HKU SPACE Stanley Ho Community College; Professor Peter T. Y. Cheung, Head of SSC; Professor Li Wai-keung, Dean of FLASS; Professor John P. Burns, Emeritus Professor, Department of Politics and Public Administration, The University of Hong Kong; Professor Christopher Hood, Emeritus Professor of Government and Fellow, All Souls College, Oxford University and Doctor of Social Science honoris causa, The Hang Seng University of Hong Kong; Professor Anthony B.L. Cheung, Advisor (Public Administration), The Education University of Hong Kong; Professor Alfred Ho Tat-kei, Head of Department of Public and International Affairs, the City University of Hong Kong; and Dr Lucille Ngan Lok-sun, Associate Head of Department of Social Science, The Hang Seng University of Hong Kong.
Professor Christopher Hood (centre) takes questions from the floor. Joining him for the panel discussion, from left to right: Dr Lucille Ngan Lok-sun, Professor John P. Burns, Professor Anthony Cheung, and Professor Alfred Ho Tat-kei.
Photo of Professor Hood taken in his inaugural lecture as Professor of Public Administration at London School of Economics in 1990.
In collaboration with The Hang Seng University of Hong Kong, the Department of Asian and Policy Studies and Department of Social Sciences co-organised a seminar entitled “Is New Public Management Dead? – An academic dialogue with Professor Hood” on 16 March at the University’s Tai Po campus. The event attracted nearly 50 scholars in the field of public policy.
Emeritus Professor of Government and a Fellow with All Souls College of the University of Oxford, Professor Christopher Hood is an eminent figure in public administration who recently received the Doctor of Social Science honoris causa from The Hang Seng University of Hong Kong. During the seminar, the scholar shared about when and why the term New Public Management (NPM) was coined, what the idea aims to achieve, and whether NPM is still alive today.
NPM is commonly referred to as the adoption of liberal market principles of efficiency optimisation in public sector management. It is usually associated with the practices of marketisation and the application of corporate management to public bodies. One of the main aims of NPM is to promote the effective management of public administration, and to make the public sector more accountable to consumers.
Professor Hood said the term “New Public Management” was coined in discussions between him and Professor Michael Jackson from the University of Sydney in 1998, based on their shared interest in the history of public management ideas. When answering the question whether NPM is dead or dying, Professor Hood answered with both “yes and no”.
“Yes, [because] NPM terminology may well die/be dying as the ‘NPM generation’ (including me!) fades away. But No, [for] NPM’s broadly homeostatic approach to controlling bureaucracy seems unlikely to disappear from what-to-do debates about public management; and No, [for] the tension among rival values of least-cost, due-process and resilience values in public management is not likely to disappear either,” the veteran scholar said.
Following the keynote speech, a panel consisting of Professor Anthony B. L. Cheung, EdUHK Advisor (Public Administration); Professor John Burns, Emeritus Professor, The University of Hong Kong; Professor Alfred Ho Tat-kei, Head of the Department of Public and International Affairs at the City University of Hong Kong; and Dr Lucille Ngan Lok-sun, Associate Head of Department of Social Science at The Hang Seng University of Hong Kong, discussed key questions with Professor Hood.
Seminar attendees included Dr Fox Hu Zhiyong, Acting Head of the Department of Asian and Policy Studies; Professor Peter T. Y. Cheung, Head of the Department of Social Sciences; and Professor Li Wai-keung, Dean of the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences.