What is Public Management?

Venus D.

Public management focuses on government and non-profit administration and is based on the idea that private and public project management are similar. Therefore, it is suggested that government officials can learn from management methods used in the private sector. One significant aspect of this concept is government performance auditing, which enables comparisons among numerous government administrations. Ecological and social indicators, comparable to the management assessment method known as value reporting in the private sector, are used to conduct this comparison.

The No Child Left Behind program, which focuses on the public education system, uses a public management system.
The No Child Left Behind program, which focuses on the public education system, uses a public management system.

Public vs. Private

The complexities within public management are underlined by the fact that government projects are often larger in scale than those in the private sector. Public projects also often have a strong, direct effect on the public. The lack of business competition for government agencies also affects how public projects are managed.

New Zealand has successfully implemented New Public Management strategies.
New Zealand has successfully implemented New Public Management strategies.

A Case Study

The No Child Left Behind program, which was begun by US president George W. Bush, is a valuable case study of public management. A federally funded program, No Child Left Behind is run by the US Department of Education with the goal of improving the country's public education system. Its jurisdiction encompasses public schools all across the country. In addition, it not affects the education of the children as well as the lives of their parents. The immensity of the project and its impact make the management of it an intricately complex process. Some research suggests that the program's effectiveness has been less than expected, with one of the limiting factors being the ability of school employee unions to make it difficult for policies to be changed.

Public Administration

Public administration, the study of how public agencies are managed, often overlaps with public management. Unlike the latter, the former views government management of projects to be completely different from that of private management because of the emphasis that public administration lays upon the social good. In the US, a movement known as the New Public Management (NPM) entails applying market mechanisms to traditional management practices in government. Relying heavily on appraisals of efficiency and effectiveness, government agencies have incorporated systems based on user pay, increasing competition by allowing companies to bid for contracts, developing result-oriented budgets and offering incentives to public servants to improve their work performance.

The most innovative aspect of NPM is that it attempts to develop solutions to management issues based on market theories rather than simple administrative rules and regulations. The movement has become popular as international pressures have increased for more efficient and effective government. New Zealand has served as a good example of a national government improving by putting NPM theories into practice.


Proponents of NPM believe that it is a way to positively redefine public management, but critics consider it to be an exaggeration of the value that market principles, especially privatization, have for the public sector. Some critics of NPM believe that the movement is lopsided, with public sector managers learning solely from private management techniques. Many of these critics believe that established and valuable government management practices must be retained and studied. They also believe that privatization should be curtailed, because it cannot be the solution to all problems within public management. National institutions such as the American Society for Public Administration in the US and the Ecole Nationale d’Administration in France have studied trends and issues regarding public management as it has evolved.

You might also Like

Readers Also Love

Discussion Comments


Does effective economic management call for a specific type of development management?


Who are the scholars in revance management?

Post your comments
Forgot password?