Inventing the Paradigm for the Future of Public Administration in Ghana - Reverberations from the Past and Lessons of Today.

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For over a hundred years, the quest to reform the public sector has spurred the development of an impressive body of knowledge on public administration. However, the jury is still out on what the best theory for reforming the public sector is. Is it the rational bureaucracy theory of Webber? Can there ever be a dichotomy between politics and administration? Is the satisficing theory of Herbert Wilson the answer? or the humanist approach of Waldo? Is the panacea an entrepreneurial approach to public administration as posited by the New Public Management proponents and the revolutionary strides to reinvent government by Osborne and Gaebler? Whilst there is sure to be a hang jury on what the best theory is, the verdict is clear that there is no single theory that answers the old age question of how to reform the public sector. The absence of “the theory” that will transform the public sector has been attributed to several factors key of which are the idiosyncrasies of a country including the vision of political leadership, the preoccupation of an era, the system of governance, culture and the skill set of public managers. Since colonial times, there have been various attempts to reform the public sector in Ghana but the returns have been difficult to quantify. These reforms have been hinged on the execution of sometimes adhoc, sometimes well defined strategic programmes largely executed under the tutelage of international organizations like the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The creation of the Ministry of Public Sector Reform in 2005 was an acknowledgment of the importance of these reforms. It would appear that these reforms have been based on programmes influenced by applied theories of public administration but not on any identifiable theory or theories of public administration relevant to the Ghanaian context. The objective of the Project is to assess the applicability and extent of the dominant themes in the various schools of thought on public administration reforms in Ghana through Ghana’s political history and contemporary and current reforms. The Project will be undertaken primarily through literature reviews and institutional surveys of key government ministries, departments and agencies and local government authorities. The expected outcome of the Project will be the development of proposals for the formulation of a new paradigm for public administration in Ghana. A paradigm that draws on the best concepts provided in the different theories which can significantly support Ghana’s vision of becoming a middle- income country. Scope Of Paper

Section 1 of the paper discusses definitional issues, perspectives and scope of public administration globally and in the Ghana context. Section 2 discusses the evolution and key themes of the different paradigms of public administration and draws comparison with the Ghana context. Section 3 provides a proposed blue print of the type of public administration paradigm that will support Ghana’s vision of becoming a middle income country.

The Concern Of Public Administration
Public Administration has been defined variously. Waldo defined it as the “art and science of management applied to the affairs of state”. Woodrow Wilson defined it as the “detailed and systematic execution of public law” Rosenbloom’s definition of public administration focuses on the use of “legal”, “managerial” and “Political” theories to execute judicial, legislative and executive mandates for the delivery of public services. One of the fundamental realities of any government, democracy or monarchy is how to manage the diverse and competing needs of its citizenry. This involves walking the tight rope of what services to provide to the citizenry , at what expense , what is politically expedient , what...
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