What are the most important differences between the public and private sectors and how do these differences frame the study of public administration and information technology?
According to Reddick (2011) public sector has got more issues to handle than private sector and thus remains complex with hard to measure and vague kinds of tools, restricting profit margins. As against private sector, the public sector is more bounded by rules and regulations. The public sector is comprised of more formalized mode of personnel procedures, added by purchases and administrative tasks that are not in case of private sector. It has been further marked that the private sector can offer more satisfaction to the worker than the public sector. under these conditions the private sector gets more space to act with liberty than the public sector and thus is tend to earn more profits than the public sector.
These differences are the core approaches in terms of framing studies related to public administration and information technology (Reddick, 2012). Application of IT turns up as a predisposition in the public sector organizations in terms of improving efficiency through streamlining the processes of information management. With the IT, both the public and private sector are attaining rapid advance in their working environment and are getting rid of paper-based procedures and saving labour and energy. It has been derived that the application of IT in the private sector is more advanced and enhancing. However, this is not the case in the public sector.
As we study the difference between these sectors, we understand the way these sectors depend on each other in terms of implementing IT and public administration in practical fields. The public sector depends a lot on the private sector for the attainment of experts in IT sector. On the other hand, the private sector counts on the public sector for attaining administrative dominance. The computing technology is such a field that has always had the demand for higher ranges of value and quality. It is in this respect that the amalgamation of both public and private sectors becomes necessary. To initiate the same in the domain of public administration, it is further necessary to count on the interrelated approaches. In this respect, Reddick (2011) declares the domain of public administration and the Information Technology as the base for offering a foundational overview in relation with the impact led by information technology (IT) that is initiated by the private sector over the modern public organizations, which is led by the public sector. The purpose is to increase value and productivity for elimination of highly marked organisational redundancy. It comes under an obvious notification that the governments in general are facing keen competition with the private sector in terms of hiring qualified IT professionals. It is here that the study related to differences between the public and private sectors offers support in understanding public administration and information technology for the functioning of governmental norms and boosting competitiveness. As we attain a clear perception of the public and the private sectors, we can very easily identify the strength and the weaknesses of these sectors. As a result, it gets convenient to refer to the better sides of these sectors while pursuing a study of public administration and information technology. Using the justified norms from the public and private sector in dealing with public administration and information technology would be possible when we will attain enough knowledge about these domains.
2. How is the New Public Management different from the Weberian Bureaucratic Model? Explain this with regard to e-governance.
The philosophy of New Public Management (or the NPM) has permeated government policies since 1980s. The core idea of these policies is to modernise and streamline the public sector. It concentrates on the market-oriented management in relation with public sector and further initiating towards a greater amount of cost-efficiency for the respective governments. This approach is without any negative effects over other considerations and government-related objectives. On the other hand, as declared by the ideologies of Max Weber, instances of ideal bureaucracy are characterized by the strategic structure of hierarchical organizations with clear lines of the determined authority within a fixed activity area. Relevant kinds of actions are considered along with the bureaucratic mode of officials. These officials must get expert training, followed by the impartial implementation of rules. There must be the scope for career advancement in relation to technical qualifications which will be judged by respective organization and not by the individuals. According to Reddick, (2011)
NPM was part of greater movement to reinvent government and was a rejection of the traditional Weberian classic public management paradigm, which remained embedded in public bureaucracy until about the mid 1980s. (p.84)
In case of e-governance, the implementation of New Public Management and Weberian Bureaucratic Model can get effective on partial basis. For an effective mode of e-government, it is necessary to follow some determined aspects. The e-government must turn up in the form of an organization and thereby must meet higher quality standards. This can be attained if the structure of NPM gets generated. It must be a compulsion to adopt citizen-centric approach that is possible if the hierarchical strictness from Weberian bureaucratic model gets considered. Further, any kind of e-government is subject to work towards the activities related to the process of minimizing citizens’ an businesses’ burden. This is a proceeding that demands for the approaches of NPM in offering the governance with the independence of amalgamating both public and private sectors for a smooth persuasion. The opportunities that are offered by ICT must get handled properly by an e-government to promote the approaches that are internal for the process of reorganization. It is through the adoption of ‘learning organization’ of NPM (Grönlund, 2002). There is also the need for following some bureaucratic approaches under Weberian model, so that firmness regarding the same can be attained. Lastly, there is the need to promote proceedings of innovation added by the approach for modernization. These are core processing units of NPM, yet for a more strict attainment of quality and value importance to the Weberian model must get well emphasised.
As a matter of fact, e-government can pass as a promoter of diversified bureaucratic values and can act aptly in support of promoting values. This is an aspect that can be attained by following the traditional Weberian model for ideal bureaucracy. It is important to note here that e-government also must have enough control over the general vision of governance for the construction of a welfare state. In this respect, implication of NPM with the base for ICT (or information and communication technologies) must be enhanced. It will improve the level of efficiency, effectiveness of policies and democratic values of e-government (OCDE, 2003). Any e-government that operates under NPM is sure to attain higher levels of efficiency and a solid base for accountability. It is through the wider impact of digitalization led by the e-government that the services in general can be neglected. It is here that the Weberian model for ideal bureaucracy can hold back the leash with more firmness.
Eventually, it can be declared that, though NPM and the Weberian model for ideal bureaucracy stand apart from each other, the modernised appeal of using ICT and the traditional strictness of hierarchy can add adequate support to any e-government.
3. What are the major laws that impact information technology and public administration? What law is the most important for public managers? Why?
-- The major laws that impact information technology and public administration can be noted by Reddick (2011, 108-110). These IT laws are meant to bring in necessary provisions related to the issues of security and safe accessibility of the information and data related to the public administrative domain. The foremost declaration is about the Paperwok Reduction Act of 1980 and 1995 under Pub. L. No. 96-511, 94 Stat. 2812 (of 11th Dec. 1980). The purpose here is to reduce paperwork that gets handled by government and public in general. The same act further got amended in the 1995 and the provisions were added with more power to the ICT sector for the persuasion of public administration; specifically in reference to government bureaucracy over the all the American citizens and relevant businesses. The next IT law as marked by Reddick is the Computer Security Act of 1987 under Public Law No. 100-235 (H.R. 145 of 8th Jan., 1988). The core ideology of this regulation is to improve and maintain security as well as privacy in respect to the sensitive information that gets marked through the Federal systems of computers and further for the establishment of minimum acceptable mode of security practices in reference to these systems. The approach demands for plans developed for computer security with sensitive information, added by apt modes of training for the users of the system like the public managers. Regulations marked under Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996 that was originally termed as IT Management Reform Act in the year 1996 (ITMRA), got designed for the improvement of federal government in terms of acquiring, using and further disposing IT. Its core purpose is to concentrate over IT resource plans for supporting strategic missions and thereby implement capital planning as well as investment control in relation with budget formulation as well as execution. It also offers the ground for rethinking as well as restructuring activities related to investments related to IT. The law of Government Paperwork Elimination Act of 1988 is all about the management of records that are related to public administration and is generated under electronic signature. It allows people to submit important information and maintain the same electronically. This law seeks for the "preclude agencies or courts from systematically treating electronic documents and signatures less favorably than their paper counterparts". Persuasion of Government Information Security Reform Act of 2001 is about the performances related to periodical threat-based assessments of risk related to data and systems; added by security and cost effective provisions. It is subject to offer remedial action and deal aptly with deficiencies of the entire IT system. The last IT law as marked by Reddick is about the E-government act of 2002. This law is for the management as well as promotion of services marked under e-government through the provision of Federal Chief Information Officer.
As a matter of fact, all these regulations are very necessary for the public managers. However, special emphasis can be led over the Government Information Security Reform Act of 2001, whereby the public manager needs to be efficient as well responsible for the maintenance and transaction related aspects that are handled electronically. There is the need for enough training and higher levels of efficiencies in this respect. It is also important for the public managers to consider the context of regulation for using information technology and public administration simultaneously. Public managers need to search as well as thereby need to select appropriate modes and techniques to attain relevant, valid and good information. For the selection of administrative strategy and technique they need to follow some important criteria as well as knowledge about the electronic persuasions. Cost related to the process of collecting as well as producing information need to be considered as integral to the selection criterion; added by the aspects related to causal relationships are hard to comprehend. Public manager need to follow the mode of introduction related to new management techniques and strategies to get monitored carefully, in terms of both short as well as long term implications. As noted by Reddick (2011), it is the sole responsibility of the public manager while managing IT to create an effective, efficient, and transparent mode of organizational functionalities. This is the reason that an adequate amount of training related to new realities as well as skills in IT sectors must be part of the public manager’s expertise.