An assessment of the 1990s public sector management reform in Samoa

  • Desmond Uelese Amosa

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    If the contemporary movement in public sector management is a universal ‘paradigm’, what is its impact on the performance of Samoa’s core public sector? This is the central question that lies in the heart of this research. It attempts to discover the consequences of using the elements of the contemporary public management model to reform the management structures and processes of the core public sector in Samoa in the 1990s. In doing so, the focus is mainly on determining the scope to which the objectives of each particular reform have been achieved or otherwise. Several questions are used as part of the research overall framework to analyze the findings in relation to the primary research objective: • Why implement public sector management reforms? • Who implements public sector management reforms? • Where to look for models of reforms? • What are the contents and objectives of reforms? • How to transfer elements of public sector management reforms? • What are the impacts of reforms on stated objectives? • What are the constraints on implementing public sector management reforms? There is an ongoing debate on whether the contemporary public management approach is applicable to small developing countries, given that its origin is traced back to Britain and other industrialized countries. This research (hopefully) contributes to the debate by presenting the reality of public management in Samoa in light of the new model. Thus,92 people were interviewed, which included Ministers of Cabinet (approvers of the reform),Heads of central departments and their senior managers, the consultants (formulators/designers of reforms),and Heads and senior managers of line departments (implementers of reforms). Other sources of information in the form of departmental and donor agents documents were also included. Several conclusions are drawn from this investigation taking into account the fact that the reform in Samoa is far from completion. In particular, while the contemporary model of public management generated benefits, substantial financial and non-financial costs were also experienced. These costs were the outcome of incomplete reform, and the differences in political, economic and social settings between Samoa and the ‘inventors’ of the contemporary model of public management.
    Date of Award2002
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorJohn Halligan (Supervisor) & Chris Aulich (Supervisor)

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