Implementing new public management in a developing country : the case of Thailand

  • Kulachet Mongkol

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    This thesis is about the impact of the New Public Management (NPM) paradigm on public sector reform in Thailand. The main objective of the thesis is to explore the question of whether Thai public sector reform belongs to the NPM paradigm, especially whether the intentions and contents of policy documents are actually realised in the implementation process. The study commences by reviewing the transformation of public administration to NPM and how this has affected developing countries. In theory, the traditional model of public administration, namely bureaucracy, has been considered as dysfunctional, no longer able to cope with changing circumstances and the new environment. NPM was introduced during the 1980s and 1990s in some rich countries in order to replace the traditional model of public administration. However, there are doubts about the appropriateness of NPM for the public sector in developing countries. The thesis is specifically concerned with Thailand and as a first step delineates the history of public administration and its reform in Thailand including current policies. This includes the introduction of NPM. The remainder of the thesis is comprised of a case study of one ministry in Thailand. Much of the data was collected from semi-structured interviews with officials in the ministry and government agencies responsible for reform. The case study focused on four dimensions of reform: organisational restructure and redesign of internal authority, public culture and values reform, workforce reduction, and internal NPM reform initiatives. The findings were mixed. Some NPM style initiatives such as restructuring of roles and functions were accomplished. However, some areas of NPM have either been partially implemented (downsizing) or not introduced at all (greater competition in public sector). It was also found that some reform initiatives, such as public culture and values reform, fell outside of the NPM paradigm. The research concluded that the NPM paradigm had made limited progress in the Thai public sector.
    Date of Award2007
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorMark Turner (Supervisor) & Chris Aulich (Supervisor)

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