The paper “ Public Services Choice and Efficiency” is a worthy example of the literature review on management. Delfaauw and Dur rightly claim civil servants have a reputation for being lazy. Jokes on civil servants’ laziness and stories on bureaucratic errors are quite popular. The lack of incentives in the public sector is known for attracting workers who are most averse to exerting effort. This pessimistic view is also quite prominent in the economics literature. For several decades, this literature had identified civil servants as pursuing their narrow self- interest, usually at the expense of the interest of the society.
Boyne however claims that in the last two decades, there has been a pandemic in public sector reforms with governments across the globe reorganizing and restructuring public sector organizations in an attempt to produce and provide better services. In this paper, I attempt to explain the efficiency or the lack of it in public sectors. Public Sector Laggings: The debate over whether public sector organizations should emulate private sector managerial practices in terms of contextual differences is long-running. A range of areas has been examined in terms of stakeholders, legal constraints, accounting practices, and external reporting requirements, in trying to understand the fundamental differences between the public and private sectors.
Traditionally, public sector organizations have not had to compete for scarce resources but rather are highly subsidized, hence promoting inefficiency and discouraging goal setting and strategic actionMontanarie and Bracker, 1986 J. R. Montanarie and J. S. Bracker, The strategic management process at the public planning unit level, Strategic Management Journal 7 (1986), pp. 251– 265.. Whereas there are usually many competing providers within the private sector; historically the customer of public services often has no other alternatives, further reducing the public manager’ s incentive to take strategic action.
These problems are well recognized, and governments and institutions have been taking many steps to address them from compulsory public tendering, to creating customer choice in areas, such as education, where choice might not have existed before.
Albury, David “Fostering Innovation in Public Services.” Public and Money Management (January 2005).
Boyne, George A. “What is Public Service Improvement?” Public Administration (June 2003).
Boyne, George A. “A ‘3Rs’ Strategy for Public Service Turnaround: Retrenchment, Repositioning and Reorganization.” Public Money and Management (April 2004).
Delfgaauw, Josse and Robert Dur “Incentives and Workers’ Motivation in the Public Sector.” The Economic Journal (January 2008).
Denhardt, Robert B. and Janet V. Denhardt “The New Public Service: Serving Rather than Steering.” Public Administrative View (November 2000).
Dowding, Keith and Peter John “The Value of Choice in Public Policy.” Public Administration (2008).
Hartley, Jean “Innovation in Governance and Public Services: Past and Present.” Public Money and Management (January 2005).
Revelli, Federico “Performance Rating and Yardstick Competition in Social Service Provision.” Journal of Public Economics (February 2006).
Schlapfer, Felix and Nick Hanley “Contingent Valuation and Collective Choice” KYKLOS (February 2006).
Smith, Peter C. and Andrew Street “Measuring the Efficiency of Public Services: the Limits of Analysis.” Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series A (Statistics in Society) (March 2005).
Voss, Chris, Nikos Tsikriktsis, Benjamin Funk, David Yarrow and Jane Owen “Managerial Choice and Performance in Service Management- A Comparison of Private Sector Organizations with Further Education Colleges.” Journal of Operations Management (February 2005).