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Public Sector Reforms in Fiji: A Search for Appropriate Governance Structures

Appana, Subhash (2015) Public Sector Reforms in Fiji: A Search for Appropriate Governance Structures. UNSPECIFIED. (Unpublished)

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New Public Management has been uncritically prescribed as the post-bureaucratic model for both reforms and management in the public sector over close to three decades now. Fiji has followed the global trend and implemented public sector reforms beginning in 1985 through a process that has not been continuous largely because of changing political-economic imperatives. The results have been far from that anticipated for mainly three reasons: one, little thought has been given to the peculiarities of the context in implementing reforms within a “one-size-fits-all” framework; two, gaps and shortcomings in the New Public Management model have largely been downplayed and become pronounced in traditional contexts like Fiji; and three, the roles, motivations and ingenuity of the main players in the reform process have been underestimated through over-riding assumptions that prescribe removal of external/extrinsic controls and heavy reliance on intrinsic controls without prescribing any alternatives in the event of failure. This research aimed to explore and critically examine the reasons why, despite the purported presence of many of New Public Management’s pre-requisites, public sector reforms have had limited success in Fiji. It focused on investigating and critically analysing the restructuring of one public enterprise into two entities in the aviation industry – this provided the main focus for primary research. In addition, the study also examined and critically analysed the civil service reform process in Fiji within the framework of New Public Management drawing on both primary and secondary data. The research found that in Fiji, reforms were influenced by an inward-looking, structural-functionalist, bias in national decision-making which provided a convenient cloak for vested interests who operated within the traditional Fijian system to capture the reform process and divert opportunities that arose from it to linked groups and individuals. Furthermore, the research found that the New Public Management model has inherent problems emanating from its internal inconsistencies as well as external tensions that arise from its unmodified usage in a traditional Pacific Island context like Fiji. It highlights that the political landscape in Fiji has changed from being bi-polar – with a largely ethnic demarcation – to being multi-polar with a plethora of interests that have emerged over a period of time. Thus any new macro-level proposals for governance will have to factor in these changes, at both the macro and micro levels, in order to enhance its appropriateness within the context.

Item Type: Other
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
Divisions: Faculty of Business and Economics (FBE) > School of Management and Public Administration
Depositing User: Subhash Appana
Date Deposited: 06 Mar 2017 23:37
Last Modified: 06 Mar 2017 23:37

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