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Title: Three essays on public management capacity building in Bangladesh
Authors: Haque, Ariful
Keywords: DRNTU::Social sciences::Political science::Public administration
Issue Date: 2018
Source: Haque, A. (2018). Three essays on public management capacity building in Bangladesh. Doctoral thesis, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
Haque, A. (2018). Three essays on public management capacity building in Bangladesh. Doctoral thesis, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
Abstract: This thesis consists of three self-contained essays on public management capacity building in Bangladesh. In recent years, public management capacity building has been widely discussed and recognized as a necessity for sustainable development in the developing countries. It has taken on added importance by both international development partners and developing countries as a vital tool for growth and development. The lack of good governance in many developing countries has corrosive effects on the development process such as entrench corruption, lack of rule of law, lack of transparency etc. In this aspect, improving the governance environment, more particularly public management capacity building is necessary. Public management capacity building is enhancement of competency of public sector organizations. In developing country, public management capacity building means enabling government’s ability to deliver vital services. The public management capacity in Bangladesh has been under scrutiny for many years. The colonial legacy, politicization of bureaucracy, military intervention, and many other factors have had a worsening effect on overall public management systems in Bangladesh, which is perceived by its citizens as inefficient and ineffective, centralized, and unaccountable, corrupt and not transparent. Despite a number of reform efforts, traditional bureaucratic cultures are still in place. Moreover, globalization has placed immense challenges on this system. With the rapid flourishing of the private sector, there has been a widening gap between public and private sectors in regard to economic status and efficiency. Over the years, media and civil society have reflected citizens’ voices demanding an effective public management system. Hence, this dissertation attempts to study the selected issues related to public management capacity building in Bangladesh. As a reform measure, public management capacity building addresses various issues. There are a number of issues related to the public management system in Bangladesh, which have gotten significant attention both nationally and internationally in recent times. Corruption is the most severe problem that has tarnished the image of the nation globally since Bangladesh became highest in corruption for five consecutive years starting in 2001. While there has been a slight improvement in recent years, this is not significant. Transparency within government is another issue considered by citizens as one of the most important issues, as citizens wish to be ensured of access to government information. Like many other developing nations, the government of Bangladesh is very often blamed for the lack of transparency and accountability to its citizens. There have been significant efforts to take and implement administrative reforms in order to improve government performance, which has been under scrutiny by its citizens. Administrative reform in various issues, as a development strategy of the government, is directly linked with government performance and effectiveness, which ultimately fall on public management capacity building. This study aims to focus on the three following issues, which are related to public management capacity building in Bangladesh. Public service innovation has become a compelling topic by both public managers and researchers. To address the problems of corruption and lacking of transparency, there have been significant efforts to promote innovation in order to improve government performance (e.g., corruption and transparency). This study aims to focus on these issues. The first essay looks into Right to Information (RTI) policy in Bangladesh. Right to Information (RTI) is considered a key element in increasing transparency in government that ultimately enhances public management capacity through helping reduce corruption. Bangladesh enacted the Right to Information (RTI) Act in 2009 in an environment which is blamed for not being transparent, accountable, or proactive in information disclosure. Since enactment, what are the challenges and opportunities for implementation? Has the implementation of RTI policies increased transparency? This study conducted a survey of designated information officers of ministries/divisions of the government of Bangladesh. Based on the established framework of Right to Information implementation, this study concludes that Bangladesh faces similar challenges to other countries who are facing RTI implementations, though there are some unique features as well. Implementation of RTI in Bangladesh is constrained by a low level of public awareness, a bureaucratic mentality, and a lack of resources while on the other hand, it signals transformation of government from a culture of secrecy to openness as a whole. This concept is very new in Bangladesh as well as in many other nations. Hence, this study can significantly contribute to our understanding of implementation of right to information and also add to the existing RTI literature. The second essay attempts to focus on public service innovation in Bangladesh. Public Service Innovation (PSI) is a key driver in making public organizations more effective in addressing social and developmental challenges. In recent decades, public service innovations have been adopted by many countries to address those challenges. However, the core objectives of carrying out innovations are different in developing countries as opposed to developed nations. Developing nations undertake innovative programs to spur social and economic growth. Extant literature shows the narratives of PSI mostly from developed countries. Through mixed method approaches, this study attempts to explore, why did Bangladesh undertake public service innovations? The study interviewed key innovation officials from ministries/divisions and provides case analyses of innovative projects to explore to what extent PSI has improved government performances in Bangladesh. From the implementers’ point of view, the study identifies some important factors such as national vision and Political commitment, economic growth, citizens’ demand and role of civil society, globalizations and role of international organizations, which have pushed government to undertake PSI in Bangladesh. The study also identifies that despite innovative efforts, there have not been visible improvements in government performances. Policy suggestions have been provided to make PSI more effective. These are financial incentives, recognition for best performance, flexibility in carrying out innovations, capacity building through training, and change of mind-set. The study can significantly enrich our understanding of public service innovations in Bangladesh. Moreover, being a practitioner, I will be able to contribute to future reform programs. Public service innovations is a means and end in the ultimate goal of building public management capacity. The third essay aims to focus on corruption, which is a serious disease and has affected all nations, but most severely developing countries. In regard to corruption control, the consistent pictures of success are mostly seen in developed countries and failures seen primarily in developing countries. Many scholars argue that the role of an independent anti-corruption agency, such as the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) of Singapore and The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) of Hong Kong, is most important in establishing corruption control. However, despite being designed and structured on such successful agencies, anti-corruption agencies in many developing countries show dismal results. In Bangladesh, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has been under scrutiny for as long as Bangladesh has been considered one of the most corrupt countries in the world. Widespread corruption is a major impediment to the socio-economic development of the country. Despite different reforms and measures, visibly there are no significant changes in corruption control. This study conducted surveys and interviews of ACC officials. The findings of the study show that, though structurally independent, the ACC is not functionally independent due to other factors such as supporting agencies, judicial systems, political will, culture, rules and laws, etc. This study provides policy recommendations for effective anti-corruption strategies in Bangladesh and has significant theoretical and practical implications in enriching our understanding of the corruption phenomenon. This study can be helpful in devising appropriate policy formulas for developing countries. All the three issues are interlinked under the broader umbrella of public management capacity building in Bangladesh. Right to information is to ensure openness of government and access to government information, which can significantly help reduce corruption. Eventually, control of corruption is positively linked with government effectiveness, which is ultimately related to public management capacity building. On the other hand, public service innovation is a means and end as well to improve government performances in various ways such as simplifying procedures, delivering services effectively etc.
DOI: 10.32657/10220/46927
Fulltext Permission: open
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:SSS Theses

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