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The Ethics of New Public Management: Is Integrity at Stake?

Author: EMILE KOLTHOFF, LEO W.J.C. HUBERTS, J. HANS. J. VAN DEN HEUVEL
Published in PAQ, Vol. 30 No. 4

Since the late 1980s, public administration has moved to a
more businesslike approach, commonly referred to as New Public
Management or NPM. Output budgeting, privatization, competition and
commercialization receive more attention. The question has been raised
if too much identification with the style of the private sector might not
generate undesired effect, for instance in the area of public integrity.
In this paper a theory, based on existing knowledge is provided
about the possible negative, as well as the positive, effects on public
integrity of the introduction of businesslike methods in the public service.
The overall conclusion of the paper is that the effect of
introducing businesslike methods in the public sector depends more on the
establishment of practical principles to ensure that these methods are
exercised in an effective and ethical manner, than the introduction of
businesslike methods as such.

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