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Strategic Management

Reforms and changes undertaken by the World Bank supported Sectoral Adjustment Programs have raised serious questions about the way the public services are run and how users are treated. Managers and politicians at the central level have had to rethink about the management of public sector institutions in Bangladesh. Most of the reforms and changes have been based on two main ideas: firstly reduction of public spending and secondly, the market mechanism is a good thing, if a market style of relationship is suitable, it should be introduced. In many respects the public sector is different from private sector. In public sector the activities of the Government are rarely based on the need to attract customers. Prices are not normally set to maximize profits or market shares. Investment decisions are not generally based on prospective profit. Motivation may even be different; earnings do not wholly motivate managers and workers. ” What all this means is that the values require to run the public services are different from those required to run a successful business. For example, it is rarely appropriate to withdraw from parts of the ‘market’ because they are no longer profitable. ‘Customers’ who cannot afford to pay still have entitlements, which they would not have if they were receiving service from the business. Those entitlements derive from citizenship and social policy rather than from cash.

It has been further argued by the management specialists that values of equity and justice have to play a vital role in the administration in a way that would be irrelevant to most business. 16% of total GDP is controlled by the public sector in Bangladesh. Any reduction in the size of the public sector would be a painful job for the politicians. In response to the growing demand for public accountability and improved performance, public management scholars and practitioners have been coalescing for quite some time around the theme of which have been identified by Hood as being, ‘New Public Management is the idea of a shift in emphasis from policy making to management skills, from a stress on process to a stress on output, from orderly hierarchies to an extendedly more competitive basis for providing public services, from fixed to variable pay and from a uniform and inclusive public service to variant structure with more emphasis on contract provision’ Hood.

It is argued by strategists like Joyce, Quinn and others that in the organizations of any size and complexity, it is possible to manage for result in the long or short run without a well-developed capacity for strategic management process to provide a coherent approach to establishing, attaining, monitoring and updating an agency’s agenda.

Joyce claims that strategic management can help new public services emerge. It can do this by helping to decide what should be done and how it should be done and by creating the dialogue and consensus need to make the changes. He further argues that in the absence of effective strategic management, the new public management services will still emerge, but in more haphazard way. Strategic management, when practiced well, can help to call for transformation to occur more efficiently and creatively. He further states that this is not to say that strategic management is a magic word, or that it can be continued on to work perfectly every time. It is certainly not a simple method of bringing about fundamental changes. One of the key challenges for public services management in the years ahead is to find out ways in which strategic management may be developed and applied to ensure that both performance and innovation are achieved in the interest of better public services.