New public management and administrative reforms in the Kingdom of Bahrain : implementing performance and programme-based budgeting

Ali, Faisal Mohammed

September 2010

Thesis or dissertation

© 2010 Faisal Mohammed Ali. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

This research explores the opportunity for administrative reform in the government of Bahrain. In particular it offers an awareness and better understanding of how political elites construe and enact the principles of “NPM” in public sector organisations,explores the institutional capability of Bahrain’s public sector to initiate and sustain reform, and develops a conceptual model of reform applicable to Bahrain. In order to do so, it investigates the drivers of administrative change in Bahrain, examines how elements of NPM express themselves in management practice in Bahrain’s public sector organisations, and identifies facilitators and challenges to reform. Taking an interpretive approach, data was collected through a survey of ministries and semi-structured interviews with change leaders. Moreover, a case study was undertaken in the attempt to introduce a Performance and Programme Budgeting System (PPBS) in ministries, as a test case for an NPM-oriented initiative transferred outside its origin context. Drivers of reform were found to include, first and foremost, internal and external socio-economic forces, such as globalisation and demographic change, and, secondly, pressure from citizens for greater transparency and responsiveness. NPM elements expressed themselves to varying degrees in five key dimensions: organisational structure, the decision-making process, a movement to customer-driven, output-based funding,improvement of HRM performance and, finally, quality management in pursuit of efficiency in public services. However, certain constraints, including a lack of commitment from the political-administrative leadership and a lack of the prerequisite preparation, have impeded implementation. The research builds upon and extends existing theorising about NPM and draws practical implications for subsequent reform initiatives, in Bahrain and beyond.

Business School, The University of Hull
Orr, Kevin; Common, Richard
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