The New Public Governance: Is it a Paradigmatic Way to Overcome the Wicked Problems?
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Communities expect public administrations to be more effective and to be a catalyst that integrates all stakeholders into the system in tackling the wicked problems faced in the 21st century, which differs in many respects from its predecessors. Indeed, there are many wicked problems such as global climate change, international migration, social care, poverty, drug abuse etc. Unfortunately, these are not based on simple solutions. For this reason, the need for a model that will focus on these problems and seek solutions in the field of public administration has emerged. Two main paradigms have dominated the field of public administration until today: The Classical Public Administration (CPA) and the New Public Management (NPM). The CPA whose theoretical foundations were created by Woodrow Wilson (the politics/administration dichotomy), Frederick W. Taylor (the scientific management principles) and Max Weber (the theory of bureaucracy); existed as a valid paradigm until the 1980s with its assumptions such as strict rules, hierarchy emphasis, technocratic professionalism and isolation of the private sector. However, important changes in the public administration as in every field had occurred in 1970s, when many crises broke out both economically and socially. In this context, many public administration theorists argued that the CPA, which is based on political science, can no longer solve certain problems and they can be solved with a managerial perspective in the light of the economy’s assumptions (Hood, 1991; Rhodes, 1991; Osborne & Gaebler, 1992; Carroll et al., 1985). Therefore, many governments focused on the neoliberal policies such as liberalization, free market, competition and privatization of public services, etc. These policies soon mediated the emergence of a second paradigm called the “NPM”. However, after twenty years of successful experience, the NPM and the neoliberal policies were found to be inadequate in the 21st century. The main proof is the inability to meet needs of the complex society and to be successful in terms of efficiency (Drechsler, 2009; Çolak, 2019a). The determinations of Hood, who made the greatest contribution to the theoretical development of the model, are the most obvious proof of the situation. Hood & Dixon (2015: 266) stated that the volume of public services has been reduced by about one third over a thirty-year period, but the cost increase has not been prevented. In this chapter, the New Public Governance (NPG) model, which claims a third paradigm in the field of the public administration, is discussed in terms of its potential to find solutions to the wicked problems. In this framework, firstly, the NPG is explained as a post-NPM model. Then, in the second part, it is examined whether the NPG is a new paradigm or not. Finally, based on the expectations and the implementation issues, the evaluations have been made on the potential of the NPG to solve the wicked problems.