Home > Current Affairs > Public Sector Productivity – something that was never meant to be!

Public Sector Productivity – something that was never meant to be!

February 3, 2008 Leave a comment Go to comments

bringing in change in the public sectorWith the world still reveling in the light of globalization that promises a higher economic growth… the private sector seems to have entrenched its place as the locus of economic activity. However, fundamental to long-term prosperity and stability in the society including the private sector is a robust, productive public sector.

The changing world has put up a new set of challenges in front of every single major government in the world… and how these challenges are resolved will determine both the shape and pace of world economic growth and will fundamentally redefine the role and purpose of public sector.

Some of the potential benefits from public sector productivity on similar lines with private sector productivity gains are improved transparency, effective performance management, higher accountability, improved appreciation of technology and grooming better talent.

Having built the case for the need for public sector productivity, here are the key areas that can be addressed by taking some learning from the private sector experience:
1. Measuring public sector performance
Currently, we talk of measuring output of initiatives undertaken by the public sector but do we rarely extend the same to the public sector personnel. The idea is to take public sector as a typical private sector service organization to develop strong performance measurement mechanisms that are self-evolving.

2. Creating quasi-competition to handle lack of market forces
Again, public sector has always had this unique distinction of not having any competition and yet having no discretion to choose its customers. However, competition is fundamental to strong productive growth and hence it is important to again trace the private sector experience and develop quasi-competition within the government at various levels to drive productivity.

3. Managing resistance to productivity
What public sector offers is an assured job, relaxed work culture, no performance-driven career growth  a natural breeding ground for resistance to any productivity measure. And this results in failure to attract the best talent in the public sector. In the face of the ever-increasing demand from the public sector consumers, it is no longer possible for the public sector to remain immune to the typical challenge of any organization – talent retention.

4. Segregating the political and the reforms process
All through history, the political and the reforms process have always shared a volatile dichotomy. However, one important change that has not been taken into account is the fact that the political process has transformed from a long-term one to a short-term one while the reforms process still continues to be a long-term initiative. This is reason enough to shake the bogus dichotomy. Taxation and other such initiatives might still maintain that link but it is high time the public sector reforms process moves out of the cudgels of the political echelons.

(An abstract from the current Thought Leadership Paper I am authoring)

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  1. March 21, 2010 at 12:10 pm

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