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The Role of the New Paradigm in Developing Countries

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ASPA as an organization.

By Mehmet Yesilbas
October 16, 2015

A central government with a strict hierarchical bureaucracy has been used as the chief mechanism for public policymaking and service delivery in developing countries for the past century. The main utility of the traditional public administrator in problem-solving was based on command and control apparatuses. This outdated model utilized direct service delivery tools with little or no participation of external actors. Nevertheless, the spread of communication and information technology led to transformations in both the economy and society, allowing the proliferation of globalization. This caused challenges not only to the conventional paradigm, but also to its instruments.

Improvements in the last quarter of the 20th century toward marketization and the provision of publicly funded services via third parties mandated a transformation in the role of the government agencies. This shift provides for several important techniques of public service delivery for governments. Contracting out is probably one of the most prevalent technique. The conventional government model cannot be effective alone to provide a solution to modern complex problems and does not meet the demands of today’s rapidly changing and complex world. These intricacies and restrictions led to a shift from a government to governance paradigm that is a network-based, flexible and more collaborated system. Governance represents the elimination of strict hierarchies and governing jointly with public and third party actors who may be private, nonprofit or civil society entities.

One of the most noteworthy features of the governance paradigm is that it offers a horizontally structured model. This feature results in the actors and stakeholders sharing public authority with a sense of collaboration in being part of the decision making process. The governance paradigm system provides more place-sensitive policies since its policies and strategies tend to be more regionalized and sensitive to local needs as Reddel emphasized in the 2002 study, “Beyond Participation, Hierarchies, Management & Markets: New Governance & Place Policies.”

Since developing countries have adopted the traditional regional development policy, several problem-solving mechanisms were created. However, it is clear that governance tools provide more flexible and collaborative instruments to handle public issues. As noted by Salamon in The New Governance and the Tools of Public Action: An Introduction, these tools are an identifiable way through which collective action as highlighted.

Recently, there have been several public reform efforts in developing countries. However, the lack of citizen engagement and participation in the public sector has always been an issue. This deficiency requires adapting the new governance paradigm. This flexible and dynamic approach could have a great impact on the new regional development perspective in emerging states. Hence, regional policy mechanisms in developing countries should evolve into a more flexible, decentralized, network-based and collaborative structure.

The practices of regional development agencies and new development policy clearly reveal that there is a fundamental shift from government to governance in developing countries already. Particularly in the last three decades, administrators have witnessed a paradigm shift, which includes an extensive and successful utilization of third parties and several new tools of government for the delivery of publicly funded services.


Author: Dr. Mehmet Yesilbas, Ph.D., MPA, LL.B is the District Governor of Kırkagac at Turkish Ministry of Interior, Attorney at Law. Dr. Yesilbas can be reached at [email protected].

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