Should Governments be run as businesses? (Arguments in favour)

The case of power

According to Quayle (1998) and Brammer and Walker (2011) the study of power needs to be recognised for how organizations succeed or fail to meet their objectives. Even though the use of power can be positive because it helps people delegate tasks effectively, at the same time it can be destructive because of interpersonal tensions and rivalries.

For this reason, Brammer and Walker (2011) distinguish between formal and informal sources of power. A government should be run as a business for ensuring that the internal political issues between members are not preventing the government to achieve its targets (Cox, Roberts and Walton, 2012). For this reason the government should be clear on the objectives that it needs to meet for its people and carry a strong sense of accountability for whether performance goals are achieved or not (Cristensen et al., 2007). For this reason a government should run like a business in the way that internal conflicts of interest are not hindering its progress and performance. 

Performance and Accountability

Governments often want to win the support of their constituents whilst ignoring promises that they made. According to Cristensen et al. (2007) organizations are accountable towards their stakeholders in terms of producing profit returns. As government are designated in order to produce money as they are non-profit organizations, nevertheless, they need to create value for their citizens (West, 2005). For this reason governments need to remain accountable for the extent to which they have achieved their promised performance targets. Individual that fail to perform need to be given additional training or replaced with more capable individuals in the same way organizations try to improve their performance and operations (Vaidya, Sajeev and Callender, 2006).

The management of change and learning

Governments are considered to become complacent after they are in power. Politicians tend to lose touch with the real needs of the people. Pubic services become slow and highly constrained with different forms of bureaucracy. According to Schiele and McCue (2006) organizations need to manage change effectively by understanding how new forms of technology and procurement needs to become more agile and efficient for producing good returns (Schiele and McCue, 2006). Governments should become more proactive in managing change. This can be done with creating greater opportunities with citizens so that they can obtain information about what they think (Deakins and Dillon, 2006). The management of change should only be distributed from the people who have high authority and decision making power. As the literature on change management indicates (West, 2005) employees need to be able to distribute information and this information needs to inform how decisions are produced in the organization. For this reason the government needs to operate like an organization and with being proactive to the management of change but also with acquiring new learning in order to become more adaptive and efficient in its operations (Hazlett, McAdam and Beggs, 2008).

Disclaimer: The post is a part of an academic assignment for the university of Bolton and does not necessarily reflect my personal views.
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Brammer, S. and Walker, H. (2011) Sustainable procurement in the public sector: an international comparative study”, International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 31 Iss 4 pp. 452 -476

Cox M, Roberts M and Walton, J (2012) “IT Outsourcing in the Public Sector Local Government: Experiences of the management and selection of IT service providers.” The Electronic Journal Information Systems Evaluation Volume 15 Issue 3 2012, 231-243

Cristensen, T. Laegreid, P., Roness, G. P. and Rovik, A. K. (2007) Organization theory and the public sector. Instrument, culture and myth. Abington, Oxon: Routledge

Deakins, E. and Dillon, S. (2006) “Management consultant (process) performance in local government”, International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 19 Iss 1 pp. 40 – 56

Hazlett, A. S., McAdam, R. and Beggs, V. (2008) An exploratory study of knowledge flows: A case study of Public Sector Procurement’, Total Quality Management, Vol.19, Nos.1-2, pp.57-66

Quayle, M. (1998) The impact of strategic procurement in the UK government sector”, International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 11 Iss 5 pp. 397 – 413

Schiele, J. J. and McCue, P.C. (2006) Professional service acquisition in public sector procurement”, International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 26 Iss 3 pp. 300 – 325

Vaidya, K. Sajeev, S.A. M. and Callender, G. (2006) Critical factors that influence e-procurement implementation success in the public sector’, Journal of Public Procurement, Vol.6, No.1&3, pp.70-99

West, M. D (2005) Digital Government. Technology and Public Sector Performance. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press.

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