Rethinking New Public Management: A Metaphorical Approach

Bin Chen


There has been a notion that public administration is steadily progressing toward a unanimously accepted and universally applicable administrative reform theory and practice called the New PublicManagement (NPM). To reinvent their public sectors, many countries have embraced the ideas of NPM that are based on the private sector model. Through the lens of a metaphorical analysis, this paper highlights and explores the specific weakness in the NPM’s claim of a convergence to a business-like model driven by competition and technological advances, reveals the private interests disguised as public good underlying the NPM movement, and questions its emphasis on managerialism by rejecting a politics-administration dichotomy. It is further argued that, like any other administrative and policy argument, viability of the NPM to a large extent depends on its ability to strategically craft persuasive rhetoric in its favor.

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Chinese Public Administration Review (ISSN 1539-6754, Online ISSN 2573-1483)  is published by the School of Government, Sun Yat-sen University.