What is New Public Management Theory?

What is New Public Management Theory?

Reducing Corruption in Public Administration

New Public Management theory (NPM) developed in the early 20th century to reduce the corruption running rampant in the American Government. By introducing effective administration and separating the implementation of public policies from the political decisions that created those policies, the subversion of democratic values through corruption and political favoritism decreased. This has been the evolution of public administration also known as the public-administration paradigm. While corruption was relatively decreased by the Public-administration paradigm, a problem of performance and effectiveness developed in American public administration by the end of the 20th century (Kettl, 2002). NPM evolved out of new business models of the private sector and focuses on producing results. There is no attempt to disconnect administration from politics or policy. In fact, civil servants under NPM are encouraged to develop new, innovative approaches to solving public problems because they are on the front-line close to the problem, putting them in a very good position to know the best approach to take to solve the problem.

Despite a large number of advantages an analysis of NPM reveals several weaknesses in this management model for public administration. Accountability to the public is decreased. Another issue with NPM is the underlying issues and weaknesses that plague the public sector are still present, only the language used in the public sector has changed (Kettl, 2002). NPM does not promote the public good as it claims, but rather promotes the career interests of an elite group of top managers and officials (Kettl, 2002).

One can see both the benefits of NPM in many modern organizations which have become more efficient such as Housing and Urban development which is more focused on a singular mission. However, the disadvantages are also seen in the fact that public actors in organizations such as HUD are often at the mercy of politicians and changes in office (Kettl, 2002).


Kettl, D. (2002). The Transformation of Governance: Public Administration for Twenty-First Century America. New York: Century.

Photo by David Everett Strickler on Unsplash


Triola Vincent. Tue, Mar 16, 2021. What is New Public Management Theory? Retrieved from

Need similar articles?

Back to: Ten Years of Academic Writing