The New Public Service: Serving Rather than Steering



The New Public Management has championed a vision of public managers as the entrepreneurs of a new, leaner, and increasingly privatized government, emulating not only the practices but also the values of business. Proponents of the New Public Management have developed their arguments largely through contrasts with the old public administration. In this comparison, the New Public Management will, of course, always win. We argue here that the better contrast is with what we call the “New Public Service,” a movement built on work in democratic citizenship, community and civil society, and organizational humanism and discourse theory. We suggest seven principles of the New Public Service, most notably that the primary role of the public servant is to help citizens articulate and meet their shared interests rather than to attempt to control or steer society.