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Driving performance in the public sector: what can we learn from Malaysia’s service delivery reform?

Driving performance in the public sector: what can we learn from Malaysia’s service delivery reform? PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to investigate the extent to which Malaysia’s most recent public service reform has improved service delivery and governmental performance. It also endeavors to identify critical success factors that explain reform performance and draw lessons based on the Malaysian experience.Design/methodology/approachThe paper adopts a case study approach and draws on data from both primary and secondary sources. Besides a thorough review of official documents and existing literature, the author conducted 20 individual interviews with key informants representing government officials, academics and civil society organizations.FindingsThe study shows that despite some pitfalls and misgivings, the Government Transformation Program (GTP) has produced concrete improvements in service delivery areas where previous reforms failed. One of the factors that underpin GTP’s relative success is the detailed performance management framework, which helped foster inter-agency collaboration and enforce accountability for results at various levels.Practical implicationsThe GTP success highlights the significance of adapting reform content to local situations especially when reforms are based on external models; sanctions from the highest political office; a dedicated unit to drive the implementation and an effective performance management framework through which individuals and agencies would be held to account for results achieved.Originality/valueDespite many and varied reform initiatives attempted in the past, cases of successful reform are rare, especially in developing countries. Little is known on what makes a reform work, a gap exacerbated by notable absence of systematic research on this topic. The paper contributes to address this by reviewing Malaysia’s innovative approach to reform and the insights that the Malaysian experience offers. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management Emerald Publishing

Driving performance in the public sector: what can we learn from Malaysia’s service delivery reform?

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References (47)

Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN
1741-0401
DOI
10.1108/IJPPM-06-2018-0232
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to investigate the extent to which Malaysia’s most recent public service reform has improved service delivery and governmental performance. It also endeavors to identify critical success factors that explain reform performance and draw lessons based on the Malaysian experience.Design/methodology/approachThe paper adopts a case study approach and draws on data from both primary and secondary sources. Besides a thorough review of official documents and existing literature, the author conducted 20 individual interviews with key informants representing government officials, academics and civil society organizations.FindingsThe study shows that despite some pitfalls and misgivings, the Government Transformation Program (GTP) has produced concrete improvements in service delivery areas where previous reforms failed. One of the factors that underpin GTP’s relative success is the detailed performance management framework, which helped foster inter-agency collaboration and enforce accountability for results at various levels.Practical implicationsThe GTP success highlights the significance of adapting reform content to local situations especially when reforms are based on external models; sanctions from the highest political office; a dedicated unit to drive the implementation and an effective performance management framework through which individuals and agencies would be held to account for results achieved.Originality/valueDespite many and varied reform initiatives attempted in the past, cases of successful reform are rare, especially in developing countries. Little is known on what makes a reform work, a gap exacerbated by notable absence of systematic research on this topic. The paper contributes to address this by reviewing Malaysia’s innovative approach to reform and the insights that the Malaysian experience offers.

Journal

International Journal of Productivity and Performance ManagementEmerald Publishing

Published: Jul 4, 2019

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