August 19, 2016

In search of a better governance

It is worth noting that there are several theories of governance as discussed by Jon Pierre and Guy Peters (2000). They are traditional authority; autopoiesis and network steering; cybernetics and steering or system theory; policy instruments; institutional analysis; rational choice; network and policy communities or policy network theory; interpretive theory; and organization theory.
The traditional authority approach is usually seen as ‘top down’ authority vested in the state. Under this model, the technique of governance is law and coercion; any challenge to the authority is considered unacceptable. This ‘top down’ approach is less compatible with the system in most of the small European states where there is the history of compromise, coalition and conflict management.
On the other hand, the autopoiesis and network
steering approach is an alternative view of power residing in the state. Its argument is that the government is becoming increasingly powerless in its relation to society. According to this approach, the society and market have developed the ability for self-organization as well as for the evasion of any control by the government. This approach is found in states like the Netherlands, where the government has a history of accommodating the social interest as the society has a history of having a rich organizational culture.
Another form of the steering process argues that the government is receptive towards change in the environment and exerts efforts to maintain equilibrium for certain key indicators. Karl Deutsch developed a model of the government as a cybernetic system. According to him, governments ought to attempt to become more cybernetic and be more responsive to the environment with an assumption that the government can steer themselves and society rather well should they merely develop the information processing capabilities.
The argument of policy instrument approach is that the choice of tools will not only have an impact on the policy area, but also a secondary impact on the economy and society. This approach is not much concerned about the relationship between the state and the society unlike the two earlier approaches.
Concerning the institutional theory, the institutional question related to the civil society organizations (CSOs) is a major concern in finding the best strategy for the governing process, whereas rational choice theorists believe in the principal-agent idea of public bureaucracy in which principal like the political executive of some sort is trying to control his or her agent through contracts or any other arrangements. These agents, who can be agencies or individual bureaucrats, have incentives to pursue their own goals and to shirk control from the principals.
All the aforementioned approaches inclusive of policy network, interpretive and organization theories are consistently debated to find a better governance, which has become a very important process that would foster the democratic spirit, accountability, transparency and management of resources in a better way.


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