Investigating the likely impact of new public management on human resource managers and academic lecturers in the Saudi Arabian higher education sector
AffiliationManagement Research Centre, University of Wolverhampton Business School, Faculty of Arts, Business and Social Sciences
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AbstractSince the 1980s, new public management (NPM) has been considered the dominant model of public management. The model has many elements that have been adopted from different countries around the world, in particular Western countries, to reform their public sector organisations. This research examines four main models of NPM and extracts the common and most influential elements (e.g., decentralisation and empowerment) to build the theoretical framework for this research. Using this framework, the study investigates the implementation of aspects of the NPM model in a non-Western context, namely the higher education sector of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). Saudi Arabia is undergoing historic transformation since 2016, including the launch of the country's largest economic reform plan to date- Vision 2030. This plan aims to reduce the dependence on oil revenues and to enhance the role of the public and private sectors in the Saudi economy. The Vision aims also to modernise its public sector administrative model. This research investigates the likely impact of NPM-oriented public sector reforms on the Saudi HE sectors. The research takes the form of qualitative case studies. Five public universities were selected to represent the five geographical regions of the country. Data was collected using semi-structured interviews. Using an interpretive lens, the researcher explored the multiple interpretations, different meanings and experiences of the participants regarding the research issues. NVivo software was used in the coding and classification of the data. Content analysis helped with the analysis of the huge number of texts and identification of the patterns and relationships among the five cases. The results indicate that the Saudi HE sector has several managerial problems such as strict centralisation, lack of empowerment, participation and competition, which appear to have put pressure on the government to launch its reform agenda. The Vision 2030 has led to many positive effects, including the autonomy of three universities and the issuance of new civil performance measurement. From the research findings, the NPM model is unlikely to be applicable in Saudi Arabia due to the revealed challenges such as the prevalence of the central style, weak empowerment and participation. The working conditions of the Saudi public employees, such as job security, workload, work pressure, and salary, are expected negatively impact the applicability and implementation of NPM tenets in Saudi Arabia. This research contributes to the study of NPM reforms, and sheds new light on its applicability in the HE sector in a non-Western, nondemocratic context.
PublisherUniversity of Wolverhampton
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the University of Wolverhampton for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
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