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M Pesaran Ghader, Ph D Public Sector Management, Research Consultant to the M&PO, editor-in-chief of Administrative Reform periodical, Secretory to the Technical Committee of the International Conference on QM
M Pesaran Ghader, Ph D Public Sector Management, Research Consultant to the M&PO, editor-in-chief of Administrative Reform periodical, Secretory to the Technical Committee of the International Conference on QM

Reengineering Public Sector Management:

a widely spreading view in administrative evolution

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In contemporary management, flexibility has become indispensable in all areas, including activities, customers, and employees, such that bringing about any sort of evolution in the administrative system would not be possible with micro-level changes in the existing structures and would need essential changes. Process reengineering is a model that satisfies this need, a model that in a way reidentifies and redesigns activities. It should be noted that this model can be implemented in organizational structures and management processes through the application of information technology. This has already been implemented successfully in such countries as Malaysia, Singapore, Egypt, Uruguay, and Bulgaria and some other countries, notably China, Thailand and the Philippines are in the process of implementing the model.

In our country, which presently is going through an increasingly dynamic and complex environment, dealing with "economic management" has become a necessity because of the rapid population and unemployment growths, increasing poverty and, therefore, corruption and the appalling weakness of the executive institutions in the implementation of the decisions and ratifications of the authorities. But to deal with "economic management" has a prerequisite, a "far more urgent need": the need to review the role of the state and to reconstruct the government apparatus which can only be possible if state policies are changed drastically such as to lead to a creative, empowering, participative, and competitive environment for the development of economic activities.

Reengineering of public sector or administrative managements means reengineering of the process of design "activities", and this, contrary to the traditional view is based on a separate approach that is micro and linear, but needs a consolidated and system approach in its dealings with issues, and finding suitable solutions. This will give the organization a new deployment, and the ability to continue its existence in the new economic conditions, ready to face challenges of the 21st century.

Manager The two major factors in reengineering are "creative and innovative management", and a "tendency to bring about essential changes". Unfortunately, the existence of the old system with its strong bureaucracy, strict up-down management, past failures in this direction, centralization of decision-making, strong tendency to state control of all activities make up a strong barrier on the way to achieving this aim. Reengineering of public sector or administrative management, embraces planning new and comprehensive programs, including that of administrative processes and its implementation, and of structures and support information systems, directly or indirectly, by joining the organizational strategy with the relevant processes that make the successful execution of the strategy possible.

The administrative management reengineering that is all-embracing and evolutionary, and encompasses the four items of strategy, organizational structure, information technology, and culture has changed failures resulting from a one-factor and an abstract approach, to administrative reform. By using strategic management solutions it arrives at the strategic horizon and organizational objectives. In practice this means customer satisfaction as well as the satisfaction of employees and stakeholders, an everlasting principle derived from Total Quality Management.

Process reengineering can be satisfactorily and very usefully implemented through the following stages:

  1. Describing and image-making of the desired future: formulating the strategic horizon, as well as other systematic excellence aims for the public sector
  2. Determining or discovering processes through identifying aims; describing, and limiting internal communications, main inputs and outputs of process and identification of customers, both internal and external, and resource suppliers
  3. Redesigning processes (placing the process within a suitable conceptual model), analyzing strength and weakness points of the process, and redesigning it on the basis of the needs, technologies and the necessary resources for improvement
  4. Implementing the redesigned process through changes in the organizational structure and the existing information system and organizational culture
  5. Evaluating the process, i.e. the continual evaluation of the newly implemented process
  6. Receiving feedback and implementing the reengineering cycle; and repeating stage 1 to 5 in order to achieve total improvement and materialization of goals and objectives

Clearly, taking these practical steps will need the executive organization that is to be put in charge, i.e. deployment of employees for reengineering the processes to play the following roles, separately or in various combinations:

  • Reengineering and Making Fundamental Changes Leader: the High Executive Director in the Area of Strategies is the person who causes and motivates all efforts undertaken for replanning
  • Process Executor: is a manager who has the responsibility for a certain process at the center for replanning
  • Reengineering Group: are a number of people whose main concern is the redesigning of a certain process. These people diagnose the problems with the existing process and supervise the redesigning of the process and its execution
  • Steering Committee: is a policy-making group comprising the highest level of managers who create the general strategy for redesigning the organization and supervising its progress
  • Caesar of Reengineering: is a person who is in charge of developing the technology and tools for redesigning the organization and is responsible for achieving synergy in all of the organization's reengineering projects

In this way the reengineering leader, chooses the process executor who in turn forms the reengineering group so that the process is reengineered with the help of the person in charge and under the supervision of the steering committee. The experience of the persons in charge of the reengineering group in training workshops, and the lessons they have learnt indicate that:

  1. You don't have to be an expert to be able to reengineer a certain process
  2. External assistance has great importance
  3. All premises must be got rid of
  4. It is important to see the works from the eyes of customers and service receivers
  5. Reengineering can only be implemented with the help of groups
  6. We do not have to know much about the current process
  7. It is not difficult to have outstanding thoughts and ideas
  8. Reengineering can be delightful, as an entertainment program that ends in awakening the employees and encouraging them to prepare themselves for explanations with the aim of compliance with reengineered processes.

The following mistakes defeat the reengineering of management and organizational processes, and indicate that the implementors are not yet ready to implement the process in the public sector, entirely:

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  • Efforts to reform rather than change the process
  • Ignoring the organization's work and activity processes
  • Ignoring all besides process design
  • Ignoring employee values and convictions
  • Accepting results of less importance
  • Impatience and giving up efforts towards reengineering too early
  • Confirming past limitations on the definition of the issue and the scope of reengineering efforts
  • Prevention of reengineering movements by traditional cultural bodies and traditional management views
  • Attempts at down-up reengineering
  • Appointment of a leader who lacks a clear understanding of reengineering processes in operations
  • Thriftiness in allocating resources required for process reengineering
  • Drowning process reengineering in current organizational activities
  • Dispersing one's potentials among numerous process reengineering activities
  • Attempting to achieve process reengineering during the short time of senior management duration (if this period is less than two years)
  • Failure to distinguish process reengineering from other reform plans
  • Relying solely on designing and not on actual materialization of plans in practice
  • Attempts at reengineering without troubling anyone
  • Retreat from facing people that resist reengineering changes
  • Prolonging the duration of process reengineering works

To put it in a nutshell, the survival of every organization in the contemporary world demands a strong executive leadership, serious attention to customers and their needs and the design and better execution of processes. Reengineering is an effective tool at the disposal of organizations and in the hands of those who are aware of how to use it in order to achieve the necessary factors for success and for attaining effectiveness, efficiency and cost-effectiveness in the organization.

Reengineering needs hard work, zeal and courage. It requires a complete change in the traditional way of thinking; it is a new effort that is made by forerunners of change and of basic evolution in organizational management, i.e. people who can give suitable answers to 21st century issues, and shall write the new regulations of administering public sector administration and management. All that is needed is adequate will and courage.

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