Revisiting administrative 'capacity' in the context of public service transformation

SOURCE: Journal of Public Administration
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2009
TITLE AUTHOR(S): V.Naidoo
KEYWORDS: PUBLIC SERVICES SECTOR, TRANSFORMATION
DEPARTMENT: Developmental, Capable and Ethical State (DCES)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 6281
HANDLE: 20.500.11910/4331

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Abstract

This article examines the issue and concept of administrative capacity in South Africa's public service. It critiques the use of the term capacity on conceptual grounds, by outlining three perspectives, two of which have been pre-eminent in the post-apartheid transformation of the public service. These are the possession of capacity and the acquisition of capacity, which function on the availability of sufficient resources to implement programmes and deliver services. In contrast to these two perspectives a third interpretation of capacity is pursued, which emphasizes the influence of organisational and operational conditions on capacity. This article will argue, and illustrate using empirical data that his third interpretation of capacity can offer useful contextual insights and give greater dimension to conventional and more narrow resource-based definitions of administrative capacity.