Presentation Details

The Fourth International Conference on Knowledge, Culture and Change in Organisations

Reality Check for NPM: Change Management at Airports Fiji Ltd.

Appana Subhash.

New Public Management (NPM) operates as a model of change that attempts to address deficiencies found in traditional public administration. It has become the preferred model for the delivery of public services since the UK (1979) and US (1980) adopted it as a radically different approach to management in the public sector. PM Thatcher’s reorientation was largely influenced by Niskanen (1971) who established that the existence of “maximising” tendencies among both “bureaus” and bureaucrats, the primary target of Weber, necessitated a relook at the bureaucratic model. Since then, NPM has been applied in a number of settings with varying degrees of success.

It has been found that apart from its questionable faith in the efficiency of the market as a regulator of individual and organizational conduct, NPM has a number of inherent contradictions and weaknesses that become particularly pronounced in traditional settings. This paper firstly analyses critically the NPM model, and then evaluates its application in the restructure of Civil Aviation Authority of Fiji (CAAF) into Civil Aviation Authority of the Fiji Islands (CAAFI) and Airports Fiji Ltd. (AFL). It contends that the plethora of problems currently plaguing AFL is directly linked to the use of NPM in the restructure of CAAF and its continuing usage in AFL. This is the biggest obstacle in the successful development of a culture of change within AFL.


Appana Subhash  (New Zealand)
PhD Candidate
Department of Management and Employment Relations
University of Auckland

Graduated with MA from Sophia University (Tokyo) in 1990. Appointed Lecturer in Management at University of the South Pacific (Fiji) in 1991. Japan Foundation Fellow (1994-1995) researching “Japanese-style Operations Management”. On training leave from USP to pursue PhD at University of Auckland since 2001.

  • New Public Management (NPM)
  • Public Enterprise Restructuring
  • Change Management

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)