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A business model for a different market oriented public government

augustus 16, 2011
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Since 2009 I publish columns about e.g. the public government in the Netherlands. Next to this I feel committed to discussions on topicalities. Doing so I obtain experience on the field of cultural differences between the two social networks, the Dutch Medianetwork (http://www.nederlandsmedianetwerk.nl/ ) and Ambtenaar 2.0. (PublicServant network 2.0) (http://ambtenaar20.ning.com/ )

Nyenrode Business University (http://www.nyenrode.nl/Pages/Default.aspx  ) offered a price. I took part in the contest as a consequence of this price-offering.

After more than two years experience in two different social networks, it feels like an apotheosis now seven professors and one lector judged my column to be one of the ten best. These highly educated professionals are committed to the Nyenrode Business University, for the subject MBA in Public & Private.

The criteria set upon the columns to be judged I consider them to be a well formulated task to an entrepreneur. I managed to set this task according these criteria. This confirmation of one of my skills is very important to me, due to my experiences in everyday practice. Here, you’ll find the criteria: http://bit.ly/jT2axR

This price of encouragement I consider to be one of the culminating points in my career as a column writer on the topic ‘public government’. I invite you kindly to read my translated text:

Through this article I accepted the challenge of the Business University Nyenrode ( http://www.nyenrode.nl/Pages/Default.aspx ) to write a column about filling the gap between public and private cultures in the Netherlands.  I – a self-employed professional – work in order of the government. Doing so, I still obtain multiple kinds of experiences on the threshold to public spheres.  My general attitude amongst public servants is emphasizing my professionalism. I do not belong to the specific culture of the organization. I have been hired for my profession. So, it is quite logic that I emphasize my professional skills.  That resulted in interesting information, especially if this information concerns the gap between public and private spheres in the Netherlands. See also my former publications: http://bit.ly/gbnk3c en http://bit.ly/iUYmSK

The subject of the price-offering is too broad and too common formulated to be useful for one column. Therefore I border the questioning by mentioning the problems I see in general.

To the highest levels in society the opinions have been divided about the desired position in the Dutch society of the public government. Professors, in common, reason to a shade on this subject. Some amongst them feed British professors like R.A.W. Rhodes, author of The new government, governing without a government , others will be inspired by the first negative experiences in our society with a government that is following the economical way of thinking on macro level of our society. I mention in this respect two prominent well known persons in our governmental surroundings: Alex Brenninkmeijer, national counselor, The government as being a business organization (http://bit.ly/ilHxn7 ) and vice-president of the Council of State, Herman Tjeenk Willink The government is not a business organization – ( http://bit.ly/l8V9LY )

Bordering of the questioning

Closing the gap between private and public cultures make believe that there is such a gap and that these cultures exist. For instance I mention the ABN AMRO bank before the government ‘took this bank over’ with an investment of 23,3 billion Euro. The culture in this bank should be public now. Nonetheless is true. So, the culture in an organization is not determined by the way of financing.  My statement is that a culture of an organization is determined by two elements: (1) the functions an organization has and (2) the way the organization makes it possible to practice these functions.

In that respect I read an interesting article about the local governments: aldermen demand better education (http://bit.ly/mT7YZs) Unthinkable that a leader in the private sector would survive such a public demand. A leader in the private sector realizes that it is a question of to be or not to be – if he is not well educated, he won’t survive. A leader in the private sector will take care for his education.  He won’t demand – he will do. If he does not, he can leave.  Thereby it is not quite sure in daily practice public servant-leaders are eager in accepting the leadership of the Major and aldermen. This despite the position the City-Council  and the Major and Aldermen should have in the organization according the Constitution. (Dutch Constitution article 125 section 1 and 2). In that respect a giant gap is beginning to yawn between public and private.

The differences in functions of a bank and a government are obvious: the bank controls the money of individuals and businesses and offers the consumer products he can use for himself. The government makes e.g. laws, offers services and rules the society. The government takes care of in what way civilians relate towards one and other and how they relate towards the public domain.

More and more the differences are fading between organizations, on the parameter ‘the way the organization makes it possible to practice these functions’ due to the increased use of computers.  The largest difference between private and public are to be defined realizing ourselves that the local government is solely ruling the public domain and is solely setting the local law. In that respect individuals too, do have their interests. One other cultural difference is the answer to the question of how obvious it can be for public servants they function well in their daily work. And a difference is that an organization for public government doesn’t have any competition with some other institute. Next to this a public organization doesn’t make any profit. Banks do have competition and these institutes make profit.

The cultural differences have not been exhausted yet. The board of Council of a bank is beyond any doubt the boss. It is not quite clear in the Netherlands which functionary in daily work the boss is in organizations of the government. Although in the local governments the city-council is the head of the organization, that council however is not authorized to mingle in the daily management. In that respect it is relevant to realize that an organization of the public government has been financed by all citizens whatever they have voted, left or right wing. The bank is being run with the money of the shareholders and the clients. When a bank does not function well, is has direct consequences to their income. That is a directly felt interest. The civilian in common, does not have such a direct experience in a well functioning organization of the government.

Both bank and government employ employees originating out of western society oriented schools of education. An education for becoming a manager of a bank has different kind of institutions, but other than these for becoming a manager in the government. Thus students are getting used to the culture of their own concerns. Institutions for training managers in Governmental organizations are apart from these – that is a world apart.

Changing step by step on the way

If we consider our country to be a business-organization amidst other business-organizations in the world, the perspective is rising to see in what way we can close the gap between the cultures. Each country must think businesslike. Nothing is wrong with that on principle. Each family should do that all over the world.  Then the question rises which economical model we should follow: John Keynes’? He saw trap-falls in capitalism. He saw the interest of the society in the economical guidance of the government. Or do we follow the model of Adam Smith, economical liberalism. Or perhaps we follow the governmental model of R.A.W. Rhodes. Then we have civilian experts participate in ruling committees erected by the Government.

Take the fences down inbetween the government and the society

If we follow Rhodes we get scarcely populated governmental institutes. The public servants need to accomplish the same achievements in comparison to what they must achieve nowadays. But they accomplish them with help of civilian experts in temporally erected committees. The civil members have been set tasks to fulfill. These civilians are experts on these tasks. The civil servant-members and the politician-members need to control the public interests. For until now both the alleged power of the large moneyed interest and the heavy governmental organizations were not capable in keeping running the dynamics in society.

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