The NPM: The Trojan Horse in Accountability

Ron Kluvers, John Tippett


This empirical study is an attempt to understand the impact of the New Public Management (NPM) on
accountability within Victorian local government. The NPM has changed the parameters of public
decision-making. It is appropriate therefore to consider the effect of the NPM on the concept of accountability
held by staff and councillors of Victorian municipalities.
Data were collected from 79 Victorian municipalities. A survey instrument was distributed to councillors and
managers, with survey statements eliciting participants’ understanding of the operation of accountability. The
responses of a number of statements were cross-tabulated revealing some statistically significant associations
that revealed the effect of the NPM on the understanding of accountability. Respondents’ views revealed an
understanding of accountability in which stewardship was considered to be important but strongly influenced by
the NPM.

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