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Title: NPM, e-government and the modernization of public services in the Sultanate of Oman
Authors: Al Zadjali, Fatma Mohammed Ali
Issue Date: 2021
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: This thesis critically examines the development and implementation of e-government projects in the Sultanate of Oman after 2003 when the government published its intention, in the spirit of new public management (NPM), to raise the quality and performance of key public services. At the core of the research is a comparative analysis of five in-depth case studies of representative service modernization projects driven by the introduction of new information systems. The goal of the research is to evaluate the performance of NPM inspired projects in Oman to learn lessons that might lead to beneficial changes in future policy and practice. The study considers inter alia the goals and strategy of the Omani government, the selections and design of modernization projects, problems of execution and obstacles to change, and the reasons for differing degrees of success achieved in meeting project objectives. The five case studies of Omani e-government modernization projects were developed mainly from interviews conducted with officials in government departments at different levels of management and managers directly responsible for project design and implementation. Further interviews with experts and policymakers focused on government strategy, policymaking and project monitoring. These interviews were especially important in locating the five case studies in a wider strategic, cultural and historical context. Documentary evidence was gathered whenever possible on individual projects and on government’s strategic plans and policies. Taken together, the researcher accumulated a large and rich collection of data sources, which were analyzed taking a bottom up, inductive, grounded theoretical approach, enabling the researcher to develop fresh theoretical perspectives, interpretations and practical recommendations. The study is the first to document, analyse and evaluate the modernization of public services in Oman, and one of few to examine in-depth the adoption of NPM methods in developing countries. Lack of financial resources, failure to define appropriate measures of individual and organizational performance and lack of interest in training were found to be the main reasons limiting the success of projects. From a comparative perspective, however, degrees of success varied considerably, highlighting that proper planning, project management and training invariably paid dividends, explaining differences in outcomes. Finally, the research extends our theoretical understanding of NPM projects in developing countries, highlighting the importance of feasibility studies and stakeholder participation in formulating public sector improvement policies.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:Newcastle University Business School

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