Inclusive Governance for Enhancing Professionalism in Civil Service: The Case of Bangladesh

  • Asif M. Shahan
  • Rizwan Khair


Public administration, as a field of study, has gone through a number of theoretical and practical challenges since its birth. And each time, these challenges have generated new questions and forced the field to search for its identity. Public administration has tried to be more democratic, more responsive and accountable, and in recent years, through focusing more on embracing private sector principles and methods, is trying to adopt a governance-oriented performance-based accountability system. This chapter acknowledges these trends and related challenges but draws attention to one specific issue, that is, a change in approach and new challenges that have not only contributed to the scientific advancement of the field but have also raised a number of “miss-questions” which have plagued public administration. These miss-questions have actually refused to die. This chapter focuses on one of these miss-questions, that is, the issue of specialists versus generalists, and makes an effort to explore how this has affected and is affecting the public administration system in Bangladesh. It shows that in Bangladesh, the issue of specialist versus generalist is still significant and has continued to play an important role in generating rivalry not only between the two groups, but also between different cadres in the Bangladesh Civil Service (BCS). It seems to have affected the morale of the specialists and people belonging to different cadre services and has posed a challenge to the country in terms of attaining its goal of “inclusive” governance. The chapter, however, argues that as the Government of Bangladesh is generally embracing the principles of New Public Management (NPM), focusing on multi-sectoral collaboration in formulating policies and implementing programs, an opportunity has been created to incorporate the perspectives of both specialists and generalists in policy formulation and implementation.


  1. Agranoff, R., & McGuire, M. (2004). Collaborative Public Management: New Strategies for Local Governments. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Alam, A. K. M. S., Momen, M. A., Haque, S., & Choudhury, I. A. (1998). Cadre Conflict: An Investigation into Conflicts in Bangladesh Civil Service. Dhaka: Bangladesh Public Administration Training Centre.Google Scholar
  3. Ali, A. M. M. S. (2004). Bangladesh Civil Service, A Political-Administrative Perspective. Dhaka: UPL.Google Scholar
  4. Cleveland, H. (1972). The Future Executive. Public Administration Review, 32(3), 247–251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Dahl, R. A. (1947). The Science of Public Administration: Three Problems. Public Administration Review, 7(1), 1–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Davies, J. S. (2005). Local Governance and the Dialectics of Hierarchy, Market and Network. Policy Studies, 26(3–4), 311–335.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Donahue, J. D., & Nye, J. S. (2001). Market Ascendancy and the Challenge of Governance: Governance Amid Bigger, Better Markets. Washington, DC: Brookings Institute.Google Scholar
  8. Dror, Y. (1968). Specialists vs. Generalists—A Miss-Question. Available at: tr/fulltext/u2/6 80695.pdf
  9. Frederickson, H. G. (1976). The Lineage of New Public Administration. Administration and Society, 8(2), 149–174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Frederickson, G. (2005). Whatever Happened to Public Administration? Governance, Governance Everywhere. In E. Ferlie, L. Lynn, & C. Pollitt (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Public Management. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Fukuyama, F. (2013). What Is Governance? Governance, 26(3), 347–368.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. GoB (Government of Bangladesh). (2000). Report of the Public Administration Reform Commission. Dhaka: Bangladesh Government Press.Google Scholar
  13. Hill, C. J. (2004). Review: Governance, Governance Everywhere. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 14(1), 139–142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Jahan, F., & Shahan, A. M. (2016). Agenda Shaping and Accountability in Public Policies. In N. Ahmed (Ed.), Public Policy and Governance in Bangladesh: Forty Years of Experience (pp. 71–86). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  15. Judge, D. (1981). Specialists and Generalists in British Central Government: A Political Debate. Public Administration, 59(1), 1–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Khair, R. (2004). The Dynamics of Policy Making in a Developing Country: The Environmental Sector in Bangladesh (Unpublished PhD Thesis). Armidale: University of New England.Google Scholar
  17. Khair, R. (2017). Participatory Policy Process in Bangladesh: Efforts in Search of Participatory Governance. In N. Ahmed (Ed.), Parliament, Public Policy, Local Government and Public Service Delivery in Bangladesh. Dhaka: University Press Limited (Forthcoming).Google Scholar
  18. Khan, A. A. (2015). Gresham’s Law Syndrome and Beyond: An Analysis of Bangladesh Bureaucracy. Dhaka: UPL.Google Scholar
  19. Krislov, S. (1974). Representative Bureaucracy. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  20. March, J. G., & Olsen, J. P. (1995). Democratic Governance. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  21. McGuire, M. (2003, October 9–11). Is It Really So Strange? A Critical Look at the “Network Management Is Different from Hierarchical Management Perspective”. Paper Presented at the 7th National Public Management Research Conference, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  22. Morshed, M. M. R. (1997). Bureaucratic Response to Administrative Decentralization. Dhaka: UPL.Google Scholar
  23. North, D. C., Wallis, J. J., Webb, S. B., & Weingast, B. R. (Eds.). (2013). In the Shadow of Violence: Politics, Economics, and the Problems of Development. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  24. O’Leary, R. (2015). From Silos to Networks. In M. E. Guy & M. M. Rubin (Eds.), Public Administration Evolving: From Foundations to the Future (pp. 85–100). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  25. Osman, F. A. (2004). Policy Making in Bangladesh: A Study of Health Policy Process. Dhaka: AHDPH.Google Scholar
  26. Pandit, A. D. (1968). Generalist Versus Specialist. India International Centre Quarterly, 2(1), 57–62.Google Scholar
  27. Rhodes, R. A. W. (1996). The New Governance: Governing Without Government. Political Studies, 44(4), 652–667.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Salamon, L. M. (2000). New Governance and the Tools of Public Action: An Introduction. The Fordham Urban Law Journal, 28, 1611.Google Scholar
  29. Shahan, A. M., & Jahan, F. (2014). Democratic Transition and Politics-Administration Relationship: The Case of Bangladesh. In N. Ahmed (Ed.), 40 Years of Public Administration and Governance in Bangladesh. Dhaka: UPL.Google Scholar
  30. Simon, H. A. (1946). The Proverbs of Administration. Public Administration Review, 6(1), 53–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Stoker, G. (1998). Governance as Theory: Five Propositions. International Social Science Journal, 50(155), 17–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Subramaniam, V. (1968). The Relative Status of Specialists and Generalists: An Attempt at a Comparative Historical Explanation. Public Administration, 46(3), 331–340.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Svara, J. H. (2001). The Myth of the Dichotomy: Complementarity of Politics and Administration in the Past and Future of Public Administration. Public Administration Review, 61(2), 176–183.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Wilson, W. (1887). The Study of Administration. Political Science Quarterly, 2(2), 197–222.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Zafarullah, H., & Huque, A. S. (2001). Public Management for Good Governance: Reforms, Regimes, and Reality in Bangladesh. International Journal of Public Administration, 24(12), 1379–1403.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Asif M. Shahan
    • 1
  • Rizwan Khair
    • 2
  1. 1.University of DhakaDhakaBangladesh
  2. 2.Bangladesh Public Administration Training Centre (BPATC)DhakaBangladesh

Personalised recommendations