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Title: Limits to civil service and administrative reform in a fragile and conflict affected situation : a case study of Afghanistan 2002-2012
Author: Wilson, Gregory J.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5360 3112
Awarding Body: Cranfield University
Current Institution: Cranfield University
Date of Award: 2015
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This research examined the challenges, decisions, issues, and dilemmas facing the International Community (IC) in attempting to re-establish and rebuild public administration and other government institutions in a country that continues to suffer from instability and remains at high risk of further conflict. The research looks specifically at a subset of Public Administration Reform (PAR): Civil Service and Administrative Reform (CSAR). The research concludes that CSAR in a Fragile and Conflict Affected State (FCAS) such as Afghanistan is clearly a ‘wicked problem’ requiring innovative, iterative and adaptive responses by the IC over an extended time period. However, the IC treats CSAR in Afghanistan as a ‘tame’ problem simply framed in terms of ‘we are coming to build your capacity’, resulting in slow progress on public sector reform overall and little understanding of the relationship with overarching statebuilding and stabilisation objectives. Despite the acknowledgement of the importance of CSAR, IC support has fallen dramatically in recent years. The current approach to supporting CSAR in Afghanistan is therefore almost guaranteed to fail. The research calls for a new approach to PAR in these types of cases, one that recognises the severe limits to progress utilising existing approaches and structures rooted in Western notions of good government. A new approach goes beyond the overwhelming focus on capacity development; emphasises the importance of understanding what space exists for reform; recognises the need to pragmatically confront trade- offs between the competing objectives of reconciling stabilisation imperatives with wider considerations of ‘good governance’; and poses an alternative expanded framework for considering public administration, legitimacy, authority and representation in the government of an FCAS, partly as an organising framework but also as an aid to understanding the complexity of interrelated systems prevalent in an FCAS. The research also concludes that a great deal more independent academic research is required to understand how to make progress in Public Sector Reform (PSR), stabilisation and longer-term development that will help prevent countries slipping back into conflict.
Supervisor: Fitz-Gerald, A. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Public administration ; Afghanistan ; Civil service ; Reform