Public sector senior management competencies required for the South African democratic, developmental state
De Wet, Christina Hendrika
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Adopting the philosophy of a developmental state proved to have a distinct attractiveness to nations around the world as it offers rapid economic growth and global recognition. In recognising that such an offering comes at an extraordinary price, this study introduces and then explores the nature and character of six developmental states through a primary theory as the paradigmatic evolution of such states. A secondary theory supports the substructure of this research study as it explores the innate layers of the developmental state's nature and character: By recceing the leadership that led nations successfully to and through such philosophy; by conceding international and national force–fields that unceasingly have an impact on nations; by considering three dimensions (political dimension, economic dimension and social dimension) that are inter–responsive to each other as well as global and national force–fields; and by considering the intents linked to each of these developmental state landscape dimensions. The study notes such intents as: State building, rule of law and democracy; rapid economic growth and facilitation of redistribution; and, nation–building and national identity, social equity and social capital. This study suitably recognises that the philosophy of a developmental state cannot be replicated from one nation to the next as each nation filters the developmental philosophy through its own unique history, present conditions, future projections and developmental agenda. Considering the resource value of scholarly efforts that contributes to the global developmental philosophy, the research narrows down to explore South Africa as a democratic, developmental state. The exact approach of a secondary theory is applied to reveal the uniquely, South African filtered approach to such a philosophy as this nation is compelled to simultaneously consider a developmental state intent such as facilitation of redistribution in order to successfully address increasing socio–economic challenges. An earlier mention was made of the extraordinary price that is connected to the offerings of a developmental state philosophy. Such an extraordinary price entails an array of elements amongst which a resilient, developmentalist leadership, organisational structure, strong state characteristics, and a highly competent bureaucracy features to acquire the full offering of a developmental state. The study therefore recognises that it would be academically naïve to singularly relate developmental success to bureaucratic aptitude. Therefore, based on the fact that the focus of this study relates to public sector senior management competence in the South African democratic, developmental state, additional important elements are observed as peripheral rudiments to this study. Which competencies would enable South African public sector senior managers to manage and lead towards sustained socio–economic growth from which the nation as a whole could benefit? Contemporary public sector senior managers, serving as the administrative bureaucracy within democratic, developmental states are compelled by their position and the citizens of that nation to display continuous high levels of proficiency in identified public sector relevant competencies. The South African public sector is no exception to this universally defined, developmental state characteristic. The moral fibre and capacity of the South African state's public sector senior management, as major instrument in promoting developmental competence, can be nothing but impeccable amidst complex socio–economic circumstances. An evaluation of the learning domain levels in this study, contributes to the disparities that exist between South African political elite's performance expectations of the bureaucracy and the bureaucracy's displayed aptitude. In addition, the study identifies competency domains and competency contributors relevant to the South African public sector, senior managers serving in a democratic, developmental state. In conclusion, the study offers recommendations to align the existing South African public sector senior management competency framework to include competency domains and competencies that would enable a public sector senior management to achieve optimal results in a democratic, developmental state.
- Humanities