Public Governance in the Face of Disruptive Change: Public Administration for the 21st Century
Manuel Muñiz, Rafael Domenech, José Ramón Pin
On 31 May 2017, the Rafael del Pino Foundation and the Secretary of State for Trade of the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness organised a dialogue entitled "Public Governance in the Face of Disruptive Change: A Public Administration for the 21st Century" on the occasion of the publication of the ICE monograph "Public Administration in the 21st Century".
Speakers at the event included: Marisa PoncelaSecretary of State for Trade, Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness, Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness
Round Table Manuel MuñizDirector, Program on Transatlantic Relations, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University Rafael DomenechHead of Macroeconomic Analysis at BBVA and Professor of Economics at the University of Valencia. José Ramón PinProfessor of Managing People in Organisations, IESE Business School
The intense and disruptive process of innovation and liberalisation has altered the rules of the game, requiring new leadership with the capacity to adapt to an environment of exponential change, which is more difficult to predict and has a greater socio-economic impact. The exercise of government and the administration of public affairs are no strangers to this process. Public administration must adapt to the new vectors of change in order to maintain its role as the backbone of society, which is key to ensuring and even extending the levels of economic and social cohesion achieved.
On 31 May 2017, a meeting on public governance in the face of disruptive change was held at the Rafael del Pino Foundation, on the occasion of the presentation of the monograph that the magazine Información Comercial Española dedicated to this topic. Manuel Muñiz, Director of the Program on Transatlantic Relations at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University; Rafael Domenech, Head of Macroeconomic Analysis at BBVA and Professor of Economics at the University of Valencia, and José Ramón Pin, Professor of Managing People in Organisations at IESE Business School, took part in the event. Manuel Muñiz spoke about the vectors of transformation in today's society and pointed out that the greatest challenge it faces is accelerated and exponential technological change. The application of science and technology is changing everything. In this regard, he pointed out that the entire economic development of mankind is concentrated in the last two hundred years. The vectors of change are multiple: robotics, artificial intelligence, the future of employment, data, privacy, neuroscience, life sciences, genetic manipulation, organ printing, ... The seams of society are about to break at many of these points because the speed of adaptation to these changes in society and administration is very low. The fourth industrial revolution is generating more peace and well-being than ever before, but also many upheavals. These are caused by a problem of governance of the transformation and its impact on the labour market. Precarity is increasing this revolt against elites who have been unable to produce equality in the system. And all this in a context of stagnating incomes and frozen social mobility. This revolution against the system is due to the inability to govern abundance because of the speed of change, because we do not have the capacity to react. That is why a new social contract is needed, as in the industrial revolution. The question is what it will look like. Rafael Domenech focused his speech on how to face these challenges, on how to ensure that this growth is inclusive and generates prosperity for all. To begin with, in Spain we have to value what has been achieved in terms of the Welfare State. The next thing is how we improve, and we have ample room to do so. Institutional quality has a clear margin to approach the levels of Germany or the Nordic countries. The efficiency of the administration has an impact on what citizens are willing to tolerate in terms of tax burden or size of the public sector. In this case, the order of whether resources or efficiency should come first matters because it leads to counter-moves. Therefore, efficiency must come first and then increase the willingness of citizens to finance policies that can lead to a more inclusive society, that can reduce inequalities and increase per capita income. It is also necessary to improve everything that has to do with labour market regulation, to be able to adapt it to changes, to take advantage of the digital transformation and to converge towards that frontier. Today, thanks to the digital world, we have the right tools to improve the matching between job seekers and job providers in the labour market, which would allow companies to fill the hundreds of thousands of vacancies they have with the right professional profiles. Finally, José Ramón Pin addressed the question of whether the administration is ready for change. There are many paradoxes in the administration that make it the most difficult to manage. This is why there is always talk of reform. Change in administration is not a change in structures, but in the minds of those who work in organisations. There are three levels in organisations. The first one is the formal one, that is, relationships of the type who depends on me, who I depend on, etc. The second is the informal, which refers to unwritten things that are enforced. And the third is the self-concept of what a good organisation is. All this is frozen and in the process of change what you have to do is to unfreeze it, to get rid of it. However, change does not happen without an exciting vision. Making this change is not easy because there is a legal system that works against it: the public employee is for life while the public manager is for a project and does not necessarily have to be a civil servant, but the system makes it difficult. Public managers need suitability, but also managerial skills, especially experience and training. Consideration should therefore be given to creating a statute for public managers and to providing training for current managers on issues such as teamwork, vision, etc.
The Rafael del Pino Foundation is not responsible for the comments, opinions or statements made by the people who participate in its activities and which are expressed as a result of their inalienable right to freedom of expression and under their sole responsibility. The contents included in the summary of this conference, written for the Rafael del Pino Foundation by Professor Emilio González, are the result of the debates held at the meeting held for this purpose at the Foundation and are the responsibility of the authors.
The Rafael del Pino Foundation is not responsible for any comments, opinions or statements made by third parties. In this respect, the FRP is not obliged to monitor the views expressed by such third parties who participate in its activities and which are expressed as a result of their inalienable right to freedom of expression and under their own responsibility. The contents included in the summary of this conference, written for the Rafael del Pino Foundation by Professor Emilio J. González, are the result of the discussions that took place during the conference organised for this purpose at the Foundation and are the sole responsibility of its authors.