Since the start of human civilisation, the field of public administration has changed to
a landscape of modern public administration unrecognisable to second-generation
theorists and their normative theories. Rising aspirations of people are placing
more demands on effective mobilisation of financial resources. the emphasis of
the citizenry is on value for money measured in terms of economy, efficiency and
effectiveness, thus making public financial performance management increasingly
vital. The success of the public service of the future will be its ability to balance
continuity and change; and the need to devote significant intellectual energy to
the subject of stewardship as a concept for the enhancement of organisational
performance becomes evident.
Stewardship in the context of public administration underlines the relationship
between the public administration environment, the generic functions of public
administration and management and the application of good governance principles
in order to provide the opportunity for enhanced public financial performance.
High-performing organisations have moved beyond bureaucracy to a commitment-based
(platform) approach and are able to mobilise themselves within a complex
and rapidly changing environment. “Performance management is seen as an
integrated framework of systems and processes for the alignment of strategic
intentions, decisions and activities across and within public service organisations.”
The stewardship theory recognises the importance of structures that empower the
steward and offer maximum autonomy built on trust. It stresses the position of public
managers to act more autonomously so that the shareholders’ returns are maximised.
The act of stewardship relies on a performance platform that is provided by the
functions of public administration based on good governance for the economic,
efficient and effective delivery of goods and services, meeting the needs of society.