Journal of Management Information and Decision Sciences (Print ISSN: 1524-7252; Online ISSN: 1532-5806)

Research Article: 2021 Vol: 24 Issue: 4S

Building frame of cultural values of modern public service in the context of regional and international integration approaching from the perspective of good governance

Nguyen Dang Que, National Academy of Public Administration

Doan Van Dung, National Academy of Public Administration

Le Toan Thang, National Academy of Public Administration

Phung Thi Phong Lan, National Academy of Public Administration

Citation Information: Que, N. D., Dung, D. V., Thang, L. T., & Lan, P. T. P. (2021). Building frame of cultural values of modern public service in the context of regional and international integration-approaching from the perspective of good governance. Journal of management Information and Decision Sciences, 24(8), 1-9.


"Good governance" is a term which has been increasingly used in scholarly research and practical governance at different levels with different approaches on dimensions. Good governance can be seen as a model, a reference frame, an approach to assess of governance as the term itself has tacitly implies a comparison, compare it with the general administration and in contrast to weak governance and bad governance. It can be asserted that when a country, a government mentions "good governance", it is not meant that that country or government that has created the expected value of state management. Good governance does not implicitly create new values, positive values for public service if it is not accessed, applied in a manner consistent with environmental governance in each country. We understand that a good model is not a model to aspire but it must have applicability, practicality. Therefore, in order to create positive effects of good governance, the country should have the right approach to good governance which derives from the characteristics of the public service; implement condition and values a public service is toward.


Frame of cultural values; Modern public service; International integration-approaching; Good governance.


Good Governance - the Multi-dimensional Approaches

As many of the problems of the social sciences, it seems that there is no common approach in determining the connotation of the term good governance. The term good governance was first defined by World Bank in the report "Governance and Development" (1992): "the manner in which power is exercied in the management of a country’s economic and social resources for development" (FAO, 2014). Over time, the concept of good governance is increasingly proving to be more specific about the dimensions and the elements of good governance. Some concepts of good governance are mentioned in Box 1.

World Bank: good governance has been described as the government's ability to: ensure transparency and political voices of all citizens; provide public services efficiently; promote the prosperity and health of citizens, and create a favorable environment for economic growth (World Bank, 2009).

Commission for Economic and Social Affairs Asia -acific United Nations (UNESCAP): if governance is the process of decision-making and the process by which decisions are implemented (or not implemented), then good governance has 8 major characteristics. It is participatory; consensus oriented, accountable, transparent, effective and efficient, equitable and inclusive and follows the rule of law (The UNESCAP, 2009).

UN Human Rights Organisation describes the concept of good governance consists of the following basic elements: transparency; responsibility; accountability; participation; and responsiveness (to the needs of the people) (United Nations Human Rights, 2020).

UNDP: among other things participatory, transparent and accountable. It is also effective and equitable. And it promotes the rule of law (World Bank, 2003).

OECD: good governance ncompasses the role of public authorities in establishing the environment in which economic operators function and in determining the distribution of benefits as well as the relationship between the ruler and the ruled (World Bank, 2003).

Australia: good governance, including the mechanisms, processes and institutions through which citizens and groups can clarify the benefits and implementation of legal rights and their obligations, and at the same time reconcile differences. Good governance, including mechanisms, consistent processes, and institutions through which citizens and groups can clarify the benefits and implementation of legal rights and their obligations, and simultaneously reconcile differences (The Australian Development Gateway, 2009).

Box 1 Some Concepts of Good Governance

It can be seen, there are similarities and differences in the concepts of good governance. Each different organizations with orientation in their activities emphasizes on the different elements of good governance. Good governance has close relationships with political institutions and mechanisms to ensure participation, transparency, accountability and the ability to meet the needs of citizens. In other words, good governance associated with creating, maintaining and improving the level of the development environment, providing satisfaction to citizens.

In the concept of good governance, the concept of World Bank is interested by a large number of scholars, managers and countries. This thing probably comes from World Bank have shaped the 6 dimensions of good governance: voice and accountability; political stability, no terrorism, no violence; effect of government; institutional quality; rule of law; anti-corruption (World Bank, 2019). What is more important is that, annually World Bank conducts a survey to measure the effectiveness of the national administration. The assessment results are published on the official website World Wide Governance indicators. This index has a certain impact on the national and international organizations, especially when investors come to a country. However, good governance is indeed a good indicator to measure governance capacity of countries, including developing countries need clear analysis, argumentation with convincible evidence. And the country should recognize how good governance as a value to be directed to, as a guide for public service reform or conservative look, that something needs to be considered completely and comprehensively.

Finding Approach on Good Governance Approach for Developing Countries

The concept of good governance seems to lack the perspective of developing countries on good governance. Indicators of good governance of the World Bank did not make any distinction for developed countries or developing countries. Good governance is really significant for the country and whether or not the relationship between good governance for national development is a problem having different opinions.

In first viewpoint, it is said that there is a relationship between good governance and national development. This is shown in the studies by Knack and Keefer (1995); Mauro (1995); Graf Lambsdorff (2005). These studies generally indicate a positive trend in the relationship between good governance and promote market growth. However, these studies have been criticized about using a simple data set of governance indicators. Commission for Economic and Social Affairs Asia - Pacific United Nations (UNESCAP) said that bad governance (bad governance) is one of the fundamental causes of instability in any society and it is not random financial institutions always urged national reforms towards good governance.

The second viewpoint seems to cast doubt on the causal relationship between good governance and development. They said that: this most widely used data set, and the conclusions derived from it on government effectiveness, are, at best, partial and, at worst, misleading. The authors maintain that the ostensible evidence using (these) problematic measures actually suggests that growth and development improves governance, rather than vice versa”. Good governance reforms are more effect than cause of sped-up development, though over time they seem to become a more important factor in sustaining development. Implementing case studies in four countries - Argentina, Jamaica, Mauritius and the United States, Arthur Goldsmith pointed out that: if using the criteria of good governance of World Bank, “public institutions from that time look secretive, personalistic and arbitrary when measured by today’s standards”. In the same viewpoint, Khan (2009) suggests that developing countries currently lack of resources required to practice good governance and resources that can only come from the development. Thus, as there is reason to assert good governance as understood today, is not the cause but the consequence of the development. To clarify, Khan took legal rights (rule of law) and private property, for example. According to him, the poor countries will be very hard to accomplish these two things because it exceeds their ability to pay, so that means they do not meet the criteria of good governance (Moore, 2013).

In other studies of Khan (2004, 2005b), this problem is explained in more detail. Khan said that the protection of property rights to all the property and the enforcement of the rule of law in a social effect is very costly and can only be sustained if most of the assets high profitability and significant contribution taxes to pay for the protection of these assets. If by definition, many properties in a developing country there is not enough profit to pay the sizable funding to protect them. This makes the implementation of the rule of law on a large scale in poor countries is not feasible financially.

So whether good governance is insignificant or very little significant to countries, especially the developing countries? The developing countries can still maintain growth without attention to good governance? Good governance is a concept only imposed from the outside and is not a good direction for efforts to reform governance in these countries? In actual, good governance actually still have its position in public service reform in each country, including developing countries. There may be evidence that growth and economic development - social help accelerate the process of governance reform. This is an undeniable and obvious truth that resources invested in public administration will be strong enough to create real change of governance. However, public governance has the opposite effect back to national development. The issue is that how will good governance be approached and applied in developing countries.

There is no one perfect model for all the public service in all countries and good governance can not be effectively applied without taking into account the relevant factors. The developing countries can not, should not and need not receive good governance pattern imposing from the outside, from the developed countries which require their own approach to the values of good governance. With limited resources conditions, the application of good governance in a reckless sometimes result in the governance of the developing countries will face more difficulties. However, good governance itself subsumes meaningful values to guide public governance of developing countries.

One fact is clear that, under the pressure of process of integration and globalization, developing countries must make effort to reform public administration, to create basis for good governance becomes leverage for growth and development. This reform efforts bring certain results but also many obstacles and barriers. A range of problems such as rule of law culture, efficiency in public service activities, bureaucracy, interest, privilege etc still are problems public service of developing countries must face. The complexity of issues of public administration reform make developing countries find difficult in determining where the focus of the reform process. Orientation values of good governance are more or less hints to public administration reform. Efforts of institutional change and pressure of the law are more or less effective in switching behavior of civil servants but not sustainable because these efforts have not created a radical change of behavior - that is culture and value orientation.

Speaking of cultural value orientations is mentioning to people in the public service, which are civil servants. Access to good governance from the perspective of culture is the approach from the human perspective, from human resources, which is the most important resource, the most critical factor for effective public service. Efforts to reform public administration would be meaningless if it does not start from the changing perceptions, values orientation, the orientation behavior of the civil servants in public service - who exercise power directly in practice, representing the image of the state, in fact manifestation of relationship between state and citizen. The limitations on resources, the application of mechanically good governance cannot be effective. Conversely, there may also encounter opposition from stakeholders in the public service. We want to have good governance in developing countries; first of all, it must have civil servants with perception, value-oriented toward good governance. In other words, good governance must be rooted in good governance of civil servants. Civil servants must have public service culture with good governance values. Approach good governance from the perspective of culture is also a method method to localize the exotic elements of good governance for developing countries, making these values become close, specific and practical.

Public service culture is a complex and multi-dimensional concept. Civil service culture, as a kind of culture is talking about the concept of cultural osmosis on public service, which is public service with culture values. Thus, public service culture is not public service itself, cultures itself, or is the simple aggregate these two areas, but it is culturally inclusive services from its inner nature. Public service culture is expressed in two basic ways:

Firstly, public service with meaning of democratic and advanced public service which must progress towards the ultimate goal is for human emancipation, respect for human rights, facilitate the development of human freedom, enable for comprehensive and harmonious development. This is the deep humanity of public service with culture, of modern public service.

Secondly, thoughts, good values are not abstract concepts but practical, and specific, are likely to come to practice. It means that it must comprehend the operation of public service.

Public service culture associated with implementation of state power. Therefore, the value orientation of public service culture has its own definition compared with culture in general. The cultural value of public service combines with governance objectives, serving the people, promoting growth and development. The cultural value of public service associated with the operation of each civil servant, tied to competence, the position of each civil servant in the public service system.

The culture of the country it is the crystallization of values rooted in history and what was learned from the outside. The thing is true for public service culture. The reform efforts of developing countries should probably start from changing value orientation of public service culture with the crystallization of traditional culture with the values of modern governance in which good governance brings many positive values

The above analysis is to confirm that the receipt of good governance in governance through cultural values bring more meaning. The conversion values of good governance into the cultural values of the basis for creating consensus, rather than voluntarily institutions, the formal requirements. Moreover, culture is always resistance to external factors which is not appropriate. Culture as a membrane filter to select values of good governance in accordance with the characteristics of the national public service to implement. Countries can choose for themselves the appropriate value from good governance to create change in the value orientation of public service culture. The combination of values of good governance promising to create a new shift in public service culture in developing countries, creating a radical change in the public service behavior, consolidating their efforts in governance reforms that countries are pursuing.

Framework of Cultural Values Public Service from Good Governance Approach

The heart of culture is values system. Values system of public service culture as a mirror in which civil servants look at and aware which right and wrong in his public service behaviors. A question is raising is that with good governance approach, how is framework of public service cultural values. To find the answer is not simple. There are a number of issues need to be discussed in good governance. "Good" is good with whom, is good for who, who is the assessment of good governance? One thing is sure that all citizens have the right to the final assessment of good governance. Therefore, in the following, framework of public service culture is outlined with the most basic features in values of public service culture for developing countries from the perspective of good governance with central direction of serving people. It means that, public service in general and any civil servant in public service should have these values.

Value-orientation of serving people and nation is center in perception, behavior of civil servants in the public service. Therefore, the public service must obtain citizen satisfaction as a measure, the development of the country as achievements for public activities.

Culture of rule of law

In any case, rule of law is also evident achievements of civilization, is its. Culture of rule of law seems to be element that public service element of developing countries finding difficult due to the lack of uniformity of institutions, institutional building and enforcement. Towards rule of law - which is oriented to culturelize both political and legal life, improve it to some extent. At a high level of culture and values themselves are not in the rights, nor the order or statute, which is mainly person-specific. Culture of rule of law - that is the whole human values by creating, crystallized and permeability in the whole field of law. In particular, it can be understood, namely: a high degree of civilization in legal activities and the relationship of law; realism of the cultural values in legal activities and relationships law; humanity made in the field of rule of law and the rule of law relationships. In the public service, rule of law culture associated with the ability to create legislation consistent with management requirements and ensure the feasibility and the subject itself in the public service who actually respects the rule of law. For civil servants, it is the sense of respect for the law, living habits and work under the constitution and laws; fixing between justice and love; openness, transparency, accountability, diligent sense and responsibility of civil servants, personal liability regime etc. Culture of rule of law also requires strongly criticize and eliminate bad habits, outdated practices also hinder the process of building and developing cultural practices law as arbitrary freedoms, way of conduct “the will of the king yields to the people's customs”; local ideas; conscious disregard for the law; self-deprecating behavior, dependence, etc. Culture of rule of law also requires institutional framework is established to serve the administration and promote national development, not as a tool to serve the interests of the agency or a particular interest group.

Culture of responsibilities

Modern public service is public service which is responsible for every public service behaviors and responsibility in the decision making before people, nation and history. Accountability needs to be instilled in cognition, behavior of civil servants. Accountability and responsibility should be a valuable public service in modern public service culture as in many cases lack of responsibility culture in governance activities.

Equity in public service activities

The public interest in public service activities are important values of public service culture. The local, the monopoly of public activities will lead to many consequences. Public officials on behalf of the state to enforce the public service, not using the tools to gain profit. All citizens and organizations are treated equally when accessing and resolving work with public agencies.

Democracy and participation

A developed society is a society in which individuals feel the presence and not feel pushed out of the mainstream of society. This requires democracy and participation should become a common value of public service. The participation of all members of society should be considered a cornerstone of good governance model, the core values of public service culture. It is important that public service can create public service institutions strong enough to facilitate the participation of citizens and a mechanism to ensure that people are involved, the citizens' opinions to be heard. The public service to actually admit that people are the center of development. The people who are relevant to a decision not just people receive benefits from that decision (a change) but also being seen from the second aspect is the catalyst effects of the development process. Citizens are not subject to the passive impact of policy decisions that should be subject to a positive, proactive in having a voice in decision making and policy implementation.


Transparency is the trend of modern public service. Transparency is primarily aimed at ensuring democratic nature of society, expressing the right of the people to participate in state management. The transparency reduce gap between citizens and government. It must emphasize that transparency is the foundation base, the power source of bureaucracy and ensure democratic society. Transparency is a very important solution to overcome bureaucratic corruption, clean up the bureaucracy management apparatus. Transparency in management is also an indispensable condition for the state apparatus to collect people's intellectual contributions to the management activities. Transparency is an essential requirement for success in international integration. Worldwide, the control raises the issue of corruption; it also raised equation (Klitgaard, 1988):


For transparency into the value of the public service, first of all, to reinforce the perception that the state apparatus and civil servants were appointed to carry out the function of managing the country according to law; people pay their fair tax money contributed by people and they will be sacked if civil servants do not complete their assigned tasks. Thus, their work necessarily under the supervision of people and therefore must be public and transparent, to have accountability to people. It is necessary to eliminate the psychology of civil servants that they stand on people, have a right granted to people without being accountable to people, even people who are indebted to the officials for the services they receive. It is also necessary to have moral education, as officials and civil servants themselves ashamed of their own conscience, shame to their family and friends of the wrongful acts of public service etc. At the same time, there should be binding mechanism for all state agencies to properly implement the provisions on disclosure and transparency in the management and prevention of abuse cases to restrict the right to information and surveillance of civil rights.

From the common values of public service culture, with different groups of civil servants, basing on the position and role and their authority in public service, we can point out the important elements in the orientation value. Here, we focus on the analysis of two groups of civil servants: leadership, management and direct officers performing official duties (operational staff) (Table 1).

Table 1 Common Values of Public Service Culture
Value orientation Requirement for each civil servant group
Leader and manager civil servants Operational staff
Strategic vision High Low
Accountability High High
Dynamic, creative High Low
Serving attitude High High
Process abiding Average High
Objective and impartial in public service High High
Democracy in public governance High High
Personal responsibility High Average
Leadership competence High Low
Public service skill and sprit High Average
Knowledge of public service Synthesis Intensive
Belief of public service High Cao
Behaviour standard Necessary Necessary
Communication standard Necessary Necessary
Harmonizing interests in institutional building and implementing High High
General objective oriented High High
Adaptability High Average


The analysis and assessment of good governance are often approached from an economic perspective with considering the relationship between good governance and development. Models of public administration may be just the content frame, but in application in practice in each country, the approach is diversified. The value orientation of good governance in practice mean for all countries in varying degrees. Values such as the rule of law, transparency, and participation are always the elements to ensure an efficient public service. However, good values are achieved by accident. These good results even to have to work, need to overcome the barriers of perception, thinking, outdated manner, opposition of group when their benefit in threatening or affecting. Therefore, good governance approach should probably start from human aspect, cultural aspect of public service, the value orientation those subjects of public service towards. The change of public service from inefficiency to efficiency is a process. The process that wants to go to the destination, to remain sustainability, it must start from creation of good governance civil servants with values of good governance and good traditional values of nation.


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