Making Public Enterprises Work

From Despair to Promise: A Turn Around Account


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Author(s): William T. Muhairwe

Publication Date: 15/11/2009

Pages: 416

Binding: Paperback

ISBN13: 9781843393245

eISBN: 9781780401638

Categories: Policy & governance

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Public enterprises remain the most dominant medium of service provision in both developing and developed countries. During the 1990s and early 2000s, the outcry about poor performance of public enterprises was overwhelming. Nobody at that time and even now has managed to design a ‘blue print’ solution. And yet, the fact that service provision through public enterprises is here to stay is the blunt truth.

In Making Public Enterprises Work, Dr. William Muhairwe, the Managing Director of National Water and Sewerage Corporation of Uganda, discusses the approaches used to turnaround an under-performing state enterprise into a remarkable success story. Drawing on decades of experience, taming ‘struggling’ institutions, Dr. Muhairwe enumerates practical steps taken to make a significant difference in service delivery, for the benefit of any form of enterprise. Combined with facts, simplicity and fun, this book presents a unique account of methods used for constructive engagement and dialogue with donors, government officials, workers, suppliers and, indeed, the public/customers. All chapters are interspersed with tested lessons that any enterprise can benchmark to address its service delivery challenges. It is a great handbook for those involved in re-engineering their businesses.

Making Public Enterprises Work contains unique home-grown turnaround reform steps that can help to revamp under-performing enterprises. It is the first book to demonstrate that performance contracts combined with incentives can work wonders in public enterprises. The book discusses how incentive rewards can spread to all levels of staff and encourage wholesome teamwork. It also looks at how enterprises can work without industrial unrest in very difficult conditions. In addition the book demonstrates how public enterprises that have been listed for privatisation can provide alternative restructuring steps.

William T. Muhairwe

"Well functioning, effective utilities hold the key to addressing Africa's water and sanitation service challenges. The National Water and Sewerage Corporation in Uganda, under the inspired leadership of William Muhairwe, offers both evidence of what can be achieved, and clarity on how to transform a once failing public water utility.  The experience and knowledge documented in these pages is a 'must-read' for sector professionals worldwide."
PAUL REITER, Executive Director, International Water Association (IWA)

“From grass to grace, this book makes a journey of a visionary man, a group full of purpose and an institution that understands the need to rise above adversity. [Its] a representation of the best in leadership and focus; a show of tenacity; a story of how management delegation, autonomy and trust in staff conquer the rot in institutional behaviour; a demonstration of structured incentives at work.”

“Inspired by modern management, Muhairwe shows how change can be led by managers in a public enterprise if given a chance.”
MEIKE VAN GINNEKEN, The World Bank, Central African Republic

“… an in-depth insight in the energetic battle to improve performance in a public enterprise and certainly deserves to be read.”
CLAUDIA RADEKE, First Vice President, KfW and SUSANNE MAUVE, KfW

 “… a unique, firsthand account of how a successful reform can be done in practice… a must read for those engaged in the difficult task of reforming public enterprises.”
PHILIPPE MARIN, The World Bank, Washington DC

“The genius work of empowering staff with the ‘carrots, sticks and sermons’ to cause a cultural revolution and institutionalize excellence.”
RICHARD FRANCEYS, PhD, Cranfield University, UK

“A page-turning story of enlightened and brave leadership able to use internal incentives to bootstrap a public enterprise to much-improved performance… a road-map for other would-be reformers on the political and technical ingredients of success.”
JOHN BRISCOE, GORDON MCKAY Professor, Harvard University

“This book makes for essential reading for any practitioner that seriously wants to better understand how performance can be improved within a public domain.”
ALDO BAIETTI, The World Bank Institute Washington DC

“An uplifting account about overturning a fallacy… a demonstration by Dr. Muhairwe that it can be done and done successfully… a highly recommended read for all managers and leaders in the throes of overseeing change in their respective fields.”

“This book demonstrates how visionary leadership and ownership by the beneficiary institution can utilize development support to reform and accelerate service delivery... a must read for international development partners”
DR. THOMAS SCHILD, Country Director and Hermann Plumm, GTZ, Germany

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