Public Sector

ozellestirme-At his Government’s invitation, Dr. Argüden returned to Turkey in 1988 to lead the Privatization Program until 1990. It was during his tenure that the first foreign direct investments were attracted to the Turkish Privatization program, and the public offering of the Government’s shares in industrial enterprises helped the Istanbul Stock Exchange to flourish. In addition, the Turkish buyers improved the competitiveness of the privatized companies, and the Turkish investment banking industry was established.Name of Publication : The Story Behind Privatization, 1995
Author : Dündar Aytar

In his book, The Story Behind Privatization, Dündar Aytar relates Dr. Argüden’s invaluable contributions to the contract negotiations for the privatization of the cement industry.

To start with, Aytar underlines that Dr. Argüden had worked at the RAND Corporation, a leading think-tank organization in the US, where he had previously completed his doctoral studies also, and afterwards at the World Bank. Aytar states that Dr. Argüden’s exceptional academic and professional background had been proof for his high potential even before they got to know him personally, and that Dr. Argüden had indeed contributed immensely to the leader of the Privatization Program and his resignation in 1990 had been a irremediable loss.

At a critical point of the negotiations, when anger and exhaustion had overtaken the partcipants, some of whom even attempted to leave the meeting, Dr. Argüden came up with a proposal. An additional amount of 5 million USD had to be paid in order to purchase whole of Soke, and SCF had priced half of Afyon at 7.5 million USD. Taking these into consideration, SCF would have to pay a total amount of 102.5 million USD. Dr. Argüden suggested that the average of 102.5 million dollars and 110 million dollars could be rounded down to 105 million USD, and the Privatization Board could accept SCF to pay 90 million dollars in the first year and the remaining 15 million dollars the next year. .

Hearing this new proposal, Marc asked to make another call. He was smiling when he returned to the table and announced that he accepted this proposal. An important privatization project was thus successfully concluded with the sales agreement made at a good price.

Privatization and Public Reform

In his article on Privatization and Public Reform, published in Capital Genc Aci in April 2004, Dr. Argüden outlines the importance of Total Quality Management in reforming the public sector. The article can be summarised as follows:

The role of the State is discussed not only in Turkey, but all over the world. All of these discussions eventually point to the fact that the public authority needs to actively undertake responsibility to:

1.Establish the rule of the law;

2.Avoid interventions that will disrupt the market economy and avoid favoring any single player, and maintain macroeconomic stability;

3.Encourage investments in infrastructure and education, health, and social security programs;

4.Secure the rights of disadvantaged social groups, such as children, elders, and the disabled;

5.Secure the rights of future generations in areas that necessitate implementation of long term policies, such as the environment;

6.Establishing domestic security;

7.Defending the country against external threats.

The bottom line is that people need an effective public authority to continue living together as a society and find opportunities to prosper.

Given the importance of the public sector in terms of the society’s welfare, Dr. Argüden emphasizes that the aim should be an “efficient state”, rather than a “minimal state”, and that “Total Quality Management” (TQM), if applied in the public sector as well, would immensely benefit the people and promote welfare.

According to Dr. Argüden, the concept of “quality” is nothing more than the basic human instinct to continuously improve his/her living conditions. It is a reflection of the quest for ever incresing expectations of individuals. As such, it not only applies to the private sector, but also to the public sector. When people cannot find the level of quality they demand, they lose their confidence in public institutions.

Dr. Argüden states that Turkish citizens are indeed losing their confidence in the public sector “because the representatives’ interests may not always coincide with the society’s”. That is why, we are undergoing a conceptual change in relation with our notion of democracy, the transition from representative democracy to participatory democracy. Particularly with the influence of technological developments, this transition gives birth to a new concept, “Good Governance”.

To summarise, TQM is a managerial approach that requires focusing on customer satisfaction in the private sector and on citizen satisfaction in the public sector, recoginizing the importance of employee satisfaction in increasing productivity and the importance of measurable performance criteria, establishing a participatory and transparent system of management that allows for interaction between the people and their authorized representatives, with the aim of continuous development.

Countries that adopt this approach in reforming the state accomplish considerable success, and Turkey too has started staging the successes of individual companies that employ the TQM approach. However, the time to adopt TQM as a state policy has come.

adnanAdnan Kahveci’s Letter