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Week 1 Reflection Paper

Open Homework Posted by: tiger Posted on: 11/09/2020 Deadline: 7 Days

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Please post a brief reflection 2 page paper about you learned this week/and or how your thoughts change after our discussion in class. 

The readings is Chapter 1 from the book of Public Administration: An Action, Orientations.

Book reference; Robert B. Denhardt, Janet V. Denhardt, and Tara A. Blanc (2014). Public Administration: An Action Orientation. 7th edition. USA: Wadsworth. ISBN: 13: 978-1133939214

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Attachment 1


Supplemental MicroLecture

Personal Action in Public Organizations

Public Administration is the performance or lack thereof of the duties and responsibilities necessary to implement the mandates of the people (public). Those mandates can be formal or informal, and expressed or implied, relative to the people’s needs and interests. The effects of public administration impact the public, private and nonprofit sectors.

External Factors

Public Administration cannot be viewed in a vacuum. Each generation is influenced by the activities of that period that are most pressing and consequently impacts the daily lives of the people. Some examples of those activities are war, economic developments or declines, management approaches, human factors, technology, immigration, civil rights, etc. Also, global developments and our ability to communicate faster and more efficiently affect local, state and national issues. For example, many call centers positions which previously provided employment opportunities in the United States are now outsourced to Mexico, India and the Philippines. Many high tech workers in Silicon Valley are from other countries.

· 1776 – 1883

After the rebellion that gained independence of the thirteen colonies from Great Britain, the leaders of the newly independent state formulated rules to live by that they strongly felt should be by the people and for the people. After undergoing what they considered to be tyrannical rule of the King of England, the founding fathers were hesitant to formulate a government that would place too much power back into the hands of one or a few men. Therefore, they framed a constitution in 1787 that consisted of a “checks and balance system.” Three branches of government were developed: legislative (law-making), executive (implementing arm), and judicial (interpreting questions of law). In 1787, James Madison recommended a delicate balance of power and vigorous competition among political interests as the best protection against the concentration of too much power in bureaucracy. In 1791, Alexander Hamilton presented a perspective on the role of administration in American society quite different from Madison’s. His “Report on Manufacturers” argued for an activist state with a strong administrative apparatus to carry out publicly defined goals. The conflicting perspectives of Madison and Hamilton continue to influence the way public administration is studied. (Grover Starling, 2008)

This period witnessed the expansion from the original colonies to what later became the

lower 48 states. The United States was developing from an agrarian society to an

industrialized nation. The railroads were part of the newly created transportation and

expansion. The most significant historical event during this period was the civil war

between northern and southern states. At the conclusion of the civil war, a

reconstruction period was ushered into existence. As part of this reconstruction, we

witnessed the advent of political appointees and other patronage activities.

· Role of administration

The Pendleton Act of 1883 established the Civil Service system in the United States. The legislation was intended to reverse the previously corrupt practices in assigning public-sector positions. Administrators and national government employees would now be chosen based on merit, rather than political patronage. This legislation was not the demise of all political appointments, but was a means by which the selection of most public managers contained standardized procedures.

The implications of this new system included the emergence of a professional public administrator class. Simon states that under this new system, "administration could be entrusted to 'neutral' civil servants selected under civil service procedures. ..these civil servants would not be responsible for formulating policies, but only for carrying them out as efficiently as possible."

But what were the expectations of this new managerial "class"? How were they expected to deliver public services? By what means were they expected to manage their departments and agencies? Waldo states that "The idea of administrators is closely bound up with the emergence of the notion that "public administration" is a subject-matter field or technique in which one can specialize, a science and art one can learn" (1984, p.93). Further, Wilmerding differentiates those civil servants who assist political officers in policy formulation from those who carry out orders, better known as administrative work (in Waldo, 1984). Administrators have categories, functions within a public sector organization, and expectations of neutrality (political not with respect to the enabling legislation and agency implementing authority and responsibility), competence and specialization.

· Politics and administration

Woodrow Wilson in his famous "Study of Administration" article in 1887 contended that a dichotomy existed within the public sector, namely, politics and administration. Administrators should be selected on the basis of merit, and not on the basis of partisan politics. However, the more important theme of Wilson's work was that administrators should carry out their duties by means of emerging scientific management principles, rather than through partisan political considerations. As Wilson was writing his early works on public administration, Frederick Taylor's Scientific Management principles were taking hold. America had finally entered the Industrial Revolution and was seeking the means to make people and machines more productive.

In 1926 Leonard White published what is considered to be one of the first public administration textbooks, Introduction to the Study of Public Administration. White presented four assumptions that formed the reasoning behind the study of public administration:

1. Administration is a unitary process that can be studied uniformly, at the federal, state and local levels.

2. The basis for study is management, not law.

3. Administration is, art by the idea of transformance to science, both feasible and worthwhile.

4. Administration has become and will continue to be the heart of the problem of modern government.

Scientific management and principles became the impetus for activities within the realm of public administration:

POSDCORB - This acronym was developed by Luther Gulick in the mid-1930s to describe the functions of a manager:

Planning- Identifying those things that need to be done and determining the best method for implementation

Organizing - Establishing a structured means by which work is arranged to achieve a specific objective

Staffing - Human Resource function of recruiting, training personnel and maintaining a favorable work environment

Directing - serving as leader-making decisions

Coordinating - interrelating various work components

Reporting - keeping superiors and subordinates informed

Budgeting - fiscal planning, accounting and control

Administrative Reform

During the 20th century there were several movements to "reform" governmental practices in an attempt to make them more in line with the private sector. The first such commission, the Brownlow Committee, submitted its recommendations to President Franklin Roosevelt in 1937. Their recommendations centered around reorganizing the Executive Branch. Congress was concerned that the recommendations would give too much power to the Executive Branch.

Following World War II, the first Hoover Commission was tasked with reducing the number of agencies created during World War II. A second Hoover Commission was convened four years later for the same reason. Neither commission was successful in reorganizing the government. In 1978 The Civil Service Reform Act (CSRA) revamped the 1883 Pendleton Act, principally by giving the President direct management of the central personnel agency, increasing management operational direction of the workforce, and legislating collective bargaining.

In 1993 the National Performance Review was introduced as a six month study which would focus on determining ways to make the federal government more efficient. For more information on this reform movement, see:

http://www.npr.gov/ - Home page for National Partnership for Reinventing Government

http://www.npr.gov/library/papers/bkgrd/history.html - History of National Partnership for Reinventing Government

After the events of September 11, 2001, Congress and President George W. Bush collaborated to establish the Department of Homeland Security. This consolidated several former offices into this newly created department. The Patriot Act was passed to expand the investigative jurisdiction of governmental agencies in the interests of national security.

Public administration in the United States has and will continue to evolve in response to internal and external agency factors and global implications. Traditional public administration tenants have a place in today's public organizations. However, new public management has some advantages that must be explored and implemented whenever feasible and in the best interest of the public. Politics and public administration have to coexist. It becomes more of a question as to how much should politics influence public administration.

Attachment 2


CHAPTER 1 PERSONAL ACTION IN PUBLIC ORGANIZATIONS

Public administration is concerned with the management of public programs. Public administrators work at all levels of government, both at home and abroad, and they manage nonprofit organizations, associations, and interest groups of all kinds. The substantive fields within which public managers work range across the varied interests of government and public affairs, from defense and national security to social welfare and environmental quality, from the design and construction of roads and bridges to the exploration of space, and from taxation and financial administration to human resources management. Though public administration varies tremendously in its scope and substance, those who work in public organizations share certain commitments. Among these, none is more important than a commitment to public service. In this book, we examine the work of public administrators in many different kinds of organizations and define the political and historical context within which public and nonprofit organizations operate. We examine the commitments that underlie the notion of public service and the opportunities and constraints they place on public action. We examine the many technical fields, such as planning, budgeting, personnel, and evaluation, with which public administrators must be familiar and consider the personal and interpersonal talents needed by successful public managers. Most importantly, we emphasize the knowledge, skills, and values that you will need to be both effective and responsible as you act in the public interest. Although we introduce many different areas of public administration, we do so from a particular point of view that provides a unifying theme in our examination of administrative work in public and nonprofit organizations. This point of view holds that there is something very special about public administration: your work in public service is distinguished by its pursuit of democratic values, and this concern affects nearly every- thing you do as a public manager. As a public administrator, you are obligated not only to achieve efficiency and effectiveness, but also to be responsive to the many bodies that help define the public interest: elected officials, members of the legislature, client or constituent groups, and citizens generally. This special obligation requires that you be ever mindful of managerial concerns, political concerns, and ethical concerns and that you develop structures and processes that take into account all three. The result is a particularly complicated approach to getting things done, but one that has special rewards. From service to the public, you may gain a very special sense of accomplishment and personal satisfaction, one that comes from helping others and from pursuing the public interest. Personal Action in Public Organizations What Is Public Administration?

What is Public Administration

We have already described public administration as the management of public programs. But to elaborate on this definition, it helps to know a little history. Happily, there is only a little history to learn because public administration, at least in this country, is a relatively young field of study. Of course, people have been engaged in the management of public programs for thousands of years. (For example, imagine the administrative headaches involved in building the Egyptian pyramids!) However, the self-conscious study of public administration is a fairly recent development, often dated to the work of French and German scholars in the late nineteenth century. Public administration as we know it today in the United States began as the study of government administration, and that study began as part of late-nineteenth-century efforts to reform governmental operations. Most scholars and practitioners date the beginnings of the deliberate study of public administration in this country to an 1887 essay written by Woodrow Wilson (then scholar, later president). Although some have recently questioned the influence Wilson had on the field, there is no question that his essay marks the symbolic beginning of American public administration. Wilson’s essay was basically reformist in nature, and highly practical. It was designed to address the inefficiency and open corruption that had become a part of government during the late 1880s and to suggest certain remedies within the administration of government. Wilson argued that although scholars and practitioners had focused on political institutions (such as Congress or the presidency), too little attention had been paid to administrative questions—the questions of how the government actually operates. The result, according to Wilson, was that it was becoming “harder to run a constitution than to frame one” (Wilson, 1887, p. 200). Wilson first wanted the work of government agencies to be accomplished more effectively. He felt that such organizations would operate best if they pursued the private sector’s commitment to efficient or “businesslike” operations. Wilson, of course, wrote in a period during which business, industry, and technology were developing in rapid and surprising new ways. Like others, he admired the managerial philosophies that business seemed to be developing. Among these notions, Wilson particularly favored the idea of concentrating power in a single authority atop a highly integrated and centralized administrative structure. His recommendation of a strong chief executive has been echoed by writers (and chief executives!) even to the present. The men and women who followed Wilson in discussions of what came to be called public administration were very practical people, concerned with reforming governmental structures and making them more efficient. But they were also quite careful to place these concerns within the context of democratic government. How might the principles of democracy, including such lofty ideals as liberty and justice, be extended throughout government and throughout society? Indeed, Leonard D. White, one of the most thoughtful of the early writers, commented that “the study of public administration . . . needs to be related to the broad generalizations of political theory concerned with such matters as justice, liberty, obedience, and the role of the state in human affairs” (White, 1948, p. 10). As we will see, a continued concern for operating efficiently while at the same time operating in a way consistent with democratic values marks the field of public administration even today.

Values of Democracy

Because their commitment to democratic values so clearly affects the work of those in public and nonprofit organizations in this country, it may be helpful to briefly review some of the key commitments we associate with democratic governance. The term democracy well reflects its roots: the Greek words demos, meaning “people,” and kratis, meaning “authority.” Generally speaking, democracy refers to a political system in which the interests of the people at large prevail. However, it is clear that within these broad parameters there are many different conceptions of democracy. For example, at the end of World War II, representatives of the United States, Great Britain, France, and Russia met to con- sider the “democratization” of Germany. Yet, it soon became apparent that the Russian idea of democracy was quite different from the Western view. While Westerners associated democracy with such ideas as free elections, freedom of the press, freedom of movement, and the freedom to criticize the government, the Russians had quite a different conception. For them, democracy did not necessarily mean government by or of the people, but rather whether government policy is carried out in the interest of the people. Even today, the term democratic is used in many different ways by many different people. For example, North Korea, a highly authoritarian state, claims aspects of democracy such as a multiparty system. In the American experience, however, there is general agreement that democracy refers to a political system—a way of ordering power and authority in which decision-making power is widely shared among members of the society. Or to put it in terms of control, democracy is a system in which many ordinary citizens exercise a high degree of control over their leaders. (In either case, the opposite would be an oligarchy, government by the few, or an autocracy, government by one.) But democracy is defined not only in terms of processes or procedures (for example, rule by many), but also by several important cultural values that are typically pursued in a democratic society. Among these, three—individualism, equality, and liberty—have been of special importance to those who have helped shape the American idea of democracy. The first is individualism, the idea that the dignity and integrity of the individual is of supreme importance. Individualism suggests that achieving the fullest potential of each individual is the best measure of the success of our political system. It is the idea of individualism that is reflected in the familiar phrasing of the Declaration of Independence— that all persons are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights and that it is the purpose of government to secure those rights. Second is the idea of equality, which does not mean that all persons are equal in their talents or possessions, but that each individual has an equal claim to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. In this view, each person should be seen as an end, not as a means; no one should be a mere tool of another. Moreover, equality in the field of government would suggest that differences in wealth or position are not sufficient reasons for giving one group preference over another. In a democracy, each one has an equal claim to the attention of the system and should be able to expect just outcomes. A third central value of a democratic society is liberty, or freedom. This idea suggests that the individual citizen of a democracy should have a high degree of self-determination. You should have the maximum opportunity to select your own purposes in life and to choose the means to accomplish them. Liberty is more than just the absence of constraints; it suggests the freedom to act positively in pursuit of one’s own ends. Only by allowing individuals the freedom to choose, it is argued, will social progress occur.

The influence of these themes on the development of public administration is undeniable, although, as we will see, people differ over the degree to which they influence the day-to-day operations of public agencies. Similarly, the way in which democracy has been operationalized in the American political tradition has had important influences on the operation of public organizations. For example, take the traditional separation of legislative, executive, and judicial functions. The primary task of the legislative branch is to make policy through the enactment of legislation, the primary task of the executive branch is the faithful execution or implementation of policy, and the primary task of the judicial branch is the interpretation of the law, especially as it relates to constitutional guarantees. David Rosenbloom of American University has argued that these three functions of government are related to three views of the role of public administrators in American society (Rosenbloom, 1993, p. 15): 1. The managerial approach to public administration, which Rosenbloom connects to the executive function, emphasizes the management and organization of public organizations. As with Wilson, this view sometimes suggests that management in the public sector is very much like that in the private sector; that is, it is primarily concerned with efficiency. 2. The political approach to public administration, related to the legislative function in government, is more concerned about ensuring constitutional safeguards, such as those already mentioned. Efficiency becomes less a concern than effectiveness or responsiveness. 3. Finally, the legal approach to public administration, related to the judicial function, emphasizes the administrator’s role in applying and enforcing the law in specific situations. It is also concerned with the adjudicatory role of public organizations. Although we will examine these various approaches in more detail as we move through the book, it is important to understand at the outset that all actions of public administrators take place within an important political context: a commitment to democratic ideals and practices. Yet, today, that ideal is somewhat tarnished. Americans’ trust in government has been steadily declining over the last several decades. Questions are being raised not only about the quality and productivity of government, but also about the responsiveness of government to the people (see the box “Public Administration in History: The Democratic Dream”). This tension will be a persistent theme as we examine contemporary approaches to the study and practice of public administration. Borrowing a phrase from earlier times, the task of public administrators today is still to “make democracy suitable for modern conditions.” Doing so in a time of confusion and mistrust will be a special challenge to those in public administration as we move through the twenty-first century. Restoring trust in government and public service is not merely a responsibility of elected officials; it is a responsibility of appointed administrators as well. Keep this in mind as we examine the various approaches and techniques that are appropriate to public administration today.

Public Administration in History THE DEMOCRATIC DREAM

The predominant American political belief—attained, pretended, or otherwise—from before the establishment of the republic and throughout the nation’s history has been the democratic dream, nominally based on some version of popular representation and governance. Virtually every political structure and reform has been predicated on some mode of the democratic, egalitarian ethos, even as they oscillated back and forth between its Jeffersonian and Hamiltonian poles. Indeed, to imagine a widespread domestic political movement (and probably foreign policy initiative) that does not in some very visible manner drape itself in the sacred vestment of democracy is inconceivable. It is in this ambience that American political philosophies, politics themselves, and even certain professions (e.g., public administration) were created and nurtured. Not surprisingly, public service and public administration in the United States have shared a similar democratic coloration. From the early days of the professional public administrator—when Woodrow Wilson temporarily partitioned “politics” and “administration” into separate entities—we find a solid stream of democratic theory underpinning and underlining contemporary public administration. But the Constitution cannot serve as a singular political poultice for whatever ails the body politic. Within the country at large, there is a tangible sense that as often as appeals are made to the nation’s democratic benchmarks, these are more calls to a fading faith than references to reality. Americans are apparently disenchanted with their politics, both in terms of substance and process. Our public life is rife with discontent. Americans do not believe they have much to say about how they are governed and do not trust government to do the right thing. SOURCE: Reprinted by permission from Democracy and the Policy Sciences by Peter deLeon, State University of New York Press, © 1997, State University of New York. All rights reserved.

Contrasting Business and Public Administration

One issue, however, deserves further comment up front. Even though work in public and nonprofit organizations is guided by commitments to democratic ideals, it is also involved with management, and, for that reason, public administration is often confused with business management. Indeed, such confusion has occasionally been prominent in the field of public administration. (As we have already seen, early writers in the field often suggested that government should become more like business, a sentiment heard even today.) Certainly, there are some similarities between business and public administration. Managers across all sectors—public, private, and nonprofit—are involved in questions of organizational design, the allocation of scarce resources, and the management of people. But most observers would agree that the primary distinction between business and public service is that business is primarily concerned with making a profit, while public service is concerned with delivering services or regulating individual or group behavior in the public interest. All would agree that the context of public and nonprofit management significantly alters the work itself. Non- profit management is characterized by ambiguity, pluralistic decision making, and visibility (see the box “Exploring Concepts: Public Administration Is Different from Business”).

Exploring Concepts PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION IS DIFFERENT FROM BUSINESS

· The objectives are much more ambiguous.

· There are multiple decision centers.

· Public administrators operate with much greater visibility.

Ambiguity Onedifferencebetweenpublicadministrationandbusinessmanagementliesin the purposes to be served. In most businesses, even those with service objectives, the bot- tom-line profit is the basic measure of evaluating how good a job the organization is doing. In turn, the performance of individual managers can, in many cases, be directly measured in terms of their unit’s contribution to the overall profit of the company. This is not true of public or nonprofit agencies, where the objectives of the organization may be more ambiguous and where making or losing money is not the main criterion for success or failure. Often the objectives of public and nonprofit organizations are stated in terms of ser- vice; for example, an agency’s mission may be to protect the quality of the environment or to provide an adequate level of rehabilitative services to the disabled. Yet, such service objectives are much harder to specify and to measure. What does “quality” mean with respect to the environment? What level of service to the disabled is “adequate”? The difficulty of specifying objectives such as these makes it harder to assess the performance of government agencies and, in turn, their managers. Moreover, most businesses wouldn’t tolerate a money-losing operation in a depressed area, but a public or nonprofit organization, though equally attentive to the money being spent, might well consider meeting human needs more important than the financial “bottom line.”

Pluralistic Decision Making A second difference between work in public service and in business is that public service, at least in a democratic society, requires that many groups and individuals have access to the decision process. As a result, decisions that might be made rapidly by one individual or a small group in a business might, in a public or non- profit organization, require input from many diverse groups and organizations. Consequently, it is difficult to speak of specific decision centers in government. W. Michael Blumenthal, a business executive who became secretary of the treasury, described the situation this way: If the President said to me, you develop [an economic policy toward Japan], Mike, the moment that becomes known there are innumerable interest groups that begin to play a role. The House Ways and Means Committee, the Senate Finance Committee, and every member on them and every staff member has an opinion and seeks to exert influence. Also, the Foreign Relations Committee, the oversight committees, and then the interest groups, business, the unions, the State Department, the Commerce Department, OMB, Council of Economic Advisers, and not only the top people, but all their staff people, not to speak of the President’s staff and the entire press. (Blumenthal, 1983, p. 30) The pluralistic nature of public decision making has led many business executives who have worked in the public or nonprofit sectors to comment that this feature makes public and nonprofit management much more difficult than management in the private sec- tor. But, as Blumenthal points out, “the diversity of interests seeking to affect policy is the nature and essence of democratic government” (Blumenthal, 1983, pp. 30–31). Many have also found that this aspect of public service is particularly challenging and rewarding.

Visibility Finally, managers in public and nonprofit organizations seem to operate with much greater visibility than their counterparts in industry. Public service in a democratic society is subject to constant scrutiny by both the press and the public. The media seem to cover everything you do, and this may be a mixed blessing. On the one hand, media coverage enables the leaders of the organization to communicate rapidly to external and internal audiences. On the other hand, the media’s constant scrutiny of policy positions and their labeling of inconsistencies and policy differences as weaknesses can be limiting to free discussion of issues in their formulation stage. And, of course, the occasional intrusions of the press into even the most mundane personal matters can be excessive; one local newspaper even reported a problem a new city manager was having with his refrigerator! Yet, executives in government realize that it is essential to a democratic society that their work be visible to the public and subject to the interest and control of the citizenry. Indeed, one of the current concerns of public executives is how to increase the “transparency” of their work, something we will explore in more detail later.

What Would You Do?

You have just been appointed city manager of a city of 30,000 in the upper Midwest. While the economy of the area is generally stable, there is talk of one of the area’s major industrial firms moving out, taking much-needed jobs from the community. On the other hand, that firm has been a persistent contributor to pollution in the area. The city council seems evenly divided on whether to make an effort to keep the firm and its jobs or simply let it go. In your first six months on the job, what would you do?

Thinking about Public Administration Today

With this background, we can now think more carefully about how the field of public administration has traditionally been described and how we might develop an action orientation toward the study of public administration suitable to a contemporary world. In terms of definition, many early writers spoke of administration as a function of government, something that occurred in many shapes and forms throughout government. There were obviously administrative activities performed in the executive branch, but there were also administrative functions performed in the legislative and judicial branches. Some even noted that from time to time any single official might engage in both legislative and administrative functions.

Somewhat later, public administration was viewed as merely concerned with the activities of the executive agencies of government. In the words of an early text, public administration is concerned with the “operations of the administrative branch only” (Willoughby, 1927, p. 1). By the 1950s, such a perspective was so firmly entrenched that the leading text of that period stated, “By public administration is meant, in common usage, the activities of the executive branches of national, state, and local governments; independent boards and commissions set up by Congress and state legislatures; government corporations; and certain other agencies of a specialized character” (Simon et al., 1950, p. 7). Modern definitions of public administration have returned to the traditional view, giving attention to administrative officials in all branches of government and even focusing on those in non- profit organizations. For our purposes, a formal definition of the field may be less important than trying to discover how public administration is experienced by those in the “real world.” Our commitment to an action orientation suggests that we try to determine the kinds of activities engaged in by public administrators and the environmental factors that help to shape their work. We have already seen how the ambiguity of service objectives, the pluralistic nature of governmental decision making, and the visibility of management in the public and non- profit sectors create a context in which managerial work is significantly different from that in other settings. From the standpoint of the real-world administrator, the things that really make the difference in the way you operate are not whether you are employed by a government agency, but whether you work under circumstances that feature an ambiguity of objectives, a multiplicity of decision centers, and high public visibility.

Networking The leading national organization for those in the field of public administration is the American Society for Public Administration. See www.aspanet.org. Other related organizations with helpful websites include the National Academy of Public Administration at www.napawash.org; the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management at www.appam.org; the International City Management Association at www.icma.org; the American Political Science Association at www.apsanet.org; the Alliance for Nonprofit Management at www.allianceonline.org; the Independent Sector at www.independentsector.org; and the Academy of Management, Public and Nonprofit Division at http://division.aomonline.org/pnp/.

Publicness These features in turn all derive from the simple fact that the public or non- profit manager is pursuing public purposes. In terms of the actions and experiences of the public administrator, therefore, we may say that it is the “publicness” of the work of the public or nonprofit manager that distinguishes public administration from other similar activities. This view of the administrator’s role suggests that, as a public or non- profit manager, you must operate with one eye toward managerial effectiveness and the other toward the desires and demands of the public. It recognizes that you are likely to experience an inevitable tension between efficiency and responsiveness as you work in governmental or nongovernmental organizations, a tension that will be absolutely central to your work.

Let us highlight some of the implications of this orientation. Many commentators point out that the distinction between public and private management is no longer sim- ply a distinction between business and government or between profit and service. In fact, more and more frequently, we encounter situations in which traditionally public organizations are pursuing enhanced revenues (profits?), and traditionally private organizations are concerned with the provision of services. What is important is not merely what is being sought, but rather whose interest is being served. On this basis, a private enterprise is one in which private interests privately arrived at are paramount. A public organization, on the other hand, is one in which public interests publicly arrived at are paramount. There is a trend in our society for greater openness and responsiveness on the part of many organizations. Most associations and nonprofit organizations would fit this mold, and managers in those organizations must certainly be attentive to both efficiency and responsiveness. But many corporations as well are finding it important to open their decision-making processes to public scrutiny and involvement. The range of organizations engaged in public service (and the applicability of public and nonprofit management) seems ever-increasing. Certainly this trend has become even more important over the last couple of decades as more and more public problems require building collaborations or networks involving public, private, and nonprofit organizations (O’Leary & Bingham, 2009). In part this result has come about as government staffing has been decreased and more and more services are contracted out to private and nonprofit organizations. In part it has come about because the complexities of the problems we face require the involvement of many groups. Building networks of organizations to address public problems obviously makes solutions more difficult. “As more public programs are delivered by private and nonprofit actors, and as many more public programs rely on intricate public-private-nonprofit partnerships, it is ever harder to make sure the right dots are connected well” (Kettl, 2009, p. 26). Similarly, these arrangements make issues of responsibility and accountability more difficult as well, but they do represent the changing face of public administration that you will encounter.

The Global Context We need to also recognize that changing economic conditions have combined with technological developments to mean that public administration is no longer bound by national borders, as the traditional definitions of the field implied. Today the international dimensions of public administration are more important than ever. Under- standing the activities of political and administrative officials in other countries is important not only for those who will spend part of their careers outside the United States, but also for those who will work at home. Increasingly, city managers, even in small communities, find that to be effective in local economic development activities, they must be experts in international business. But global interdependencies will affect us in other ways as well; for example, the deforestation in Brazil, Africa, and the Philippines will directly affect the quality of our own environment. And, of course, we cannot overlook our obligation to help reduce poverty and hunger throughout the world. Several diverse—indeed, competing—views have emerged relating to this globalization trend. They range from a critical perspective, in which the trend is seen as an attempt by developed nations to introduce Western values into other regions, to what supporters believe to be a chance to extend employment opportunities and wealth creation into impoverished nations. This latter view suggests that, over time, all of us in the global village will benefit from the forces of globalization and the internationalization of economic markets. The impact of globalization on public administration should not be underestimated. However, relating to the internationalization process is a pattern that carries perhaps even greater implications: decentralization. Central governments increasingly are handing over new powers and responsibilities to local and regional authorities. And in many cases, these jurisdictions lack the capacity and resources to deal effectively with their newfound authority. To better understand these trends, and what they mean for public administration, the development of more globalized, comparative forms of analysis and practice will be critical. We will require both an understanding of international issues and a way of more effectively managing with global issues in our own communities. So as we continue to live in our “global village,” we will be challenged to deal with opportunities and threats that defy national boundaries. Our systems of governance, consequently, will need to reflect our concern for the public interest—both at home and abroad. We now have a notion of the complexity of work in the public and nonprofit sectors— the complexity inherent in the technical work of governmental and nongovernmental agencies, but, even more important, the complexity of the political and ethical context in which managers operate. Indeed, as noted before, this complexity will provide a theme that ties together many aspects of your work as an administrator. The way you set objectives, the way you develop budgets and hire personnel, the way you interact with other organizations and with your own clientele, the way you evaluate the success or failure of your programs—all of these aspects of your work as an administrator, and many more, are directly affected by the fact that you will be managing in the public interest.

What Do Public Administrators Do?

An action orientation to public administration requires that we focus on what public and nonprofit managers actually do—how they act in real-world situations. How do they spend their time? What skills do they require to do their work well? What are the rewards and frustrations of public service? From the perspective of the administrator, we can ask, what characterizes the most effective and responsible public or nonprofit management? What are the demands on administrators? What are the satisfactions that public managers draw from their work?

We will approach these issues by concentrating on the skills managers need to accom- plish their work. In a classic article in the Harvard Business Review, Robert Katz provided the first major descriptions of the general skills all managers need: conceptual, technical, and human (Katz, 1974):

1. Conceptual skills include the ability to think abstractly, especially in regard to the manager’s concept of the organization. This category also involves the ability to see the organization as a whole, how all the parts or functions work and fit together, and how making a change in one part will affect other parts. Conceptual skills also include the ability to see how the organization, or parts of it, relate to the organization’s environment.

2. Technical skills refer to an understanding of, and proficiency in, the methods, processes, and techniques for accomplishing tasks. These are, for example, the skills of an accountant who can conduct an audit or develop an income statement or the skills of a mechanic who can repair an engine

3. Human skills involve the capacity to work effectively as a member of a group or the ability to get others to work together effectively. (“Others” may include subordinates, superiors, managers at the same level, or virtually anyone with whom one might work on a given project or assignment.)

All these skills are important to managers, but they are not equally important to all man- agers. Katz makes a strong argument that technical skills are most important to managers at the supervisory level who manage day-to-day operations but become less and less important as the level of management increases. On the other hand, conceptual skills are most important to top-level managers who must deal with the organization as a whole rather than with just one or a few parts of it. Conceptual skills are less important at the middle- management level and least important at the supervisory level. Human skills, however, maintain a constant, high level of importance; they are critical regardless of one’s level. How managers’ human skills are employed may vary from level to level (for example, top managers lead more meetings than supervisory managers), but as a category, human skills remain the one constant for managerial success. In this book, we will consider the knowledge and values associated with public management (conceptual skills), the techniques public managers require in such areas as budgeting and personnel (technical skills), and the personal and interpersonal qualities that help managers work effectively with others (human skills)

An Inventory of Public Management Skills

One way to elaborate on an action approach is to create an inventory of the skills and competencies required for successful public and nonprofit management. There are many ways such an inventory can be constructed. One of the best ways is to talk with public and nonprofit managers about their work, as we suggest in exercise 1 at the end of the chapter. Several research studies have sought to answer this question by identifying the skills that are critical to managerial success. Of these studies, an early study by the federal government’s Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is particularly helpful (Flanders & Utterback, 1985). The OPM study was based on information gathered from a large number of highly effective federal managers and produced a description of the broad elements of managerial performance at the supervisory, managerial, and executive levels. According to the OPM study, the competencies of managers include being sensitive to agency policies and national concerns; representing the organization and acting as a liaison to those outside the organization; establishing organizational goals and the processes to carry them out; obtaining and allocating necessary resources to achieve the agency’s purposes; effectively utilizing human resources; and monitoring, evaluating, and redirecting the work of the organization. But the OPM researchers recognized that managerial excellence requires not only doing the job, but doing it well. For this reason, they developed a set of skills, attitudes, and perspectives that seemed to distinguish the work of highly successful managers. Different skills are required at different levels. As managers move up the organizational ladder, they must accumulate increasingly broader sets of skills. The researchers suggest, for example, that first-line supervisors must apply communication skills, inter- personal sensitivity, and technical competence to ensure effective performance on their own part and within the work unit. In addition, their actions must begin to reflect those characteristics in the next ring: leadership, flexibility, an action orientation, and a focus on results. Middle managers, on the other hand, must demonstrate all these characteristics of effectiveness and begin to acquire the skills listed in the outer ring: a broad perspective, a strategic view, and environmental sensitivity. Executives at the highest levels of public service who are responsible for the accomplishment of broad agency objectives must demonstrate the full complement of effectiveness characteristics to be most successful. Clearly, a wide diversity of skills, regardless of how the job is constructed or of the style in which it is executed, will be essential to your success as a manager. A more recent study by the OPM elaborated the core qualifications expected of the highest-level government executives, in this case focusing on those characterizing the Senior Executive Service. This study first presented five executive core qualifications: leading change, leading people, results driven, business acumen, and building coalitions. These qualifications were complemented by six “competencies”: interpersonal skills, oral communication skills, integrity or honesty, written communication skills, continual learning, and public service motivation (http://www.opm.gov/ses/recruitment/ qualify.asp).

Voices of Public Administrators

Studies such as that of the OPM are helpful in understanding what you need to know and what you must be able to do to be successful in public administration. But how does it actually “feel” to work in a public or nonprofit organization? The best way to answer this question is to let some public servants speak for themselves. Not long ago, we spoke to two outstanding professionals in the field of public administration about their views of the field and their feelings about their work. The following accounts are based on those interviews. Jan C. Perkins served for many years as city manager of Fremont, California. When asked about her motivations for entering the field of public administration, this was her reply:

“I was interested in improving the quality of life for all people and increasing the access of women and minorities. I believed that I could have the most impact by being involved in local government at a management level.

The most rewarding aspects of my work have been being able to articulate the mission of the city and focus my resources and efforts in effectively meeting that mission, solving the problems of residents, and seeing employees grow and develop.

Those considering public service careers should understand that managing in the public arena is different from that in a private corporation. It requires a commitment to values such as providing quality services for all and dealing with all people on an equal level. It is very important that people who enter the public service do so with a high standard of ethical behavior and an ability to deal honestly and directly with all people.”

Michael Stahl works for the federal government in the Environmental Protection Agency. He reflected on his motivations for public service:

“I entered public service because I viewed (and still do) government as an instrument to solve social problems. Democratic government can be a tremendous positive force in society, and in spite of recent political rhetoric and prevailing political ideology, I am convinced that the institutions and programs of government are of vital importance to the nation and that public service is a noble calling.

If you are considering a career in the public service, take the time to reflect on your motivation for entering the public service, because there are right reasons and wrong reasons. You are entering for the right reasons if you want to make a contribution to the solution of social problems, promote democratic values and ethical standards in using the powers of government, and if the concept of serving the public good is a passion. You are entering for the wrong reasons if you are looking for public adulation and recognition for your accomplishments, seeking material or financial rewards as compensation for your hard work, or expecting to acquire levels of power and change the world according to your own plan. Those entering for the wrong reasons will be bitterly disappointed. Yet, for those whose passion is to contribute to the public good, government service can represent the single most satisfying way of translating your passion into ideas and events for improving the quality of life for scores of people.”

Why Study Public Administration?

Students come to introductory courses in public administration for many different rea- sons. Many students recognize the vast array of positions in government (and elsewhere) that require training in public administration and hope that the course will provide basic information and skills that will move them toward careers as public or nonprofit man- agers. These students seek to understand the field of public administration, but also to sharpen their own skills as potential administrators. (See the box “Exploring Concepts: Why Study Public Administration?

Exploring Concepts

WHY STUDY PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION?

● To prepare for administrative positions ● To combine technical and managerial training ● To help business and government interact ● To influence public organizations as a citizen

Other students, whose interests lie in technical fields as wide-ranging as engineering, teaching, natural resources, social work, and the fine arts, recognize that at some point in their careers their jobs may involve management in the public sector. The engineer may become director of a public works department; the teacher may become school principal; the natural resources expert may be asked to run an environmental quality program; the social worker may administer a welfare program; or the fine arts major may direct a publicly supported gallery or museum. In these cases, and others like them, the individual’s technical expertise may need to be complemented by managerial training

Other students may have no expectations whatsoever of working in a public agency, but they recognize that as corporate executives, as businesspeople, or merely as citizens, they are likely to be called upon to interact with those in public organizations. Someone who owns a small business might wish to sell products or services to a city, a county, or some other governmental body; partners in an accounting firm might seek auditing con- tracts with a local or state government; or a construction firm might bid on the design and construction of a new public building. In each case, knowledge of the operations of public agencies would be not only helpful but essential.

A final group of students, a group overlapping any of the previous three, might simply recognize the importance of public agencies in the governmental process and the impact of public organizations on their daily lives. They might wish to acquire the knowledge and skills that would enable them to more effectively analyze and influence public policy. Some will find the world of public administration a fascinating field of study in its own right and pursue academic careers in public affairs. Because understanding the motives for studying public administration will also give us a more complete view of the variety and importance of managerial work in the public sector, we will examine each in greater detail.

Preparing for Administrative Positions

You may be among those who wish to use the introductory public administration course as a stepping-stone to a career in public service. If so, you will find that these careers take many forms. We sometimes make distinctions among program managers, staff managers, and policy analysts. Program managers range from the executive level to the supervisory level and are in charge of particular governmental or nongovernmental programs, such as those in environmental quality or transportation safety. Their job is to allocate and monitor human, material, and financial resources to meet the service objectives of their agency. Staff managers, on the other hand, support the work of program managers through budgeting and financial management, personnel and labor relations, and purchasing and procurement. Meanwhile, policy analysts provide important information about existing programs through their research into the operations and impacts of the programs; moreover, analysts help bring together information about new programs, assess the possible effects of different courses of action, and suggest new directions for public policy. Managers and analysts may work with the chief executive, with the legislature, with officials at other levels of government, and with the public in framing and reframing public programs. As we will see, the work of public and nonprofit organizations also encompasses a wide variety of substantive areas. Think for a moment of the range of activities the federal government engages in. The federal government touches upon nearly every aspect of American life, from aeronautics, air transportation, and atmospheric sciences; to helping the homeless, juvenile delinquents, and migrant workers; to working with waste management, wage standards, and water quality. In each area, skilled managers are called upon to develop, implement, and evaluate government programs. But the work of managers at the federal level represents only a part of the work of those trained in public administration. At the state and local levels of government, and in the nonprofit sector, even more opportunities exist. As we will see in Chapter 2, although there is only one federal government in this country, there are almost 89,000 state and local governments (these include cities, counties, and special districts) and more than 1.5 million nonprofit organizations. State and local government employment in this country amounts to almost 15 million persons (compared to under 3 million civilians employed at the federal level), and nearly 15 million people work for nonprofit organizations. Obviously, the work of government at the state and local levels is different from that at the federal level. State and local governments, for example, do not directly provide for the national defense; however, most have police forces, which the federal government does not have. There are also other positions at the state and local levels that do not have exact counterparts at the federal level. For example, the president or chancellor of your state university is a public administrator with significant and unusual responsibilities; the city manager in a local community is a professional administrator appointed by a city council to manage the various functions of local government. And public service is not limited to work in government. Beyond employment in federal, state, or local government, those trained in public administration will find many other opportunities. Directors of nonprofit organizations at the state and local levels, as well as those in similar associations at the national level, often find that the skills required for their jobs—skills that combine managerial training with an understanding of the political system—are the skills developed in public administration courses. Again, to demonstrate the breadth of these activities, we might note that there are large numbers of nonprofit associations at the national level alone, ranging from well-known groups such as the American Medical Association or the American Bar Association, to trade groups such as the American Frozen Food Institute and the National Association of Bedding Manufacturers, to professional associations such as the American Society for Public Administration and those representing a particular field of interest, such as the Metropolitan Opera Guild. There is even an association of association executives: the American Society of Association Executives. Beyond these groups at the national level, there are numerous nonprofit groups operating at state and local levels—for example, local United Way organizations, local food banks, art leagues, or historic preservation groups. Finally, those with training in public administration may work in a private corporation’s public affairs division. Because of the increasing interaction across private, public, and nongovernmental sectors, corporations and nonprofit organizations often need special assistance in tracking legislation, developing and monitoring government contracts, and influencing the legislative or regulatory process. Thus, the combination of manage- rial and political skills possessed by someone with training in public administration can be highly valuable. The career possibilities in the field of public administration are seemingly endless.

Combining Technical and Managerial Training

Many students seek positions in public service as a primary career objective, whereas many others see the possibility of work in public administration as secondary, but nonetheless important, to their main field of interest. As noted, the work of government spans many areas; consequently, the people who work for government (one out of every six people in this country) come from a wide variety of professional backgrounds. There are engineers who work in the Defense Department and for NASA at the federal level, in state highway departments, and in local public works departments. People interested in natural resources may work for the U.S. Forest Service and the Environmental Protection Agency, in state conservation departments, and in local parks departments. Medical personnel may work for the Veterans Administration or the National Institute for Mental Health, for state health departments, and for local hospitals and health offices. Governments at all levels hire social workers, planners, personnel specialists, accountants, lawyers, biologists, law enforcement officers, educators, researchers, recreation specialists, and agricultural specialists, just to mention a few. To illustrate the magnitude of federal government employment, over 725,000 work in national defense and foreign affairs, over 700,000 people work in the postal service, 340,000 are employed in health care, and 124,000 financial administrators work for the federal government (http://www2 .census.gov/govs/apes/09fedfun.pdf). As mentioned earlier, people who have worked for some time within a technical field in a public organization are often promoted to managerial positions. A surgeon may become chief of surgery, a water pollution specialist may be asked to direct a pollution control project, or a teacher may become a school principal. Despite having started out in a technical field, these individuals find themselves in a managerial position; they are public administrators. Some people may desire promotion to a managerial position; others may not. (There are some jurisdictions in which continued advancement practically requires moving into an administrative position.) But whatever one’s motivation, the new administrator soon discovers a completely new world of work. Now the most pressing questions are not the technical ones, but rather those having to do with management, with program planning and design, with supervision and motivation, and with balancing scarce resources. Often the situation is quite bewildering; it’s almost as if one has been asked to change professions in midcareer from technical expert to public manager. So many people from technical fields find themselves in managerial positions in the public sector that many of them seek training in public administration. For this reason, it is no longer unusual for students majoring in technical fields to take courses in public administration or for students to combine undergraduate training in a technical field with graduate training in public administration (even at midcareer). This, then, is a second rea- son for studying public administration: to prepare for the eventuality that work in a technical field of interest might lead you to a managerial position in the public sector.

Interaction of Business and Government

Even for students who never work for a public agency of any type, understanding the processes of policy formulation and implementation can be enormously helpful. One of the most important trends in American society is the increasing interaction of business and government. Clearly, the decisions of government affect the environment in which business operates, but government also specifically regulates many businesses and, of course, serves as the biggest single customer of business. Those in business recognize that governmental decisions affect the economic climate. Most obvious are the effects of governmental decisions at the federal level. Consider, for example, the impact of government economic pronouncements on the stock market. State and local governments, however, also affect the business climate. The governors of many states have begun major campaigns to attract industry to their states, providing not only information and advice but also specific incentives for plants and industries that might relocate. Similar activities are being undertaken in more and more local communities, as cities recognize that they are in competition for economic development. At a minimum, business recognizes that the political climate of any locality directly affects the area’s economic climate. But the influence of government on business is more specific. At the federal level, major regulatory agencies, such as the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission, provide specific guidelines in which certain businesses must operate. Moreover, requirements of agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration restrict the operations of business so as to ensure the quality of air and water and the safety of working conditions. Similarly, at the state level, some agencies directly regulate specific businesses, while others act more generally to prevent unfair or unsafe practices. Even at the local level, through licensing and zoning practices, public organizations directly regulate business practice. Government is also important as a consumer of business products and services. At the federal level, over $550 billion is spent each year on goods and services; in the Department of Defense alone, the figure is over $354 billion per year (http://www.census.gov/ prod/2010pubs/cffr-09.pdf). Business is attentive to its customers, so it is not surprising that business is attentive to government! For all these reasons, people in business are becoming increasingly aware of the need to understand in detail the work of government—how policies are made, how they are implemented, and how they may be influenced. Not only are more and more businesses developing public affairs offices to specialize in governmental operations, track policy developments, and attempt to influence policy, but they are also placing a greater premium on having executives at all levels who understand how government agencies operate. Even if you plan a career in business, understanding the work of public organizations is an essential part of your training.

Influencing Public Organizations

Any of the motives for studying public administration we have discussed so far may bring you to an introductory course. There is, however, another more general reason you may wish to study public administration: to understand one important aspect of the governmental process so you can deal effectively with public issues that directly affect your life. We are all affected by the work of governmental and nongovernmental organizations, so it is helpful, and sometimes even essential, to understand the operations of these organizations. We have become so accustomed to the pervasiveness of public service and the range of its influence that we sometimes forget just how often our lives are touched by public and nonprofit organizations. Imagine a typical day: We wake up in the morning to the sounds of a commercially regulated radio station or National Public Radio coming over a patented and Federal Communications Commission–registered clock radio operating on power supplied by either a government-regulated power company or a public utility. We brush our teeth with toothpaste produced under a government patent and trust that it has been judged safe (if not effective) by a federal agency. We use municipally operated water and sewer systems without thinking of the complexity of their operation. We dress in clothes produced under governmental restrictions and eat food prepared in accordance with government regulations and inspected by the government. We drive on a public high- way, following government-enforced traffic laws, to a university substantially funded by federal, state, and sometimes local dollars to study from books copyrighted and catalogued by the Library of Congress. Though the day has hardly begun, our lives already have been touched by public organizations in a multitude of ways. The importance of public administration in daily life is tremendous; consequently, the decisions made by governmental and nongovernmental officials (and not just elected officials) can affect us directly. Imagine, for example, that one day you discover that the loan program that is helping to finance your college education is being reviewed and will likely be revised in such a way that you will no longer be eligible for funding. In this case, you might well want to take some action to maintain your eligibility. Obviously, knowing something about the operations of government agencies, especially some of the ways administrative decisions can be influenced, would be of great help. As citizens affected by the public service, understanding the operations of public and nonprofit organizations is helpful; it is even more important if one becomes personally involved in some aspect of the governmental process. For those reading this book, such involvement is actually rather likely. Indeed, if you are a college graduate, regardless of your major or field of interest, chances are quite good that at some point in your life you will engage in some kind of formal governmental activity. You may be elected to local, state, or national office; you may be asked to serve on a board or commission; or your advice concerning government operations in your area may be sought in other ways. You may also become involved in the work of nonprofit organizations or charities in your local community. In any of these cases, a thorough knowledge of the structure and processes of public organizations, both government and nonprofit organizations, will be of great importance. Finally, those who are interested in understanding the work of public or nonprofit organizations may indeed find the field of public administration interesting from a more academic standpoint: studying and commenting on the operations of government and nonprofit organizations contribute to our understanding of the process of policy development and support the work of those in public organizations. The opportunities for academic careers in public administration, positions involving teaching and research, are many, and you may find yourself drawn to those opportunities. Even here, however, one begins with a concern for action. What Would You Do? You are the executive director of the Parents Anonymous organization in your area. Your organization is devoted to preventing child abuse and strengthening families. Recently one of your traditional sources of funding was terminated. You are faced with the prospect of reducing staff (and services) or coming up with new revenues. What would you do? Making Things Happen Of the many reasons to learn about public and nonprofit organizations, one theme seems to tie together the various interests: an interest in making things happen. Whether you are preparing for a career in the public sector with the possibility that you might someday manage a public agency, or simply preparing to influence the course of public policy and its implementation as it directly affects you or your business, your interest is in taking action and influencing what goes on in public and nonprofit organizations. It’s one thing to gain knowledge of the field in the abstract, but most students want to learn those things that will make them more effective actors in the governmental process. Some of the more prominent actors are discussed in the box “Public Administration in History: Public Service: A Distinguished Profession.

PUBLIC SERVICE: A DISTINGUISHED PROFESSION

For my part, when I think of government service, in uniform and out, I think of individual men and women of genuine distinction who have served this country over the years and also of the amazing diversity of a service that can range from defending our borders to delivering our mail, curing disease to exploring outer space. I was looking at a civil service publication the other day containing an alphabetical list of well-known employees through the years “and found it began with a career civil servant named Neil Armstrong who went on TDY (temporary duty) to the moon” and concluded several pages later with Walt Whitman, the poet, who worked in the Department of the Interior and the U.S. Attorney [General’s office]. How’s that for diversity? Incidentally, the group also included four Nobel Prize winners and several important inventors, including Alexander Graham Bell, who among his other associations worked for the Census Bureau. There also were some other familiar names of people who shared your proud profession: Clara Barton, Washington Irving, Abraham Lincoln, Charles Lindbergh, Knute Rockne, Harry Truman, and James Whistler, to name but a few. In my own experience, as one who served the federal government for some years, I look back on those periods as among the most exciting, challenging, and thoroughly demanding in life. I have often said, and still say, that I never worked harder than I did in my years as a public servant. I worked alongside some of the finest, most competent, thoroughly committed people I have ever known. I realize this does not comport with everything that you read in the papers or see on television, but I never miss a chance to point it out. My own experience in government left me with an abiding respect for the men and women who serve this nation as public employees. SOURCE: Norman R. Augustine, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Martin Marietta Corporation, Address to the Federal Executive Board, Denver, Colorado, April 26, 1989. Text provided by the Council for Excellence in Government, Washington, D.C.

This book is geared toward action, toward how to make things happen in public ser- vice. Our perspective will be that of the actor, not the scholar, although an understanding of the world of administrative action is the basis for good scholarship as well. Action first requires a base of knowledge; there are certain things that you simply need to know about government and the administrative process to be effective. There are also value questions that must be settled in the course of making and carrying out public decisions. And, finally, there are both technical and interpersonal skills you must acquire to be effective in working with others in your chosen field. Selecting an action orientation, therefore, commits you to emphasizing all three areas: the knowledge, values, and skills that will help you to become more effective and responsible in your work with “real-life” public organizations.

Issues in Public Administration Theory and Practice

Throughout the chapters to come, our primary emphasis will be on action—those things that real-world actors do to be successful in public and nonprofit organizations. But action never stands alone. Without some degree of reflection, action is sterile and unguided. For this reason, we will outline two themes that have traditionally characterized work in public organizations and that continue to be of great importance today. As such, these themes—of politics and administration and of bureaucracy and democracy—provide a part of the intellectual and practical context of public administration. Although our purpose is to simply introduce these two themes, we suggest that they are most often manifest in contemporary public administration as a tension between efficiency and responsiveness. This tension is absolutely central to the work of public administrators today, and we will return to it frequently in our discussions of administrative action.

Politics and Administration

Even though the supposed dichotomy between politics and administration is one of the oldest issues in public administration, it continues to hold great relevance for administrators today. You will recall that an early essay by Woodrow Wilson framed the initial study of public administration in this country. In addition to emphasizing businesslike practices, Wilson was concerned with isolating the processes of administration from the potentially corrupting influences of politics. He wrote, “Administration lies outside the proper sphere of politics. Administrative questions are not political questions. Although politics sets the tasks for administration, it should not be suffered to manipulate its offices” (Wilson, 1887, p. 210). In other words, although policies were to be debated and decided by politicians, they were to be carried out by a politically neutral, professional bureaucracy. In this way, the everyday conduct of government would be isolated from the potentially corrupting influence of politics. Other early writers joined Wilson in talking, at least analytically, about the distinction between politics (or policy) and administration. More practical reformers went further, creating governmental forms, such as the council-manager plan for local government, that were based on a separation of policy and administration. As we will see later, in this form of government, the council presumably makes the policy and the city manager carries it out. The council is engaged in politics (or policy) and the manager in administration. Over the first few decades of this century, however, the distinction between policy and administration was increasingly broken down, even in council-manager governments. Man- agers found that they had expertise that was needed by policy makers and began to be drawn into the policy process. By about the middle of the century, Paul Appleby of Syracuse University would write simply, “Public administration is policy-making” (Appleby, 1949, p. 170). The increasing involvement of administrators in the policy process was in part attributable to the fact that the operations of government—and in contemporary society, of non- profit organizations—were becoming more complex, and the technical and professional skills needed to operate public agencies were dramatically increasing. As people with such skills and expertise became a part of public organizations, they were inevitably called upon

to present their views. At the same time, the legislative branches of government (at all levels) found it difficult to be knowledgeable about every detail of government and, consequently, were forced to rely more and more on the expertise of those in public agencies. Addition- ally, the complexity of government meant that legislative bodies often found it necessary to state laws in general terms, leaving those within government agencies with considerable discretion to interpret those laws as they saw fit and, therefore, make policy daily.

Ensuring Accountability

The acknowledgment of the interaction of politics and administration does not make the question of their relationship any easier. If public administrators make policy, how can we be sure that the policies they make are responsible to the people (as we would expect in a democratic society)? Presumably, legislators must be at least somewhat responsive, or, come the next election, they will no longer be legislators. But what of administrators?

What Would You Do?

You have served three years as head of your state’s human services agency. In general, your relationship with the governor has been quite good, and your relationship with the legislature (which is dominated by the governor’s party) has been congenial as well. Recently, however, there has been a move in the legislature to reduce funding for a child-care program you think is essential to finding and maintaining employment for women on welfare. What would you do?

Traditionally, the answer was that the administrators were accountable to the legislators, who, in turn, were accountable to the people. But even that argument is somewhat tricky today. Those in public and nonprofit agencies do indeed both work with and report to legislatures (or boards), but they also shape public opinion through the information they provide. They mobilize for support inside and outside government and bargain with a variety of public and private groups. To a certain extent, they act as independent agents. For this reason, more contemporary discussions of accountability (which we will elaborate on in Chapter 4) place an emphasis on measures that would supplement accountability to the legislature by either seeking a strong subjective sense of responsibility on the part of administrators or by providing structural controls to ensure responsibility. As we will see, some people have tried to assert professional standards in public and nonprofit organizations, while others have developed codes of ethics and standards of professional practice. Others have sought greater legislative involvement in the administrative process or more substantial legislative review. Still others have described mechanisms such as public participation in the administrative process or surveys of public opinion that would bring the administrator in closer alignment with the sentiments of the citizenry (something we will discuss further in Chapter 11). The relationship between politics (or policy) and administration will be a theme that recurs throughout the remainder of this book. Although the classic dichotomy between politics and administration has become less distinct as the role of public administrators in the policy process has become more apparent, the question of the relationship between politics and administration remains central, simply because it goes to the heart of what public administration is all about. If public organizations differ from other organizations in our society, that difference must surely rest in the way public organizations participate in and respond to the public interest. But that issue merely leads us to another: the relationship between bureaucracy and democracy.

Bureaucracy and Democracy

A second theme that grew from early discussions of public administration had to do with the potential for conflict between democracy and bureaucracy. Let’s start once again with democracy. One writer has defined the moral commitments of a democracy in terms of three standards. First, democratic principles assume that the individual is the primary measure of human value and that the development of the individual is the primary goal of a democratic political system. Second, democratic morality suggests that all persons are created equal—that differences in wealth, status, or position should not give one person or group an advantage over another. Third, democratic morality empha- sizes widespread participation among the citizens in the making of major decisions (Redford, 1969, p. 8). Set against these tenets of democracy are the ideals of bureaucratic management. The early scholars and practitioners in public administration were, of course, writing at a time when businesses were growing rapidly and beginning to use more complicated technologies and new ways of organizing appropriate to those technologies. To some extent the public sector looked to the field of business for models of organization. It found that the growth of large-scale business had led to the development of large and complex bureaucratic organizations, organizations that were built around values quite different from those of democracy. (Although the term bureaucracy is often used in a pejorative sense, as in “bureaucratic red tape,” we will use it here in its more neutral and scientific sense: as a way of organizing work.) Consequently, the bureaucratic model of organizing was brought into the public sector. The values of bureaucracy included first the need to bring together the work of many individuals in order to achieve purposes far beyond the capabilities of any single individual. Second, bureaucratic systems were to be structured hierarchically, with those at the top having far greater power and discretion than those at the bottom. Third, bureaucratic organization generally assumes that power and authority flow from the top of the organization to the bottom rather than the other way around. (We will examine the concept of bureaucracy in greater detail in Chapter 5.) In contrast to the democratic value of individuality, there stood the bureaucratic value of the group or organization; in contrast to the democratic values of equality, there stood the bureaucratic hierarchy; and in contrast to the democratic values of participation and involvement, there stood the bureaucratic value of top-down decision making and authority. How these values were to be reconciled became a difficult issue for early scholars and practitioners in the field of public administration, as it continues to be today. A variety of questions are raised. For example, is it proper for a democratic government to carry out its work through basically authoritarian organizations? The key issue turns out to be an emphasis on efficiency as the sole measure of agency success.