Political Environment of Public Management

Peter Kobrak  
Total pages
July 2001
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Because public managers must operate as political actors as well as administrative actors, this unique reader shows how to skillfully maneuver through a pluralistic political environment.

Both students of public management and practitioners will find the information contained in this reader invaluable. The selections identify ways to contribute at every level of government, but emphasize the importance of acting ethically, constitutionally and with accountability.


  • Focuses on the political dynamics and dimensions of public management.
  • Includes article introductions to provide context and background, as well as arguments that can be made against the article's position.

New to this Edition

  • New sections on bureaucrat bashing, engaging the public in agency decision making, reform and accountability, and globalization and the future of public management.
  • 14 new selections.
  • New selections discussing issues of particular importance to public management, such as the significance of regulations, the dangers of running government like a business, the unique roles of middle managers, and under what conditions privatization may fail.
  • New Case Matrix located in the Preface directs professors and students to case studies, drawn from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, covering the political environment of public administration.
  • More selections dealing with state and local levels of government.

Table of Contents

I. Politics, Administration, and Bureaucrat Bashing.

 1. Phillip K. Howard, The Death of Common Sense: How Law Is Suffocating America.
 2. Richard C. Box, Running Government Like a Business.

II. The Public Manager As Leader.

 3. Benn, What Right Do Public Managers Have to Lead?
 4. Michael Lipsky, The Critical Role of Street- Level Bureaucrats.
 5. Michael Lipsky, Street -Level Bureaucrats as Policy Makers.
 6. Morgan Douglas, What Middle Managers Do In Local Government: Stewardship of the Public Trust and the Limits of Reinventing Government.

III. Engaging the Public In Agency Decision Making.

 7. Robert B. Reich, Policy Making in a Democracy.
 8. John Nalbandian, Facilitating Community, Enabling Democracy: New Roles for Local Government Managers.

IV. The Manager As Bureaucratic Politician.

 9. John P. Kottler, Power Dependence, and Effective Management.
10. Sally Helgeson, The Web of Inclusion.
11. Myron D. Fottler, Assessing Key Stakeholders: Who Matters to Hospitals and Why?
12. Peter F. Drucker, Really Reinventing Government.

V. Managing the Resources Of Public Agency Power.

13. Francis E. Rourke, Mobilizing Political Support.
14. Kelly Rossman-McKinney and R. Dee Woell, Why Public Relations Is Important Even to Public Administrators.
15. Eric M. Patashnik, Budgeting More, Deciding Less.
16. Sharon Dawes, et al, Four Realities of IT Innovation in Government.

VI. The Politics of Managing Public Policy.

17. James D. Slack, From Affirmative Action to Full Spectrum Diversity in the American Workplace.
18. Steven W. Hays and Shawn Benzinger Whitney, Reinventing the Personnel Function: Lessons Learned from a Hope-Filled Beginning in One State.

VII. Reform, Accountability and the Public Entrepreneur.

19. Jeffrey Berry, Coalitions, Subgovernments, and Networks.
20. George Avery, Outsourcing Public Health Laboratory Services: A Blueprint for Determining Whether to Privatize and How.

VIII. Reform, Accountability, and the Public Entrepreneur.

21. William T. Gormley, Custody Battles in State Administration.
22. Carl J. Bellone and George Frederick Goerl, Reconciling Public Entrepreneurship and Democracy.

IX. Globalization and the Future Of Public Management.

23. Harlan Cleveland, The Future Is Uncentralized.
24. Ali Farazmund, Globalization and Public Administration.