QUALITY Public Management: What It Is and How It Can Be Improved and Advanced

Buy from:
Rowman & Littlefield

QUALITY Public Management book cover

I encourage everyone interested in American government to consider the growing power of government organizations and, consequently, the increasing importance of management at national, state, and local levels. The functions and influence of government departments, agencies, and bureaus grow because these organizations more effectively deal with the problems and issues of our modern technological world than do, or can, presidents, governors, mayors, legislatures, or courts. Consequently, we need to focus attention on government organizations and how they are managed.

Organizations and management are primary because the "administrative state", as itís often called, has arrived. The administrative state is an organizational structure (predominately, networks that connect government agencies with corporations and other institutions and groupings), a corresponding set of management processes, and a specific type of personnel (namely, specialists in all relevant areas). The structures, processes, and personnel of the administrative state have marginalized the structures, processes, and personnel of traditional political governance. This is to say, the administrative state has eroded the significance of political parties, elections, elected officials (presidents, governors, mayors, and legislators), as well as courts.

For certain, we should be concerned about who lives in the governorís mansion, sits on the mayorís seat, and calls the White House home. And, undoubtedly, reforming campaign financing laws and having qualified individuals in the courts can lead to some betterment. But of much greater significance in the administrative state are government departments, agencies, port authorities, regional transportation authorities, school districts, and the like.

To a greater and greater extent, the organizations of the administrative state and its personnel—technical experts and professionals—make the neighborhoods, the nation and, indeed, most of the world. We need to know how to better manage the administrative state, how to interact with its personnel, and how to make its structures more flexible and responsive to citizens. For instance, should the directors and chiefs of these departments and agencies be strengthened, or should more power and responsibility devolve to personnel in the line units? Do we want increasing competition between organizations, between subunits, and among individuals of the organizationís payroll, or will planning, enhanced cooperation, and trust bring about improved management and greater organizational outputs? And how should the institutions of the administrative state be reformed so that citizens can meaningfully participate in agency and bureau decision making and thereby guide public sector organizations so that they produce policies and programs that meet citizen needs and wants?

In QUALITY Public Management I present Quality management as the answer to questions about proper governance in the administrative state. When public agencies, offices, projects, and programs are managed according to the principles of Quality management satisfaction and trust in government increase because citizen needs and wants are better met, and, to an extent not possible either through electoral politics, or when public organizations are managed according to the precepts of traditional management.