Understanding and Managing Public Organizations
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Understanding and Managing Public Organizations

Hal G. Rainey, Sergio Fernandez, Deanna Malatesta

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eBook - ePub

Understanding and Managing Public Organizations

Hal G. Rainey, Sergio Fernandez, Deanna Malatesta

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Discover the latest insights in organization theory from a comprehensive and masterful volume

Understanding and Managing Public Organizations, 6th Edition provides readers with an authoritative reference for scholars, masters, and doctoral students in public management and public affairs programs in the United States and other nations.

The 6th Edition of Understanding and Managing Public Organizations presents the latest research and insights from organization and management theory and their application to public organizations and the people in them. The book expands coverage from previous editions about organizational goals, performance and effectiveness, strategy, decision-making, structure and design, organizational change, operating environments, individuals and groups, motivation and work-related attitudes, leadership, teamwork, and more.

Authors and professors Hal Rainey, Sergio Fernandez, and Deanna Malatesta provide new and expanded coverage of such topics as

  • The context and distinctive character of public and nonprofit organizations, including expanded coverage of "publicness" and of the legal context including "state action"
  • Performance management, measurement, organizational effectiveness, and managing for high performance
  • Representative bureaucracy, workforce diversity, and performance
  • Communication and information technology
  • Employee engagement and empowerment, intrinsic motivation, self-determination theory, public service motivation, and positive organizational behavior—resilience, self-efficacy, optimism, and hope
  • Recent developments in theory and thought on leadership, including authentic leadership, shared leadership, servant leadership, and integrated leadership
  • Design and process topics including red tape and green tape, administrative burdens, and organizational routines
  • Theoretical perspectives such as behavioral theory of decision making, resource dependence theory, and others, and their implications for public and nonprofit organizations
  • Advances in theory and practice about rapid developments in collaborative governance, organizational networks, partnerships, and contracting
  • Since the book is used in courses for students in numerous public affairs programs, this new edition updates the Instructor's Guide, with new and revised PowerPoint slides, cases, exercises, and discussion and examination questions
  • These materials, with the topics in the chapters, are designed to address the learning outcomes required by NASPAA accreditation requirements

Belonging on the shelf of scholars and students in public affairs, as well as anyone interested in public management or organization theory, this new edition of Understanding and Managing Public Organizations provides an advanced and comprehensive enhancement to a widely used and compelling series of previous editions.

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As work on this sixth edition began, the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted nations around the world, ultimately infecting and killing millions of people. Leaders of nations affected by the virus relied on workers and organizations in the administrative branch of their governments for responses to the pandemic. In the United States, the president, governors of states, and local government officials called upon administrators for policies and procedures to contain the virus and to explain them to the citizenry. The US president, along with political supporters, had expressed disdain for “the deep state,” which allegedly involved officials in the federal administrative branch who opposed the president. During this crisis, however, the president held public briefings in which administrative officials played leading roles. The White House coordinator for the response to the crisis and the head of a unit of the National Institutes of Health came forward in the briefings to explain decisions, and to answer questions from the press.
In public statements, the President and other elected officials at all levels referred to the crucial roles that administrative officials and organizations played. The administrators represented an alphabet soup of organizations and positions – the Surgeon General of the United States, the White House coordinator, CDC, FDA, HHS, NIH, Homeland Security, Departments of Public Health at state and local levels and the commissioners of those departments, and other officials and organizations. As leaders asked citizens to comply with recommendations and directives, government employees at all levels implemented these procedures. In many countries, citizens applauded healthcare workers, many of whom were government employees, for their heroic efforts.
Government officials closed many businesses and halted other activities. Economic dislocation caused by the pandemic raised another massive challenge. In the US and other nations, chief executives and legislative bodies sought to meet that challenge with payments to individuals and loans for businesses. The agencies involved in such policies added additional names to the roster of government agencies and personnel with major roles: the Departments of Treasury and of Labor, the Social Security Administration, and other organizations at all levels of government.
The responses to the pandemic also involved essential roles for nongovernmental organizations, including business and nonprofit organizations. Among their major contributions, manufacturing firms shifted their activities to the production of medical supplies such as masks and face shields. Pharmaceutical and medical companies concentrated on speeding the development of vaccines tests to detect the virus, and other defenses against it. The activities of such organizations illustrated a reality of contemporary political economy – government, nonprofit, and private business entities blend together in many ways in the provision of goods and services. This reality of collaboration, networking, partnerships, and contractual relations will receive more attention in this edition than in previous editions.
More generally, the effort to control and defeat the coronavirus illustrates another obvious reality. Organizations and the people in them often provide crucial goods and services; the analysis of how they can do so effectively and the dissemination of that knowledge can enhance the discharge of these crucial functions. The pandemic crisis illustrates an important characteristic of public or governmental organizations and the people in them. They are heavily influenced by developments in the political and governmental context in which they operate. Even government employees who never encounter an elected official in their daily activities have their working lives influenced by the political system in which they work. Government organizations, which this book will usually call public organizations, deliver crucial services. Inadequate organization and management of those functions create severe problems for citizens. The organizations and the people in them have to carry out their services and functions under the auspices and influence of other governmental authorities. Hence they operate directly or indirectly in what David Aberbach and Bert Rockman (2002) call “the web of politics.” The examples apply as well to governments in other nations and the organizations within those governments. Nations around the world have followed a pattern of organizing, reorganizing, reforming, and striving to improve government agencies’ management and performance (Kettl, 2002; Light, 2008; National Academy of Public Administration, 2020; Pollitt and Bouckaert, 2011; Walker and Boyne, 2006).

Toward Improved Understanding and Management of Public Organizations

All nations face decisions about the roles of government and private institutions in their society. In recent decades, the reforms mentioned previously included a movement in many countries either to curtail government authority and replace it with greater private activity or to make government operations more like those of private business firms (Pollitt and Bouckeart, 2011; Christensen and LĂŠgreid, 2007). This skepticism about government implies sharp differences between government and privately owned organizations. During this same period, however, numerous writers argued that we had too little sound analysis of such differences and too little attention to management in the public sector. This critique elicited a wave of research and writing on public management and public organization theory, in which experts and researchers have been working to provide more careful analyses of organizational and managerial issues in government.
This chapter elaborates on these points to develop another central theme of this book. We face a dilemma in combining our legitimate concerns about the performance of public organizations with the recognition that they play indispensable roles. We need to improve their effectiveness. We can profit by studying major topics from general management and organization theory and examining evidence of their application in the public sector. That evidence indicates that the governmental context influences organization, management and performance. Often, governmental organizations and people in them perform better than is commonly acknowledged. These examples usually reflect the efforts of managers in government who combine managerial skill with effective knowledge of the public sector context. Experts continue to research and debate the nature of this combination, however, as more evidence appears rapidly and in diverse places. This book seeks to base its analysis of public management and organizations on a careful review of this evidence.

General Management and Public Management

A review and explanation of the literature on organizations and their management, integrated with a review of the research on public organizations and public bureaucracy, supports improved management and performance of public organizations. These two bodies of research and thought are related but separate. Their integration imposes a major challenge for those interested in public management. The character of these fields and of their separation needs clarification. We can begin that process by noting that scholars in sociology, psychology, and business administration have developed an elaborate body of knowledge in the fields of organizational behavior and organization theory.

Organizational Behavior, Organization Theory, and Management

The study of organizational behavior originated in industrial and social psychology. Organizational behavior researchers concentrate on individual and group behaviors in organizations. They analyze motivation, work satisfaction, leadership, work group dynamics, and the attitudes and behaviors of the members of organizations. Organization theory is based more in sociology. It focuses on topics that concern the organization as a whole, such as organizational environments, goals and effectiveness, strategy and decision making, change and innovation, and structure and design. Some writers treat organizational behavior as a subfield of organization theory. The distinction is primarily a matter of specialization among researchers; it is reflected in the relative emphasis each topic receives in specific textbooks and professional journals.
Organization theory and organizational behavior are covered in high-quality programs in business administration, public administration, educational administration, or other forms of administration, because they are relevant to management. The term management is used in diverse ways, but we can think of this topic as involving the analysis and practice of such functions as leading, organizing, motivating, planning and strategy making, evaluating effectiveness, and communicating.
A strong tradition, hereafter called the “generic tradition,” pervades organization theory and organizational behavior. Chapters Two and Three discuss major contributors to this field who apply their theories and insights to all types of organizations. They have worked to build a general body of knowledge about organizations and management. Many current texts on organization theory and management contain applications to public, private, and nonprofit organizations (e.g., Daft, 2020). In addition, management researchers and consultants frequently work with public organizations and use the same concepts and techniques they use with private businesses. They argue that people working in government, nonprofit, and private business settings face similar challenges and follow generally similar patterns.

Public Administration, Economics, and Political Science

The generic tradition offers valuable concepts, as this book will illustrate. Nevertheless, we do have a body of knowledge specific to public organizations and management. Governments around the world involve immense amounts of managerial activity. City managers, e.g., have become highly professionalized. We have a body of knowledge about public administration. Economists have developed theories of public bureaucracy (Downs, 1967). Political scientists have written extensively about it (Meier and Bothe, 2007). They usually depict the public bureaucracy as significantly different from private business. Political scientists concentrate on the political role of public organizations and their relationships with legislators, courts, chief executives, and interest groups (e.g., Krause, 1999). Economists analyzing the public bureaucracy emphasize the absence of economic markets for its outputs. In past decades, they often concluded that this absence of markets makes public organizations more bureaucratic, inefficient, change-resistant, and susceptible to political influence than private firms (Dahl and Lindblom, 1953; Downs, 1967; Niskanen, 1971; Tullock, 1965).
In the 1970s, authors began to point out the divergence between the generic management literature and that on the public bureaucracy and to call for better integration of these topics.1 These authors noted that organization theory and behavior literature offers concepts for analyzing organizational structure, change, decisions, strategy, environments, motivation, leadership, and other important topics. In addition, researchers have tested these ideas in empirical research. Because of their generic approach, however, they paid little attention to the issues raised by political scientists and economists concerning public organizations. For instance, they usually ignored the internationally significant issue of whether government ownership and economic market exposure make a difference for management and organization.
Critics also faulted the writings in political science an...

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