Balk argues that most professionals in government agencies are underutilized. He proposes an operational approach, called public agency democracy, that should help reduce costly and disconcerting errors. The book will interest those who wish to better understand the frustrations of public service and how to turn these to motivate change.
Well over two million very qualified individuals mediate between high-level managers and other members of public agencies. These grossly underutilized intermediary professionals must become more empowered to reduce waste, malfeasance and other costly errors. Balk proposes an applied theory of public agency democracy designed to liberate the potential of its highly trained experts.
The book begins by discussing professionals as power intermediaries and their necessary tensions with authority around matters of reform. Recognized dilemmas in the field of public administration are reviewed to demonstrate the need to resolve issues concerning public agency democracy. A model is then developed to incorporate democratic action with responses ranging from routine to whistle-blowing activities. The second part of the book shows why existing management orientations are not receptive to the need for agency democracy. Conventional orientations reject the paradoxical realities of government environments; therefore, ingrained beliefs about effectiveness and management authority are at times inappropriate. Management approaches to public service motivation lack sophistication. Four final chapters are devoted to techniques and approaches on the part of professionals to initiate change. These involve techniques to assess organizational predicaments, design resolutions and become constructively involved in processes of agency reform. Ways are proposed for professionals and others to institutionalize public agency democracy in government environments.
From Bureaucracy to Hyperarchy in Netcentric and Quick Learning Organizations: Exploring Future Public Management Practice
The Innovations in American Government Awards Program began in 1985 with a grant from the Ford Foundation to the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard to conduct a program of awards for innovations in state and local government. The foundation's objective was ambitious and, in an era of "government is the problem" rhetoric, determinedly proactive. It sought to counter declining public confidence in government by highlighting innovative and effective programs. Over twenty years later, research, recognition, and replication are the source of the program's continuing influence and its vitality. What is the future of government innovation? How can innovation enhance the quality of life for citizens and strengthen democratic governance? Innovations in Government: Research, Recognition, and Replication answers these questions by presenting a comprehensive approach to advancing the practice and study of innovation in government. The authors discuss new research on innovation, explore the impact of several programs that recognize innovation, and consider challenges to the replication of innovations. Contributors include Eugene Bardach (University of California? Berkeley), Robert Behn (Harvard University), John D. Donahue (Harvard University), Marta Ferreira Santos Farah (Center for Public Administration and Government, Funda?ao Getulio Vargas), Archon Fung (Harvard University), Jean Hartley (University of Warwick), Steven Kelman (Harvard University), Gowher Rizvi (Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation, Harvard University), Peter Spink (Center for Public Administration and Government, Funda?ao Getulio Vargas), and Jonathan Walters (Governing).