Public Administration Review

Published by Wiley
Online ISSN: 1540-6210
Print ISSN: 0033-3352
As government resources shrink and the demand for accountability increases, administrators of human services are concerned with protecting the rights of recipients and providers of services, as well as enforcing programmatic standards. A recent U. S. Supreme Court case, dealing with decertification of a nursing home which served Medicare and Medicaid patients, illustrates how these competing rights and interests are balanced. While patients have a "right" to nursing home care, this right does not extend to participation in the decision-making process when a provider is decertified. The implications of this case extend to other areas in which eligible recipients have a "right" to services.
Despite interest in recent years in the design and conduct of citizen surveys by public administrators as an aid in the management process, relatively little attention has been paid to the potential utility for public managers of published opinion polls. Based on an extensive review of polls on contemporary health care issues, this article seeks to demonstrate insights available to public administrators from these sources. Also discussed are methodological weaknesses of opinion poll data and some analytic strategies for coping with them.
This paper explores the prediction of King and Bass (1974) that black managers and supervisors may be more reluctant than whites to accept management programs such as management by objectives. Data were collected from 77 black and 61 white managers and professionals of the City of Detroit transportation system (D-DOT), after they had been involved with MBO for almost one year. Analyses of t-test results indicate that blacks assessed MBO as more helpful in their individual jobs and more positive for the organization than their white counterparts. Explanations derived from the racial demographics of the organization, the MBO installation, and characteristics of MBO as a management process in public agencies are given.
Social agency chief executives in six program areas--welfare, health, mental health, community action, model cities, and community mental health centers--were surveyed to determine their reaction to the recent revenue sharing/block grant efforts to decentralize the federal aid system. Despite their strong belief that social initiatives and values were advanced principally by federal action, and that excessive reliance on state and local officials could severely jeopardize social programs with weak constituencies, agency executives also recognized major weaknesses in traditional categorical grant policy and, to varying degrees, supported revenue sharing and block grant alternatives. Those agencies largely dependent on federal support for their survival--model cities, community action programs, and community mental health centers--tended to support the new aid efforts only reluctantly. Those agencies more fully integrated into the regular policy-making arrangements of local government--health, welfare, and mental health agencies--were considerably more positive in their endorsement of greater decentralization.
Twelve years of budgetary experience with the Appalachian Regional Development Program are used to inquire whether less detailed congressional constraints on the use of appropriated funds have resulted in a change in state spending priorities. After examining the relative allocation of funds for the thirteen states as a group and individually, the conclusion is reached that though priorities have clearly changed, other factors (in addition to less detailed budgetary constraints) have also been in operation. These other factors include changes in underlying priorities, changes in other federal legislation, and attainment of some goals of the program.
Allocation formula design presents technical as well as political difficulties. This paper presents a non-technical discussion of technical issues in formula design. The issues include proxy variables, updating of indicators, small-area estimates, communication between statisticians and legislators, formula complexity, variable redundancy, tiered allocation formulas, eligibility criteria, choice of data, and evaluation of allocation formulas.
This paper summarizes some of the effects of different compressed shift schedules-one entailing four 12-hour days and one having four 10-hour days-in two police organizations. The goal is to investigate whether a compressed shift schedule can be designed to achieve a better balance between work and non-work by changing the starting and quitting times, the number of hours worked, the frequency and number of rotations, the number of days worked, and the number of weekends off.
While performance appraisal systems which emphasize work objectives and behavioral rating scales hold considerable promise for improving the evaluation process, an incomplete understanding of the human dynamics underlying the appraisal process blunts their attraction. For a technically sound appraisal system to work, four behavioral elements are necessary: trust, acceptance of the appraisal function by those who must do the evaluation, sensitivity to the inner world of performance evaluation, and training designs which recognize the human dynamics of appraisal.
The article discusses randomized experiments for evaluating and planning local programs in the U.S. The simplest justification for assigning people randomly to alternative programs is tied to the idea that estimates of a programs costs and effects ought to be as fair and as unequivocal as possible. By unequivocal it is meant that any post-program difference in health status between two groups will be clearly attributable to the differences in effects of programs rather than to pre-existing differences between participants and nonparticipants or to natural differences between their growth or deterioration rates. Other evaluation designs will usually yield more ambiguous evidence. Reliance on randomized tests appears to have grown over the past five years for a variety of reasons. The most important is that evaluation of many new programs of the 1960s and early 1970s-in law enforcement education health services welfare reform and other areas-have been ambiguous at best and misleading at worst. The evaluation designs even when implemented well yielded data which did not support the idea that a program worked or did not work. In the most invidious cases weak programs have been found erroneously to have negative effects and programs which actually have had moderate positive effects have erroneously been found weak. (authors)
Decision makers in environmental health rely on the results of scientific research for their understanding of the relationships between environmental hazards and health. A two phase procedure is described which can aid that understanding. The first phase classifies epidemiological and clinical research studies according to the nature of the evidence which they present, using a criterion based on statistical significance. The concept of believability is then developed, which goes beyond the statistical significance of the results to encompass important aspects of the design and conduct of the research. Believability is assessed in the second phase of the procedure by assigning points to various aspects of the study. The point values are related to research methods in the health sciences which are effective for identifying causal relationships. An example of the two phase believability assessment procedure is presented, and its use in environmental health planning and decision making is discussed.
Technology and institutions interact dialectically. Institutional factors affect the range of alternatives considered by innovators, the resolution of disputes over the consequences of innovation, and even the efficiency of technical projects. Thus, technological impacts are determined in the arena of institutional choice just as much as in the laboratory and on the drawing board. Examples from the fields of medical care, nuclear power generation, and broadcasting technology are used to illustrate this interdependence. Dialectic thinking, in the Greek sense of a systematic critique of assumptions, arguments, and conclusions, is necessary to counteract institutional and conceptual biases and to support unconventional approaches. As the current interest in adversary proceedings and other dialectic modes of discourse shows, the narrow paradigm of decisionism is being replaced by quasi-jurisprudential methods for assessing the adequacy of arguments, the strength of evidence, and the intrinsic limitations of technical solutions.
The present discussion reports on some of the first statewide data gathering and analysis to assess the consequences of the 1975 reorganization of the Florida Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services. Two major concepts guiding the reorganization were: (1) integration of services in order to cover more adequately the needs of clients, including "multi-problem" clients, and (2) decentralization of administrative authority of all programs under a single, district-wide management structure. Despite widespread interest in the Florida system, and two previous studies, no systematic, detailed study of the impact of reorganization at the service delivery level has been conducted until now. The results of this study indicate that departmental employees perceive substantial decentralization of authority and progress toward integration of services since the 1975 reorganization. Perceived improvement in client services is also indicated. Major factors cited as influential in the change are the move toward collocation of services, the establishment of administratively interlinked service networks, and to a lesser extent, the development of generalist managers.
This article examines the extent to which differences exist in the relative degree of discretion permitted by the statutory mandates under which health risk assessments are conducted as a basis for regulatory action. Attention is focused on the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration, because they are the lead federal regulatory agencies on most environmental health matters. The statutes are found to define risk, consider effects, identify target populations, and use benefit-cost analysis in a flexible way. But the burden of proof of risk typically is assigned in a more direct and stringent fashion. Overall, however, agencies are found to have substantial discretion in the manner in which risk assessments are incorporated into the policy process. A number of examples of efforts to reduce this flexibility are outlined and their implications for the future of the analysis of risks are delineated.
This article describes underlying concepts of employee assistance programs (EAPs) and presents profiles of EAP clients in three eastern cities: Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia. Inferences about the identification and referral process are drawn from the data, and the article concludes with a discussion of EAP implementation concerns in the public sector. These include whether adequate public managerial understanding and commitment to EAPs exist, demographic profiles of employees served, and alternative strategies to achieve desired results.
Employee assistance programs (EAPs) provided by government and industry are designed to help employees deal with personal problems that seriously affect job performance. During the last ten years, EAPs have increased significantly in numbers and importance. A study of programs for state employees shows that 39 states now have some form of EAP. The coverage and type of organization for state EAPs varies widely. The most frequently used counseling services provided are alcohol rehabilitation, individual psychological counseling, stress management, and drug abuse programs. The average direct program cost of the state EAPs in 1982 was $95,544. A number of problems were encountered in establishing the EAPs, but a significant ongoing problem is that the dollar or productivity benefits of the programs still have not been well documented.
The federal budgetary process in the United States has been surprisingly resistant to change. Reforms come and go but certain budgeting "truths" seem inviolable. Despite changes in nomenclature, budget "systems" (such as ZBB and PPB), and the players themselves, the basic game has stayed the same. Budgeting is a largely decentralized political process, governed by highly stylized rules for negotiation and given to predictable outcomes. Each year the budget grows larger most agencies receive an appropriation that is a, modest increase over the previous year's, and the nation's deficit grows larger.
This study examines the relationships between ideology and service delivery performance in an established community mental health center which is beginning major structural changes. Ideological pluralism among several separate and internally-cohesive units within one organization led to diversity in staff productivity. The implications of ideological pluralism for planned organizational change, policy implementation and administration are explored.
Management by objectives (MBO) probably remains the most important and widespread governmental management system. But like most management systems, MBO has a high failure rate and is particularly vulnerable during its first few years. This paper examines the crucial first five years of MBO's experience in HEW/HHS. It finds that MBO shifted power to the secretary's office, in part by documenting a "cycle of failure" for subordinates and by lessening the influence of outside groups. This paper argues the normative case for welcoming such a shift. In addition, these MBO-produced power shifts interact with secretarial personality to affect the likelihood of the system's institutionalization and success. There are few real incentives for a departmental secretary to establish and use a management system. However if the secretary's personality causes him or her to value internal power, this "side benefit" provided by MBO is often reason enough to install and use it; society in turn gains increased program efficiency and effectiveness. Other personality influences and side benefits are briefly discussed.
While the concept of power has always been a concern to students of political science and public administration, it has been examined only peripherally in the last few years. Recent work by McClelland has indicated that power may be a very important variable in explaining managerial behavior and organizational effectiveness. Starting with a definition of power provided by McClelland, this paper develops a conceptual framework for analyzing power-related behavior in an organizational setting. The framework is then applied to a problem area of particular interest to the authors--the question of whether or not women managers can be expected to behave differently than their male counterparts because of possible differences in their orientations toward power. We conclude that differences in power needs will not impede the effectiveness of female managers, but women may be at a disadvantage in the work environment due to possible differences in the way they express these needs.
Funds for human service programs and services are declining, and selection criteria for funds are becoming more objective. These conditions are creating an imbalance in the system which will result in a significant change in human service funding and delivery. The climate is ripe for increased competition among those who obtain funds for human services. This article attempts to define how that competition will ultimately generate a spirit of cooperation among the survivors. To reach that point, however, grantsmen/providers, to be competitive, will need to sharpen their technical writing skills and their political skills, that is, they need to become more shrewd, prudent, and diplomatic. This article suggests some methods for improving technical grant-writing skills and developing political skills among grant writers.
American government in the twentieth century has been faced with a serious value conflict between the need for rational allocation of scarce resources through planning, and the need to be responsive to a diverse society. Two ideal types of planning correspond to these two values. Rational planning emphasizes the importance of the planner's expertise in achieving the "best" path to socially defined goals. Advocacy planning emphasizes the importance of responsiveness to group interests since all planning decisions are basically a matter of value choice. Citizen participation in planning often combines elements of these two models, embodying the value conflict in planning agency procedures. Health systems agencies are examined as a typical case of such planning. Their failure to build a constituency is viewed as a consequence of role conflict reduction strategies by representatives who did not know whether to play the planner or the advocate role, and how to play either.
In April 2009 the US government unveiled its blueprint for a national network of high-speed passenger rail (HSR) lines aimed at reducing traffic congestion, cutting national dependence on foreign oil and improving rural and urban environments. In implementing such a program, it is essential to identify the factors that might influence decision making and the eventual success of the HSR project, as well as foreseeing the obstacles that will have to be overcome. In this article we review, summarize and analyze the most important HSR projects carried out to date around the globe, namely those of Japan, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy. We focus our attention on the main issues involved in the undertaking of HSR projects: their impact on mobility, the environment, the economy and on urban centers. By so doing, we identify sessons for policy makers and managers working on the implementation of HSR projects.
We describe the evolution of a performance measurement system in a government job-training program. In this program, a federal agency establishes performance measures and standards for sub-state agencies. We show that the performance measurement system’s evolution is at least partly explained as a process of trial-and-error, characterized by a feedback loop: the federal agency establishes performance measures, the local managers learn how to game them, the federal agency learns about gaming and reformulates the performance measures, leading to possibly new gaming, and so on. The dynamics suggest that implementing a performance measurement system in government is not a one-time challenge but benefits from careful monitoring and perhaps frequent revision.
For a decade, public administration and management literature has featured a riveting story: the transformation of the field's orientation from an old paradigm to a new one. While many doubt claims concerning a new paradigm–a "new public management"–no one questions that there was an old one. An ingrained and narrowly-focused pattern of thought, a "bureaucratic paradigm", is routinely attributed to public administration's traditional literature. A careful reading of that literature reveals, however, that the bureaucratic paradigm is, at best, a caricature and, at worst, an demonstrable distortion of traditional thought, which exhibited far more respect for law, politics, citizens, and values than the new, customer-oriented managerialism and its variants. In failing to contest the revisionists, public administration as a profession has been unduly careless of its own traditions, deserting vital and significant insights and acquiescing in calumnies that, even if they have a grain of truth, disfigure a fine intellectual heritage. The result is an intellectual rootlessness and an analytical negligence that allow vague, anti- or pseudo-democratic ideas to flourish and basic issues of responsible management to go unaddressed.
This is a critique of a new management game being used in the federal government - Goddard Research Engineering Management Exercise (GREMEX). The exercise involves teams of players who act as managers of a research and development project - the orbiting optical observatory - of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. During this exercise a computer and the referee-instructor together provide the realistic environment within which the team participants make their decisions affecting the course of the project. The article discusses the place of GREMEX in a tradition of games and simulations, and notes the similarities and differences between GREMEX and other management games currently in use for business training. Some of the actual decisions being made by the GREMEX teams are described to illustrate the nature of the exercise.
"The encroachment of economics upon politics is not difficult to understand. Being political in perspective is viewed as bad; having the perspective of the economist is acclaimed as good. As a discipline, economics has done more with its theory, however inadequate, than has political science. Under some conditions economists can give you some idea of what efficiency requires. It is a rare political scientist who would even concern himself with political rationality. Economists claim to know and work to defend their interests in efficiency: political scientists do not even define their sphere of competence. Thus the market place of ideas is rigged at the start."
Government, science and technology, bibliographical essay
What are the costs of the contracting out process? While supporting contracting as a viable tool for public sector managers, Jonas Prager argues the public sector often pays inadequate attention to the costs of managing contracting out and monitoring contractor compliance. Prager contends that government production might be more efficient than outsourcing when these costs overwhelm savings that might otherwise accrue from contracting out.
This book explains and assesses the ways in which micro, welfare and benefit-cost economists view the world of public policy. In general terms, microeconomic concepts and models can be seen to appear regularly in the work of political scientists, sociologists and psychologists. As a consequence, these and related concepts and models have now had sufficient time to influence strongly and to extend the range of policy options available to government departments. The central focus of this book is the ‘cross-over’ from economic modelling to policy implementation, which remains obscure and uncertain. The author outlines the importance of a wider knowledge of microeconomics for improving the effects and orientation of public policy. He also provides a critique of some basic economic assumptions, notably the ‘consumer sovereignty principle’. Within this context the reader is in a better position to understand the ‘marvellous insights and troubling blindnesses’ of economists where often what is controversial politically is not so controversial among economists.
The principal technology on which all forms of intentional, local weather modification ultimately rest is that of cloud seeding. There are three primary milestones in the evolution of such a new technology including invention, development, and introduction to society on an operational basis. It is shown that government has been deeply involved in each of the first two phases of weather modification's evolution. The agencies involved include the military agencies, the Weather Bureau, the National Science Foundation, and the Bureau of Reclamation. It is pointed out that weather modification will require some unusually flexible and open administrative devices if it is to advance in the public interest.
In the post September 11 era, one truism in the ongoing public policy debate surrounding technology and privacy is that there is no easy solution to the increasing presence of technology in our lives. There are, however, several long-standing guiding principles. We must be wary of extending political authority to protect privacy without careful contemplation of the consequences. While it may appear that the idea of balancing technology and privacy is novel, the tension between them is informed by a broader theoretical framework that is inherent to democracy. Understanding this broader theoretical framework is helpful in identifying ways to advance the debate toward policy solutions rather than continuing a dogmatic discussion that juxtaposes technological innovation with the loss of privacy. The purpose of this discussion is not to settle the public policy debate. Instead, the aim is to consider how long-standing constitutional doctrine and the theoretical framework of democracy can lend insight into the current debate surrounding privacy and technology.
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Top-cited authors
John Bryson
  • University of Minnesota Twin Cities
James L. Perry
  • Indiana University Bloomington
Barbara C. Crosby
  • University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Robert Denhardt
  • University of Southern California
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  • Central Queensland University