1. The idea of political management--traditional public administration versus new political management school

2. The political environment facing public managers

3. Some key concepts in Moore

4. Some key concepts in Schorr

5. Some questions to ponder

6. Preview of week 6




· The old public administration view:

· managers deal with politics only in relation to administrative functions of the agency, e.g. in the annual budget process, in protecting agency against scandal, charges of incompetence

· this reflects old public administration focus on administrative efficiency and policy implementation, not policy making

· Moore's focus:

· managers must manage politics of policy development

· political executives, legislators, interest groups, media, courts, public opinion are all potentially relevant to manager's ability to do his or her job

· Moore's definition of public management:

· building support and legitimacy for an agency's mission and actions taken in support of the mission

· Why is political management important?

· managers make public policy decisions

· those decisions are part of a larger value judgment

· managers' roles and responsibilities exceeds their authority

· they must convince others that their actions are not just their own views and values

· they must seek legitimacy from their "authorizing environment"

· The traditional public administration view of authorization:

· manager needs authorization only from higher ups in his or her organization

· managers tend to act on their own selfish views, so organizations need to limit manager autonomy

· politics in administrative agencies is about keeping managers on track with the agency position

· Moore's view of authorization:

· the authorizing environment is both up in the organization and outside of it

· there is more to gain if managers are allowed and encouraged to look for public value

· we don't want to limit their autonomy

· but we do want to make them seek legitimacy

· managers should feel authorized to search for value

· this might involve a change in organizational mission, for which the manager would then week authorization




· There have been many significant changes in the last few decades in the policy making environment:

· vast expansion in the size and responsibilities of government

· government role is no longer primarily economic

· instead, government policy typically addresses social, environmental, and moral issues

· there has been a huge proliferation of interest groups

· many interest groups now compete with each other; this has lessened some of the concern that economic interests dominate policy making through interest groups

· there has been a huge expansion of executive branch agencies to parallel the growth in the role of the government and proliferation of programs

· executive agencies compete with one another for turf and policy position

· there are many more experts outside the bureaucracy (e.g. think tanks, legislative staff, university research centers)

· there has been a proliferation of congressional subcommittees that set directions and constraints for the executive branch

· political parties are weaker so policy issues are often guided by individual members, i.e. "policy entrerpeneurs"

· this means that agencies have to deal with many more individuals, rather than just the party position

· campaigns have become "candidate centered" rather than party-dominated

· individuals try to make a name for themselves around certain issues; public agencies have to contend with these positions

· media have become powerful watchdogs looking over the bureaucracy and following issues


· Summary of changes that have occurred since about mid-1960s:

· more participants!

· more issues and kinds of issues!

· more "experts"!

· more oversight!

· more conflict!


· Most political scientists agree that the policy process is more open and dynamic than it was before these changes

· there is more chance for dynamic (rather than only incremental) change

· there is more possibility for ideas (rather than just electoral or economic changes) to influence the outcomes of policy

· there is more possibility for established, powerful interests to lose on policy outcomes

· These changes have had an impact on the bureaucracy and its role:

· in the traditional policy making environment, bureaucracy was seen as:
· independent, autonomous

· powerful and resistant to change

· not very easy for political higher-ups to control

· making policy outside of public scrutiny via "iron triangles" involving interest groups, legislative subcommittees, and bureaucratic agencies

· a threat to democratic accountability

· having a monopoly on information, which provided a major source of bureaucratic power

· under the newer view of the policy making environment:

· bureaucracy is still seen as involved in iron triangle policy making but only for policy issues that are not high on the public agenda or radar screen

· for issues with high public attention, bureaucracy cannot operate with any autonomy because there is too much participation and oversight from other involved political actors

· bureaucracy is pulled in all directions by the more complex environment, rather than being controlled by certain interest groups or industries (via iron triangles)

· the image of "issue network" has largely replaced that of "iron triangles" in the political science literature

· issue network involves wide group of political actors with interests in a particular policy issue area, e.g. academics, legislators, legislative staff, interest groups on all sides, media, different executive branch agency staff

· bureaucracy no longer has information monopoly because so many other experts participate in the issue network

· bureaucracy is seen as more responsive to the chief executive and to legislative leadership

· As bureaucracy has become so large and involved in such a wide variety of programs, more means have been invented to try to control it by executive, legislative, judicial branches as well as the public:

· administrative reorganization

· privatization and competition

· stronger budget regulations

· mandatory strategic planning and performance measurement

· sunset laws

· oversight hearings

· court-enforced hearing processes

· freedom of information act statutes

· Moore's view of political management reflects this newly complex environment in which public managers have to operate

· far from being autonomous and independently powerful, managers need to seek authorization from this broad authorizing environment

· because the environment is so complex and conflictual, political management is a really tough job with lots of risks!



· managers face ethical dilemmas as they attend to political management

· if they push too hard for their own views, they threaten democratic principles
· Moore warns of the "arrogance" of thinking you know public value

· if they don't act on their own expertise and judgment, they simply become agents for others and fail to exercise leadership

· Moore suggests that the best of both extremes is to recognize the duty to aim for what you consider publicly valuable but also to learn from others--keep an open mind


· framing

· how issues are framed can be vital to successful political management

· this is particular crucial because of big role played by media in high salience issues

· e.g. Mahoney case study: was the issue one of economic development, local self-determination, or equity?

· framing can determine who gets involved in an issue--even which legislative committees and executive branch offices work on an issue

· in political science literature, framing is a hugely important concept


· Managers can use different techniques that constitute a continuum of degree of autonomy of manager vis a vis the public.

· Moore is in the early stages of trying to categorize a set of useful strategies for managers. This chapter is a bit too long and not real clear. The main point is that different approaches reflect different manager-public relationships and each has good and bad points.

· manager can be a public entrepreneur and push for her own view of public value

· this was what Sencer did: he decided that public value was enhanced by a full-scale mobilization against the swine flu and engaged the political environment to try to make his case

· but this can be the arrogant end of the spectrum--and threaten accountability

· manager can put most of her energy into designing and maintaining a good process that will be perceived as legitimate

· one interesting note here about policy analysis
· traditionally, policy analysis has typically been thought of as a good decision making tool

· but policies carry so much uncertainty that policy analysis rarely can predict consequences of various policies with any degree of certainty

· managers need to be aware of this as they use "experts"

· aside: I did my doctoral dissertation on the use of policy analysis in legislatures, showing that its use was not to solve problems and eliminate uncertainty, as commonly believed, but rather was a weapon in the struggle over how to define problems and frame issues.

· but attention to creating legitimate decision processes is very important.

· people care a lot about process because sometimes the process is much more of a known thing than the outcome. Outcomes are delayed and ambiguous. Process is often clear.

· people judge process by its fairness, is reasonableness, who was involved, did it follow rules and precedent

· and one last point on policy analysis: our society values rationality. So, even though policy analysis doesn't usually solve problems, or resolve issues, its very presence reassures people that the process has been good.

· when people see the process as legitimate, they are more likely to support the outcome

· manager can be a negotiator among all relevant interests

· old view of negotiation assumed that people bring fixed interests, and largely selfish interests to the table (this reflects economic perspective)

· newer view, that is being applied to political management, is that the varied and changing interests that reflect the full political environment can be discussed and negotiated

· manager can take the issue to the public and encourage public discourse and, ideally, social learning

· this is different from negotiation because presumably people can learn from each other and even change their views

· negotiation focuses more on individuals; this set of strategies focuses more on the public as a whole

· manager can market policy positions to the public to help them see public value

· this involves framing, once again


· policy environment is very dynamic

· manager needs to be flexible and able to adapt to changes

· just as private market fluctuates, public market does too

· timing can be very important--manager can look for the right opportunity to take his position to the relevant political actors and the public


· political management is risky

· many managers would just as soon practice the politics/administration dichotomy because it is safer; it insulates them from political risks

· but Moore would say this is unrealistic--you can't ignore politics

· so, managers do need to learn how to engage the environment successfully



· Analysis of what's wrong with bureaucracy

Question: who wrote the following: Schorr, or Osborne and Gaebler?
"we are so eager to eliminate the possibility that public servants will do anything wrong that we make it virtually impossible for them to do anything right"

Answer: of course Schorr, because this is about "key concepts in Schorr", but doesn't it sound like Osborne and Gaebler? So does her emphasis on the unintended consequences of Progressive reforms. She decries that in their attempt to stamp out corruption, they left us the legacy of present-day bureaucracy, with its emphasis on mistrust, over-regulation, centralization, categorical funding, and rules!!!

Schorr even credits Osborne and Gaebler with an on-target diagnosis of what's wrong with government today


· How to fix bureaucracy

· here is the major difference with Osborne and Gaebler

· she rejects privatization and market solutions

· calls for renewal of public sector--a new model of human service management

· her focus is on human services

· she points out that "what works for fixing potholes" doesn't work for fixing families

· scholars agree that privatization works only when task can be clearly specified in advance, contractor's performance can be quickly evaluated, and market competition makes it realistic to replace non-performing contractors; these conditions are not typically present in human services

· she sounds like Moore when she talks of the need to "achieve public purposes" as the reason we can't look to the private sector

· her criticisms of the customer model are similar to Moore's


· Categorical funding is biggest impediment to effective interventions

· this stems from her focus on need to cross boundaries between different parts of the service environment--to have comprehensive (but not large and impersonal) programs.

· all the fragmentation among programs and the different rules governing each impedes effective service delivery


· Accountability and discretion

· she favors giving more discretion to front line workers

· but she doesn't directly address the accountability concerns that inevitably follow

· what do you think she would (will) say about accountability?


5. Questions to ponder

· do you think the value of categorical funding outweighs the disadvantages?

· does having categorical programs foster the kind of interest in government and connection to government programs and delivery systems that many want to encourage?

· without categorical programs, would legislators lose an important means of showing their concern for citizen needs (by delivering the benefits of special programs to special populations)

· are all the criticisms of the Progressives' fear of corruption at the expense of sensible government naïve? That is, without rules and centralized controls, will we lapse back into a situation where we have to worry about capricious, if not corrupt, actions by government agencies and employees?

· Osborne and Gaebler are pretty cavalier about accountability (better to ask forgiveness than permission); Moore bases accountability on existing protections of our representative democracy; Schorr likewise calls for bureaucrats to exercise more discretion, but what does she say about the accountability that needs to come with increasing discretion?

· Do you think Schorr would agree with Osborne and Gaebler's solutions if she were writing about environmental or transportation policy rather than human services?

· How much of Schorr's optimism that the public sector can be renewed do you think comes from her positive view of human nature? Does this make her position simply wishful thinking?



We have completed Part I of the course on Governance!

Next week we will: