Chapter one: defining public administration learning objectives

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Politics-Administration Dichotomy—Can politics and administration really remain separate in public bureaucracies? (Pro and Con)

Power Issues in the Bureaucracy—Special interest power versus public interest power issues (Pro and Con)
Ethics Issues—Is it ever acceptable for public administrators to “dirty their hands” for the public good? (Pro and Con)
Arguments: Speak to the benefits of your position; costs of the opposing position.



After reading Chapter 2 in the textbook, the student should be able to:

1. Identify the concept of public policy.
2. Distinguish public policy from public administration and link the two constructs together.
3. Explain how public policy is made in a democratic republic like the United States.
4. Identify and explain the five key stages of the policymaking process:

a. Agenda setting

b. Decision making

c. Implementation

d. Evaluation

e. Feedback

5. Explain the characteristics of power as a structural concept in the policymaking cycle.
6. Explain how power invariably enters the policymaking process through external and internal “force fields” that affect the public organization:

a. The impacts of external power resulting from pluralism and social group power in the United States

b. The impacts of internal power resulting from relationships, coalitions, negotiations, and bargaining within American public organizations
7. Understand the meaning of “organizational culture” as it relates to public administration.
8. Explain how the following impact the cultures of public organizations:

a. External societal cultures

b. Internal cultures and subcultures of organizations

c. Professional socialization

d. Symbols, dramas, gestures, values, etc.
9. Define key terms at the bottom of the pages and at the end of the chapter.
10. Write short critical essays on the major topics covered in the chapter.

I. Public Policymaking: Public policymaking is hierarchical in nature. The broadest policy is made at the top, but officials at lower levels, also known as street-level bureaucrats, have discretion in interpreting and even making policy. In the United States the people are considered sovereign; they (through their elected representatives) make public policy, and this concept is known as democracy. The legislative branch of government has the greatest number of enumerated powers and makes the law. The executive branch administers and enforces these laws, and the judicial branch interprets and enforces them. Each level of government—federal, state, and local—involves these three distinct entities, or branches, of government.
II. The Role of Executive Power in a Republic: The authors provide us with three views of executive power. The conservative view maintains that the president, governor, or mayor is an agent of the legislature. Thus, his/her powers are restricted by it. A more liberal view is the one of executive prerogative, which holds that under certain circumstances the chief executive possesses and can use extraordinary powers to safeguard the nation. The stewardship theory of executive power is based on the belief that the president is a trustee of the people and can take any actions not specifically forbidden by the Constitution on their behalf. All presidents assume one of these three executive models.
III. The Policymaking Process: The policymaking process is a complex group of activities. In our textbook these are explained as: 1) Agenda setting or identification of the policy issue, where the citizens produce ideas for change or improvement. These bubble up through the various political channels for consideration by the legislature or the courts. 2) Decisionmaking: Here a decision is made, either rationally (based on complete information) or, more often, incrementally (bit-by-bit at the margins of problems). 3) Implementation involves putting a government policy into effect. Implementation is an inherently political process. Frequently the agendas of those implementing the program seep into the implementation process itself. 4) Evaluation is the appraisal process of policymaking to determine the effectiveness and the efficiency of a given program. Generally, the executive branch of government undertakes the evaluation, but courts also do so in their analysis and judgment of cases. 5) Feedback: This stage of the policy process completes the cycle, and new agenda items evolving from the completed process start the policymaking cycle all over again.

IV. The Role of Power in the Policymaking Process: The theory of force fields helps explain the role of external and internal power that is brought to bear on an agency and its key players from many directions. a. External Power Forces: Pluralism is a concept that begins in the government itself. The three branches of government—legislative, executive, and judicial—exert power over each other. Additionally, American society is made up of competitive groups, and power shifts from one to the other in time. Some hold the view that groups of interested individuals with shared attitudes and special interests, not government, are the mechanism by which social policies are formulated. Elite theory states that key members of the group have the lion’s share of power in policymaking. The metaphor of the salad bowl explains that each socio-political group is a distinct power entity. Others believe that government itself is a group that competes with other groups. b. Internal Power: Within organizations, coalitions jockey for power to secure scarce resources. Dependency power explains that individuals or groups who have control of key products and services make others dependent upon them. Those from the rational-structural school believe that power resides in legitimate authority, while others suggest that even those in authority are relatively powerless because their actions are invariably limited by others.
V. The Role of Culture in Public Policymaking: Organizational cultures are about the norms, values, symbolic behaviors, artifacts, and other tangible and intangible things that exert influence upon a group and link it to its environment. a. Impacts of the External Environment: In a diverse land like America, local and regional cultures impact in different ways on the culture of public organizations. In this way, organizational culture reflects the overall values of society. b. Impacts of the Internal Environment: The internal culture of an organization is transmitted by socialization or enculturation processes. The professional socialization of organizational membership helps maintain and enforce the organizational culture. The conscious use of symbolic management, through dramaturgy, rituals, and emblems, preserves or develops the kind of culture that organizational leaders find desirable.

Individual Exercise
Think Piece

The American Democratic Republic”

Explain the meaning of the “democratic republic” as we know it in the United States of America. Go to the library and search out why the Founding Fathers chose this form of government. How does the constitution guarantee checks and balances between the branches of government—executive, legislative, and judiciary? Do you agree with Thomas Jefferson that given the nature of judicial review, the Constitution is ultimately what the judges of the Supreme Court say it is, and thus is “a mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary, which they may twist and shape into any form they please.

To remind students of issues covered so far in the textbook Public Administration, by Shafritz and Russell, use a current example from world affairs to discuss the pertinent issues. We suggest using the issue of California’s Proposition 209 as a springboard for discussion of a public policy.
Californians passed Proposition 209 to end affirmative action in 1997. Subsequently, in fall 1997, the Supreme Court upheld the legality of Proposition 209. These actions have potential ramifications

for other states that struggle with affirmative action statutes, case laws, regulations, and other public policies.

Discussion Issues
1. Pluralism and multiculturalism in our society and increasing diversity due to globalization of work.

2. Voices of special interests in America.

3. Expressions of dissent from those who have suffered “reverse discrimination.”

4. Elite interests versus minority interests.

5. Compensatory justice for underprivileged groups.

6. The meaning of a “color-blind” society.


(Designed for Individual Players)
Draw a circle representing a public organization—for example, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), federal government level; or the State Department of Transportation, state government level; or the County Jail, local government level. [Class or Instructor chooses one.]
Draw power forces from fields that impact on this agency as follows:

a. Straight line arrows for negative power influences.

b. Dotted line arrows for positive power influences.

c. Explain your model.

Draw a circle representing a military organization such as the army, navy, air force, marines; or a paramilitary organization such as the police, jail security guards, or coast guard. [Class or Instructor chooses one.]

a. What sort of organizational culture is your chosen organization likely to have?

b. Describe what symbols, artifacts, and emblems reinforce the culture of this organization.

c. What, if any, is the local, state, or regional impact on this organization’s culture?



After reading Chapter 3 in the textbook, the student should be able to:
l. Understand the concept of reinventing the machinery of government.
2. Understand the administrative structure of the federal government, in particular the executive branch machinery.

a. Executive Office Agencies

b. Executive Departments

c. Independent Public Bodies

3. Understand the administrative structure of state and local government, in particular:

a. State Government

b. County Government

c. Municipal Government

d. Towns and Special Districts
4. Understand the major government reform movements in this century, in particular the implications of:

a. The Brownlow Committee

b. The Hoover Commissions

c. The Ash Council

d. The Grace Commission

e. The Reinventing Government Movement

f. The Gore Report

g . Reinventors versus Micromanagers

5. Define key items listed at the bottom of the pages and at the end of the chapter.
6. Write critical essays on topics covered in the chapter.

I. The Machinery of Government refers to all of the structural arrangements that allow government to function at the federal, state, and local levels. In time, after a process of internal evaluation, and, more often, after suggestions or demands from their external environment, all organizations come to realize that deficiencies and errors exist within their systems. They may then undertake the process of reorganization or reinvention of government. The first such reinvention was the Constitutional Convention of 1787, but the actual phrase entered our lexicon around the time of the first Clinton presidential campaign in the early 1990s and the publication of Reinventing Government by Osborne and Gaebler (1992). Government is in a constant state of fine-tuning its machinery. Each time the government makes new public policy or amends an old one, government must put into place new machinery to implement it. On a less frequent basis, government may also retire outdated machinery.
II. The Administrative Machinery of Government: The U.S. Constitution structures the political, economic, and social lives of the people, and so, appropriately, it begins with the opening phrase, “We the people.” This puts the decision-making control into the hands of the citizens. The Constitution assigns powers to various branches of government and establishes a system of checks and balances.
III. Executive Branch Machinery: The most complex machinery of public administration resides in the executive branch, which contains a variety of organizational categories: a. The Executive Office of the President (EOP) is a collective term that includes the top presidential staff agencies, which provide advice to the president in a variety of administrative areas and on issues of significant national priority. b. Executive Departments: The president’s cabinet is a collective phrase for a group of 14 executive departments that advise the president. c. Independent Public Bodies: There are two entities here: First there are government corporations, such as the U.S. Postal Service; second, there are regulatory commissions set up by Congress to regulate some aspect of the U.S. economy, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission. The administrators of these bodies are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. Some regulatory functions are also provided by traditional cabinet departments.

IV. State and Local Government Machinery: State and local governments parallel the national model. The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution provides that powers not delegated to the federal government by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively or to the people. The Constitution does not specifically mention local governments. Hence, their powers are derived from state law. Dillon’s rule outlines criteria developed by state courts to determine the nature and extent of powers granted to local governments. State government: The elected chief executive of the state is the governor, assisted by agencies and individuals similar to the federal model. Local government is a broad term that includes a hierarchy of levels: county government, municipal (or city) government, towns, and special districts.
V. Reforming the National Machinery of Government: The twentieth century witnessed a number of major reform committees and commissions that scrutinized government machinery. a. The Brownlow Committee: Government grew rapidly and haphazardly during the New Deal. To help the president manage his assignments, the Brownlow Committee substantially increased the size of the presidential staff in 1936. b. The Hoover Commissions were set up following World War II in an attempt to reorganize the federal government. c. The Ash Council: During President Nixon’s term of office, this council called for a major restructuring of cabinet agencies. d. The President’s Private Sector Survey on Cost Control (PPSSCC) (the Grace Commission): Undertaken during the Reagan administration, this commission produced a report which was too detailed and not very useful.
VI. Reinventing Government: By 1980, the tax revolt movement in 38 states forced the government to reduce or stabilize tax rates. Then the Reagan revolution came along, with its slogan “government is the problem.” The deficiencies apparent in government were taken up again in the 1990s with the “reinventing government” movement and its reports, such as the National Performance Review (the Gore Report), that spoke to the mushrooming national debt, the enormous waste in government, the diminishing of public trust, and a variety of ills.
VII. Micromanagers—A Consequence of Government Reform: A variety of other executive branch reforms that tinkered with the machinery of government took place besides the ones mentioned above. The combined effect of these laws was to unleash a mob of micromanagers in government. Nowhere is this more prevalent than in Congress, where members spend inordinate amounts of time micromanaging issues that make them look good to their constituents rather than focusing on public policymaking.

Group Exercise
Think Piece

The Role of Government in the Twenty-first Century”

Divide the class into two groups. Group 1 is the “Invisible Hand of Government” Group. This group will argue for a lesser role for government in the twenty-first century. Group 2, “Visible Hand of Government” will argue that government appropriately has a much broader role to play in the lives of its citizens in the twenty-first century.

Class Exercise
You are a senior analyst in the firm of Quick and Devoe Associates, a management consulting firm in Cannonsville, California. Cannonsville is basically a university town with the large

Cannonsville University as its core enterprise—an organization that has special expertise in veterinary medicine and in the management and biological sciences.

Your assignment concerns the local Cannonsville City Zoo. This is a local government entity that has been having difficulty for several years. It has already been determined by a preliminary study that if the zoo management could be turned around, the facility could be made profitable because of its strategic location, which is close to several major metropolitan areas in southern California, its spectacular scenic vistas, and its unique population of tropical animals.

- low revenues due to lack of visitor interest, development funding, and other funding options—retail sales, special programs, and exploration of government grant monies
- high expenses in the areas of animal diets, horticulture, and grounds management
- a seasonal employment workforce made up of part-timers who are difficult to manage
- animal health problems
- interference by political elites in government who use the zoo for political purposes and for patronage appointments

The zoo needs to be updated in terms of its three strategic goals:
- Recreation

- Conservation

- Education
You have been asked to look at several options for “reinventing” the zoo. Should it be privatized? Should it become a non-profit entity? Could it remain a public entity, with some functions outsourced to private vendors? The analysis is up to you. Based on the readings in Chapter 3, what would you suggest? Back up your recommendations with strong arguments. Provide a one or two page executive summary of your recommendations.

After reading Chapter 4 in the textbook, the student should be able to:
1. Understand the evolution of the U.S. federal system of government.
2. Comprehend the dynamic structure of U.S. intergovernmental relations:

a. Dual Federalism

b. Cooperative Federalism

c. Creative Federalism

d. New Federalism

e. New New Federalism

3. Make connections to the various types of intergovernmental management:

a. Picket Fence Federalism

b. Councils of Government (COGs)

c. Costs of Compliance

4. Discern the many ways in which fiscal federalism works.
5. Know what the “devolution revolution” means and how it came about.
6. Define key terms at the bottom of the pages and at the end of the chapter.
7. Write critical essays on topics covered in the chapter.

I. The Evolution of the U.S. Federal System: The United States was originally a loose confederation of independent states that delegated powers on selected issues to a central government. By its very nature, this kind of central government is inherently weak and has few independent powers. The Constitutional Convention of 1787 was assembled to address the inadequacies of the system. In 1789 the United States provided itself with a Constitution which has been continuously in force since then. A true federal system, such as ours, is one that has a written constitution that divides government between the central government and constituent subnational governments,

assigning powers to each. Such powers cannot be changed unilaterally or by ordinary processes of legislation. Today we see three main categories of governments around the world: 1) Unitary governments, such as the United Kingdom, 2) Federal governments, such as ours, and 3) Confederations, such as the European Community, a commonwealth of sovereign states. There are advantages and disadvantages to each.
II. The Dynamic Structure of Intergovernmental Relations: Intergovernmental relations are like a marble cake, with the levels of government intermingled within each other. The relationships have evolved over the years via various understandings of the term “federalism.” a. Dual Federalism: this configuration no longer exists; however, in the last century, branches of government could, and did, pretend that they were functionally separate and working independently, but not against each other. b. Cooperative Federalism: As its name suggests, this is a more collaborative relationship between federal and state governments. Cooperative federalism also has an interstate dimension, as participatory programs were undertaken among several states and the federal government—such as prisoner extraditions, parks and wildlife activities, etc. c. Creative Federalism: This came about in President Johnson’s vision for the Great Society of integrating the poor into mainstream America through programs such as Head Start, whereby the federal government gave direct grants to local governments, bypassing the state entirely. However, the notion that all wisdom rested at the federal level angered many states. d. New Federalism: President Nixon attempted to return autonomy to the states that was taken away in prior eras. Yet at the same time, President Nixon hoped to retain a strong national government. e. New New Federalism was about revenue-sharing—to arrest the rising fiscal burdens of many state and local governments, to help offset the fiscal imbalances between states, and to use the accumulated budget surpluses. When budgets became tighter and deficits increased, the policy was curtailed. Because of this curtailment of federal funding, the subnational governments had no choice but to cut back and to simultaneously try their hands at new ways to cut budgets, enhance, or save money by privatization, outsourcing, etc. The reinventing government movement stems from this. In 1994 the “Republican Revolution” came along with yet another spin on the notion that Washington ought to do less and states ought to do more—a concept called devolution.

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