Public administration in a democracy has to achieve a delicate balance. Bureaucracy must be powerful enough to be effective, yet accountable to elected officials and, ultimately, to the people. How is that best accomplished? Kettl and Fesler understand that the push and pull of political forces make the functions of bureaucracy ever more contentious, but no less central to governance.
In a long-awaited and widely anticipated revision, the authors continue to answer the challenging questions that drive the study of public administration: What is the nature and purpose of bureaucracy? How do public organizations work and why do they behave the way they do? How are administrative decisions actually made? Always keeping students--our future professionals and managers--in mind, Kettl and Fesler convey the political and management realities of public organizations through vivid example, and with humility and humor.
Core topics receive strong analytic coverage, including personnel management and leadership issues at all levels of public organizations. Implementation is at center-stage, with a focus on program assessment, contracting, and intergovernmental relations, while the ramifications of budget making and appropriations are also covered in depth. As well, readers can rely on the authors for the ins and outs of regulatory procedures and the appraisals of various decision-making strategies.
The third edition not only incorporates new and important scholarship, but assesses changes to actual practices that have occurred at all levels of government in recent years. With current, real-world examples drawn from local, state, and federal agencies and organizations, the authors address such hot-button issues as:
New Photos and Graphics!
- Strategies for administrative reform and new ways to respond to the public will;
- Administrative ethics and accountability within the American constitutional system;
- New challenges for governmental oversight;
- And the modeling of public administration on business practices.
Throughout the book, more than fifty new tables and figures elegantly display data and important concepts while new, carefully selected photos enliven the book's redesign and usefully supplement textual material. End-of-chapter materials enable student research with lists of key terms, suggested reading lists, and annotated web links.
Brand new to this edition is the Case Appendix at the end of the book featuring fourteen cases--one for each chapter--that get students to apply ideas and analysis from the book to real situations affecting real people with real consequences for governance. Authored by Donald Kettl and 3-4 pages long, each case emphasizes the people and the politics that are at the front lines of public administration at the local, state, and federal levels. Cases include:
- The Vioxx recall and its implications for legislative oversight;
- New source review environmental regulations and the political and legal debates surrounding the Bush administration's changes;
- Taser gun implementation by police forces and the problems of subjective discretion and potential misuse;
- Intelligence failures brought to light by 9/11 and the deep organizational problems facing the nation's intelligence and homeland security agencies;
- Philadelphia's mass transit system and the politics of budgeting;
- The recent flu vaccine shortage and the intergovernmental and international dynamics at play in that debacle;
- And Florida hurricane disaster relief and reform at FEMA.
Each case is narrated in the engaging, journalistic style familiar to readers of Kettl's articles in Governing.
Useful discussion questions at the end of each case help shape student responses and in-class conversation.