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Ventures in public value management: introduction to the symposium

Bozeman Bozeman, B. In this line of inquiry, public values pertain not to substantive issues, but to good governance criteria like integrity, openness, participation, lawfulness and professionalism Beck Jorgensen and Sorensen Beck Jorgensen, T. Huberts , and R. The distinctiveness, plurality and heterogeneity of public values as opposed to, e.

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They build their own frameworks for public management explicitly around the tensions between different types of public values Meynhardt Meynhardt, T. Some scholars see PVM not as an aggregate but as tackling discrete problems that emerge from the task environment, each with standards relevant to its own context and conjuring up different mixes of values and standards Alford and Hughes Alford, J. Moore himself eschews discussing competing value approaches explicitly in RPV , instead introducing the construct of the public value account as a pragmatic yet systematic way of dealing with the inevitable multi-dimensionality of the public value concept.

The Moore and Bozeman frameworks overlap at certain points, and diverge at others for a useful comparison, see Bryson, Crosby, and Bloomberg Bryson, J. They are designed to serve different purposes, and neither has been well served by a tendency of some scholars to conflate them e. West and Davis West, K.


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Public Administration 89 2 : — Notwithstanding the growing recognition and momentum, the PVM approach continues to evoke questions and debates Bryson, Crosby, and Bloomberg Bryson, J. Here we set out the critiques and responses from public value scholars. Probably the longest-running aspect of the debate concerns the extent to which the public value framework does and should entail public managers trespassing on the legitimate territory of the elected politician.

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This is a vital issue, since it affects some of the primary tasks of the manager — namely, finding out what is of value to the public, crystallizing that into a coherent mandate, and securing legitimacy for it. The traditional orthodoxy is that this has mainly occurred through the formal structures and processes of government in which citizens elect governments, which lay down policies and budgets for the public service who administer them.

Moore Moore, M. In response, critics accuse the public value school of usurping the prerogatives of democratically elected politicians, setting themselves up as the Platonic guardians of the public interest Rhodes and Wanna Rhodes, R. This, of course, is seen as undemocratic and therefore illegitimate. Bureaucrats and Politicians in Western Democracies. Agendas, Alternatives, and Public Policies. Boston : Little, Brown. Critical Perspectives and Future Directions , edited by S. Osborne , 36 — London : Routledge. One potential reason for this disjuncture is offered by Peters Peters, B.

But available research shows that for many managers, when they do breach the dichotomy, at least part of the reason is a commitment — or at least a felt obligation — to serving the public. They indicate that they have to engage in processes such as dealing with stakeholders, brokering compromises, and building alliances, simply in order to realize their mandated responsibilities Hartley et al.

Alford , O. Hughes , and S. In other words, many of them take the view that while there is legitimacy attached to respecting the dichotomy, they are also expected to achieve politically directed mandates. The issue then becomes one for managers of weighing up the two values: how far should they push into the political domain while maintaining a net benefit for the public? Public servants can be more or less active in seeking to learn what the public wants from government and its processes. They can do so at different times in the policy process and the electoral cycle, in different forums within or outside the executive branch and in different manners speaking, listening, soliciting.

In this context, the public manager is the loyal servant of the elected government, who responds to political requests for expert advice, waits for policies to be formulated and handed over by politicians in one form or another, and works to implement them. At the more proactive Moore-inspired PVM end, public managers may also put issues onto the agenda, work actively with ministers and legislators to get them to adopt particular positions, and make strategic calls when political imperatives remain ambiguous or absent and yet action on an issue has to be taken.

Where along this spectrum managers sit empirically — and ought to sit normatively — are not simple questions to answer. The answers to both depend on institutional and contextual factors and cultural practices which vary across time and space: constitutional norms of political and administrative systems, the beliefs and traditions shaping public service cultures at the level of agencies and policy sectors, the nature of the issues governments have to deal with, patterns of relationships between political and public service elites Patapan, Wanna, and Weller Patapan, H.

Wanna , and P. Weller , Eds. Weller , and J. Comparing Westminster. The State as Cultural Practice.

Irvine : Melvin and Leigh. The work of organizing political deliberation could be seen as largely the domain of politicians and their political advisers. In other words, exercising public leadership by using the power to convene. Leadership Without Easy Answers. Of course, such developments reach way beyond how we normally think of people behaving and interacting in society.

The Public and Its Problems. New York : Holt. They tend to possess skills sets that are impressive in their depth and width: they are excellent analysts, effective communicators, smart coalition-builders, creative innovators and courageous reformers. There are such people, plenty of them, at all levels in the public service Riccucci Riccucci, N. But in the messy world of governance, there are also many more players that are not quite of the same ilk or blessed with the same level of competence.

There is room for debate about whether public value analysis takes proper account of managers who are self-interested, ill-motivated, cynical, partisan, bureau-shaping, risk-avoiding, accountability-shunting, power-seeking, heretic Riker Riker, W. The Art of Political Manipulation. New Haven : Yale University Press. Or simply that there are officials who may not share the sense of urgency about the issue that the main character takes for granted, and thus are less likely to engage with the problem to be solved than she is.


  • Ventures in public value management: introduction to the symposium.
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  • Everyday Life in British Government. How to Run a Government. London : Penguin. Note that if there is such a problem with public managers, it exists not only for proponents of the Weberian—Wilsonian perspective on the interface between politics and the public service, but even more so for PVM theorists who urge public managers to play a greater role in defining purposes and mobilizing support than many in the field are comfortable with.

    One observation that can be made here is that this may be of no concern, as the triangle is a prescriptive tool and not an empirical theory.

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    Ports in a Storm

    But even then, how realistic does that make public value governance as a guide to action, let alone to understanding the observable patterns and pathologies of public administration? At the very least, the value-creating strategic manager needs to appreciate the variability of imagination, capability, commitment and high-mindedness among stakeholders, as she seeks to align parties in their authorizing and task environments, without which she may well stumble.

    A key future challenge for public value scholars as well as proponents of Denhardt and Denhardt Denhardt, J. Armonk : ME Sharpe. Theory and Practice , eds J.

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    Benington and M. This is most evident in the notion of the authorizing environment, the analysis of which can call for hard-headed realism about players, their interests and power. Certainly a rigorous and subtle application of this kind of analysis should inform strategic calculations. In particular they are said to mainly concern issues about which there is a reasonable consensus as to what is valuable, as well as a relatively non-contentious political environments well as a relatively benign political environment, not instances of wicked problems, intractable policy controversies Schon and Rein Schon, D.

    New York : Basic Books. Everyone seems to agree that garbage should be cleared away efficiently and in an ecologically sustainable fashion; that air pollution should be tackled by a joint effort between government, the community and business; and that the police should seek less aggressive but still effective ways of dealing with crime. On this basis, they argue, more daunting tests of the PVM framework are needed. An alternative framing might delve into more complex realities under the surface of these cases.


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    • For instance, while the joint tackling of air pollution is rhetorically acceptable, the harder issues of cutting back carbon consumption are more controversial. While most would disapprove of police brutality towards minorities, difficult cultural factors impede efforts to curb it — as recent events in the USA and in Europe have shown.

      And running a programme to bring profoundly disadvantaged people into work and social interaction is among the most complex activities in society. Two telling examples among others where this complexity is explicitly addressed are: 1 the chapter in RPV on child protection — one of the most difficult areas of government activity Moore Moore, M. This is therefore a contentious but potentially useful point that should be the subject of experimentation and investigation. There needs to be an analysis of situations where the protagonists are antipathetic or even antagonistic to the cause or service in question, and whether the model remains useful for them even in that context.

      Moore , A. Cederquist , R. Ronning , and M. Public Management Review. One of the perennial arguments in public management and administration more generally is the extent to which managing in the public and private sector is different, and therefore how feasible it is to introduce private sector techniques into government organizations. In this vein, some of the critiques of the public value framework question its public sector bona fides. HBS Home. Business and Environment Business History Entrepreneurship. Finance Globalization Health Care. Technology and Innovation. Finance General Management Marketing.

      Technology and Operations Management. Print Email. Format: Print Find at Harvard. Citation: Leonard, Herman B.

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