Managing in the public sector can be characterized as “managing on the edges”, between politics and administration and between administration and operations, as well as between external pressures and internal processes. Interestingly, this seems to come out most sharply, not in the upper offices of the capital, but down on the ground, where conflicting parties do direct battle with each other. But as these battles escalate, and enter the abstractions of administration as well as the peculiarities of politics, management gets caught in the middle. Describes three days in succession in the working lives of three managers of Parks Canada who sit in hierarchical order: a regional director, a park superintendent, and a park warden for the front country. Describes and compares their activities, in terms of a comprehensive model of the manager’s job, and concludes with a model of managing on the edges.
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