The purpose of this paper is to determine the overarching lessons to be gleaned from 30 years of public management literature.
The methodology was simple: review the professional literature generated during that time period.
Despite important contributions to our understanding of everything from bureaucratic motivation, public budgeting processes, the promises and pitfalls of contracting out and identification of the skills needed to be an effective public manager, to the scientific arcana of sustainability and the respective responsibilities of public administrators and elected officials, the profession would benefit greatly from more sustained emphasis upon the history and philosophy of the constitutional choices made by those who framed America’s original approach to governance.
The lack of a common understanding of America’s legal culture, or even a common vocabulary for exploring our differences poses immense challenges to public administrators, whose effectiveness requires a widely shared, if necessarily superficial, agreement on the purposes of America’s governing institutions and an ability to recognize the bases of government legitimacy. In the past 30 years, however, literature that addresses the important connections between constitutional theory and management practice, between the rule of law and the exercise of public power and discretion, has been all too rare. Let us hope that the next 30 years corrects that deficiency.
Kennedy, S.S. (2017), "Thirty years of public management scholarship: plenty of “how,” not enough “why”", International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 30 No. 6-7, pp. 566-574. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJPSM-04-2017-0111Download as .RIS
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