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Comment: Disciplining public management research

Comment: Disciplining public management research Public management as an applied, problem-oriented field will always, and should always, wrestle with the exquisite tension between theory and practice. Researchers in public management should improve their ability to draw selectively and wisely, from a variety of disciplines, those analytic frameworks with explanatory power, sound empirical evidence, and practical value for managers. Laurence Lynn argues persuasively that public management can neither flourish as a research program nor fulfill its claim to educate analytically oriented managers without greater theoretical and methodological rigor. In support of Lynn’s basic argument, this comment extends his description of current economic models of organization and illuminates some of their weaknesses. By way of introducing alternative approaches, I briefly summarize two theoretical perspectives of potentially great utility to public management, the new institutionalism and network approaches to organizations. Both focus explicitly upon institutional arrangements and the interrelationship between managerial action and institutional relationships and structures. I then outline the argument that the normative conception of public management developed by Mark Moore contains the basic elements upon which to build a theory-based, methodologically sound research program, which can integrate concern with strategic managerial action and institutional arrangements and designs. CRITIQUES OF RATIONAL CHOICE MODELS It http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Policy Analysis and Management Wiley

Comment: Disciplining public management research

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References (19)

Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Copyright © 1994 Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management
ISSN
0276-8739
eISSN
1520-6688
DOI
10.2307/3325012
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Public management as an applied, problem-oriented field will always, and should always, wrestle with the exquisite tension between theory and practice. Researchers in public management should improve their ability to draw selectively and wisely, from a variety of disciplines, those analytic frameworks with explanatory power, sound empirical evidence, and practical value for managers. Laurence Lynn argues persuasively that public management can neither flourish as a research program nor fulfill its claim to educate analytically oriented managers without greater theoretical and methodological rigor. In support of Lynn’s basic argument, this comment extends his description of current economic models of organization and illuminates some of their weaknesses. By way of introducing alternative approaches, I briefly summarize two theoretical perspectives of potentially great utility to public management, the new institutionalism and network approaches to organizations. Both focus explicitly upon institutional arrangements and the interrelationship between managerial action and institutional relationships and structures. I then outline the argument that the normative conception of public management developed by Mark Moore contains the basic elements upon which to build a theory-based, methodologically sound research program, which can integrate concern with strategic managerial action and institutional arrangements and designs. CRITIQUES OF RATIONAL CHOICE MODELS It

Journal

Journal of Policy Analysis and ManagementWiley

Published: Mar 1, 1994

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