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For the people : can we fix public service?

Author: John D Donahue; Joseph S Nye
Publisher: Cambridge, Mass. : Visions of Governance in the 21st Century ; Washington, D.C. : Brookings Institution Press, ©2003.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Publisher Fact Sheet

Harvard scholars examine the fractured state of public service and the prospects for fixing it. Situates public service at the heart of 21st-century governance challenges. Contributors include David Gergen, Barbara Kellerman, Pippa Norris, Stephen Goldsmith, and Derek Bok. Copublished with Visions of Governance in the 21st Century at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.


The stakes have seldom been higher for public service. Security concerns are surging to the foreground. New or neglected economic and social problems demand fresh thinking and deft action. Technology-driven improvements in the business sector raise citizens' expectations for performance. Government's capacity to deliver, meanwhile, too often falls short. The perception of government as bureaucratic and inflexible -- and the blunt reality of uncompetitive salaries -- can make talented people hesitate to take on public jobs. Many civic-minded young Americans opt reluctantly for business careers or turn to the nonprofit sector as a more appealing setting for doing good. Yet as John Adams advised his son, "public business must be done by someone." In our day, as Adams's, the urgency and complexity of much public business call for the talents of the very best. In this wide-ranging book, scholars from the Visions of Governance in the Twenty-First Century program at Harvard University examine what is broken in public service and how it can be fixed. Three interrelated long-term trends are changing the context of government in this century: "marketization," globalization, and the information revolution. These forces are acting to diffuse a degree of power, responsibility, and even legitimacy away from central governments. Public service in the era of distributed governance depends less on traditional aptitudes for direct administration and more on a subtler, sophisticated set of analytical and managerial skills. Those who labor for the people still need to discern public value through policy analysis and work the organizational machinery of government. But they must also be able to orchestratethe operations of far-flung networks involving a range of actors in different sectors. The authors argue that we are witnessing not the end of public service, but its evolution. While the evidence and arguments presented in.  Read more...


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Genre/Form: Aufsatzsammlung
Material Type: Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: John D Donahue; Joseph S Nye
ISBN: 0815718969 9780815718963 0815718977 9780815718970
OCLC Number: 51892686
Description: xii, 282 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Contents: Introduction / Joseph S. Nye, Jr. and John D. Donahue --
pt. 1. Diagnosis: what's wrong with public service today? Public leaders: riding a new tiger / David Gergen and Barbara Kellerman ; Wage structures and the sorting of workers into the public sector /George J. Borjas ; In-and-outers: up or down? / John D. Donahue ; Is there still a public service ethos? Work values, experience, and job satisfaction among government workers / Pippa Norris ; The good, the bad, and the unavoidable: improving the public service in poor countries / Merilee S. Grindle --
pt. 2. Desiderata: what should the future look like? The people factor: human resources reform in government / Linda J. Bilmes and Jeffrey R. Neal ; Public servants for twenty-first century government / Elaine Ciulla Kamarck ; Local problem solving: empowerment as a path to job satisfaction / Stephen Goldsmith ; Moral competence in the practice of democratic governance / Kenneth Winston --
pt. 3. Prescriptions: how do we get from here to there? Creating leadership capacity for the twenty-first century: not another technical fix / Robert D. Behn ; Education for public service in the history of the United States / Alexander Keyssar and Ernest R. May ; Does performance pay perform? Conditions for success in the public sector / Iris Bohnet and Susan C. Eaton ; Government personnel policy in comparative perspective / Derek Bok.
Responsibility: John D. Donahue, Joseph S. Nye, Jr., editors.
More information:


The stakes have seldom been higher for public service. Security concerns are surging to the foreground. New or neglected economic and social problems demand fresh thinking and deft action.  Read more...


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"For the People: Can We Fix Public Service? is an impressive collection of serious essays by a variety of learned authors who identify some of the most troublesome problems and flaws in public Read more...

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