Strategic Management and the Performance of Public Organizations: Testing Venerable Ideas Against Recent Theories

Posted: 9 Jul 2008

See all articles by Kenneth J. Meier

Kenneth J. Meier

American University; Cardiff University; Leiden University - Institute of Public Administration

Laurence J. O'Toole

University of Georgia - Department of Public Administration and Policy

George Boyne

Cardiff University - Cardiff Business School

Date Written: July 2007

Abstract

Miles and Snow, among others, argue that strategy content is an important influence on organizational performance. Their typology, applied recently to public organizations in the United Kingdom, divides strategic actors into four general types: prospectors, defenders, analyzers, and reactors. This article begins by integrating work on strategy content or strategic management into the O'Toole-Meier formal theory of public management. This study shows that strategy content is a subset of generally accepted management functions in public organizations. The article then proceeds to test the strategic management concepts in a large, multiyear sample of public organizations. The results show that strategy can be separated out from other elements of management for a distinguishable assessment of its impact on organizational performance. Unlike the predictions of Miles and Snow and the empirical findings of Boyne and Walker, however, we find that the defender strategy is the most effective for the primary mission of the organization and that the prospector and reactor strategies work best in regard to the goals of the more politically powerful elements of the organization's environment.

Suggested Citation

Meier, Kenneth J. and O'Toole, Laurence J. and Boyne, George, Strategic Management and the Performance of Public Organizations: Testing Venerable Ideas Against Recent Theories (July 2007). Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Vol. 17, Issue 3, pp. 357-377, 2007. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1157232 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jopart/mul017

Kenneth J. Meier (Contact Author)

American University ( email )

4400 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20016
United States

Cardiff University ( email )

Aberconway Building
Colum Drive
Cardiff, Wales CF10 3EU
United Kingdom

Leiden University - Institute of Public Administration ( email )

P.O. Box 13228
Den Haag, 2501 EE
Netherlands

Laurence J. O'Toole

University of Georgia - Department of Public Administration and Policy ( email )

Athens, GA 30602
United States

George Boyne

Cardiff University - Cardiff Business School ( email )

Aberconway Building
Colum Drive
Cardiff, CF10 3EU
United Kingdom
+ 44 (0) 29 20 875572 (Phone)
+ 44 (0)29 20874419 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.cf.ac.uk/carbs/hrm/boyne.html

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