Goals, Communication, Participation and Feedback: Mid-level Management and Traditional Public Administration

47 Pages Posted: 15 Jul 2012 Last revised: 10 Aug 2012

See all articles by Nathan Favero

Nathan Favero

American University - School of Public Affairs

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

Date Written: August 9, 2012

Abstract

Much recent work in the study of public administration has emphasized new challenges, and relatively unusual aspects of management, such as managerial networking and interorganizational collaboration, cross-sectoral partnerships, the centrality of information technology in contemporary management, and the potential importance of such ideas as the “New Public Management.” However, it is likely that the core features of traditional public administration play a crucial role, particularly regarding the delivery of performance: the ability of public organizations to produce outputs and outcomes effectively. The most venerable of these aspects of public management have to do with “internal” management: mobilizing people and other resources within the organization to accomplish public goals. Many aspects of internal management can be considered; we focus here on a cluster of key management items usually associated with public human resources management: managers’ establishing credible commitment (including building trust), setting ambitious goals, encouraging employee participation, and providing feedback. We examine the relationship between such internal management at the mid-level, as perceived by subordinates rather than the managers themselves, and educational performance for more than 1100 schools in the New York City school system, the largest such system in the United States, over a three-year period. The results indicate that internal management matters, often sizably, for delivering educational outcomes. The findings are robust to autoregressive specifications and the purging of halo effects, and they hold across multiple performance measures. Managers’ setting ambitious goals appears to be especially important in generating educational results.

Suggested Citation

Favero, Nathan and Meier, Kenneth J. and O'Toole, Laurence J., Goals, Communication, Participation and Feedback: Mid-level Management and Traditional Public Administration (August 9, 2012). APSA 2012 Annual Meeting Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2107339

Nathan Favero

American University - School of Public Affairs ( email )

Washington, DC 20016
United States

Kenneth J. Meier

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 (Contact Author)

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

Athens, GA 30602
United States

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