Governance and the Public Good

Posted: 5 Sep 2012

See all articles by Kevin Morrell

Kevin Morrell

University of Warwick - Warwick Business School

Date Written: September 5, 2009


The paper examines the control of power, using an account of the public good developed from Aristotle. It identifies three different perspectives on the relationship between governance (the control of power) and the public good: a ‘cybernetic’ perspective, an ‘axiological ’ perspective, and a perspective of ‘critique’. This framework offers a way to scrutinize the exercise of power, and to evaluate the linkages between a political administration and its citizenry. To evaluate an administration’s legacy, this framework suggests we should study: how an administration controls power over time; how an administration exhibits virtue; and how an administration creates conditions which enable its citizens to live the good life. Narrative theory is one basis for empirical development of this framework. This contributes to some long-standing debates in management, public administration, economics and political science. It also enables critical examination of a fashionable, though vague, term: ‘public value’.

Keywords: governance, public good, public value, macmillan, profumo, aristotle, narrative

Suggested Citation

Morrell, Kevin, Governance and the Public Good (September 5, 2009). Public Administration, Vol. 87, No. 3, pp. 538-556, 2009, Available at SSRN:

Kevin Morrell (Contact Author)

University of Warwick - Warwick Business School ( email )

Coventry CV4 7AL
United Kingdom

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