Making Public Management a Design-Oriented Science

26 Pages Posted: 9 Apr 2007

See all articles by Michael Barzelay

Michael Barzelay

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Management

Fred Thompson

Willamette University - Atkinson Graduate School of Management

Date Written: April 3, 2007

Abstract

An age-old issue is how inquiry and action can reciprocally contribute to transforming existing into preferred conditions. Leading scholars of a recent generation repeatedly addressed this general issue in human affairs. Herbert Simon's major proposal was to develop design-oriented sciences or, equivalently, sciences of the artificial. In public management, the take-up of this proposal has been patchy. In this essay, we identify a recent attempt to construct foundations of a design-oriented science for public management, focusing on work by Eugene Bardach. In order to perceive its significance, we place Bardach's design-oriented approach within the compass of Simon's "sciences of the artificial" as well as other recent attempts to achieve intellectual control over practical thinking and action about public management. Finally, we catalogue unfinished business that must be completed for Bardach's design-oriented approach to achieve acceptance and reach.

Keywords: Herbert Simon, Eugene Bardach, relational mechanisms, mechanism design, processes. narrative positivism, practice, evidence-based management

JEL Classification: B40, D23, D73

Suggested Citation

Barzelay, Michael and Thompson, Fred, Making Public Management a Design-Oriented Science (April 3, 2007). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=979041 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.979041

Michael Barzelay

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Management ( email )

United Kingdom

Fred Thompson (Contact Author)

Willamette University - Atkinson Graduate School of Management ( email )

900 State Street
Salem, OR 97301
United States
503-370-6228 (Phone)
503-370-3011 (Fax)

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