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The New Public Service: Serving, not Steering - Book Report/Review Example

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The New Public Service: Serving, not Steering

Their renewed commitment to public interest has helped them find enhanced value for their service and earn more dignity and respect for themselves. They have also realized how much they can accomplish by "listening to" and not "telling" the public and by "serving" and not "steering" the public. As a result, the public servants have inspired the public so much so that common problems are being addressed and resolved by the common public as well as the public servants through mutual cooperation. The authors call this new attitude and new involvement in public administration along with the renewed commitment towards public interest as the new revolution called the New Public Service. The book stresses the importance of societal value in the work of public servants, wherein lies the soul of public administration. Public servants are responsible for improving public health, maintaining pubic safety, enhancing environmental quality, etc. which ultimately amounts to enhancing and maintaining good, quality life for all.
The traditional approach to public administration is referred to in this book as the Old Public Administration. The authors throw light on several approaches to the Old Public Administration. ...
This approach differentiated between politics and administration, which associated accountability to elected leaders and assured efficiency of the administrators. This also necessitated creating structures and strategies. In this context, the authors point out the difficulty in distinguishing between politics and administration in all settings. The creation of hierarchical structures was based on several schools of thought, mainly related to management, developed by theorists like Frederick Taylor, Luther Gulick, Leonard White and W. F. Willoughby. While Taylor's scientific management was based on time and motion studies, Gulick's theory focused on POSDCORB (planning, organizing, staffing, directing, coordinating, reporting and budgeting). White and Willoughby, however, stressed the importance of creating organizational structures marked by unity of command, hierarchical authority and strict division of labor. The authors draw the readers' attention to the criticisms against these approaches by many, including Marshall Dimock, who referred to its mechanical efficiency as "coldly calculating and inhuman." He stressed the need for successful public administration to be warm, vibrant and human. Justice, liberty, freedom and equality are other issues that were noted to be of equal, if not more, importance than efficiency in public administration. The authors, additionally, educate the readers on the various models of public administration developed over the years. Herbert Simon's approach to public administration, the rational model, is based on the concept of rationality. Simon propounded the theory that rationality is concerned with coordinating the right means to achieve the desired ends. In this view, ...Show more

Summary

Janet Denhardt and Robert Denhardt have identified two main objectives for writing this book, namely, synthesizing the voices summoning the reassertion of democratic values, citizenship and service in the public interest as bases for public administration and, secondly, challenging the readers to rethink and redefine the values and importance of public service, and the reasons for and the ways of doing it…
Author : homenickjasper
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