Citizen, Customer, Partner: Engaging the Public in Public Management / Edition 2

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For almost half a century, scholars and practitioners have debated what the connections should be between public administration and the public. Does the public serve principally as citizen-owners, those to whom administrators are responsible? Are members of the public more appropriately viewed as the customers of government? Or, in an increasingly networked world, do they serve more as the partners of public administrators in the production of public services?

Citizen, Customer, Partner proposes that the public comes to government not principally in one role but in all three roles, as citizens and customers and partners. With this comprehensive perspective, the book helps students, practitioners, and scholars understand when and how the public should be integrated into the practice of public administration.

Most chapters include multiple boxed cases that illustrate the chapter's content with real-world examples. The book concludes with an extremely useful Appendix that collects and summarizes the author's forty Design Principles-specific advice for public organizations on working with the public as customers, partners, and citizens.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Thomas's book makes an important, practice-oriented contribution to the literature on civic engagement, public management, and public policy decisions and implementation. Thomas has offered practitioners and scholars of public policy and administration an opportunity to revisit the current forms and dilemmas of public involvement and provided them with practical, insightful advice to overcome the dilemmas. It is highly recommended for anyone interested in the theory and practice of public management and public involvement." — American Review of Public Administration

"The strengths of the book are wide and deep. Thomas provides a solid scholarship base. The book's structure works well for his audience. The cases are excellent. The result allows for practical use by managers in several ways described later in this review. ... Thomas has done a service by revisiting the cacophony of how citizens ask, demand, complain, work together, and shape their governments. He is well placed to continue the analysis and synthesis of public participation and provide guidance for public managers for today's new forms of engagement." — Public Administration Review

"This new book on public engagement's material importance grabs you, and its generic sense of the field-its dailyness, its proximity, whether you are an academic paid to pay attention, or a layperson nursing an opinion about potholes and school district budgets-appeals to multiple audiences. ... This book is a valuable contribution to the political science and public administration literature; the architecture of public engagement right there in a single volume." — State and Local Government Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765627216
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 3/15/2012
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 1,312,985
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

With three books and more than fifty articles in print, John Clayton Thomas is known internationally for his research on various aspects of public management and public policy. Much of that research focuses on how citizens connect with their governments and how those connections can be improved – for instance, how citizens interact with governments through the medium of "e-governance" and how citizen input can be incorporated in performance measurement. Dr. Thomas's research has appeared in Public Administration Review, the Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Administration & Society, Urban Affairs Review, and the Journal of Urban Affairs, among other journals. He also serves as one of three Editors of the American Review of Public Administration, one of the elite journals in public administration.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

Part I Introduction 1

1 Citizen, Customer, Partner, and Public Management 3

The Public's Three Primary Roles 4

Purpose and Plan of the Book 12

2 The Changing Place of the Public in Public Management 14

Politics and Administration: Contrasting Perspectives 14

Three Waves of Change 19

Citizen, Customer, Partner: Three Essential Roles 28

Part II The Public as Customer 31

3 Providing Customer Service in Public Service 33

A High-Volume Activity 34

Is It a Mistake to View the Public as Customers? 35

Providing Good "Customer Service" 38

Government's Unique Customer Service Challenge: Whom to Contact and How 43

The Promise of New Technologies 46

The Benefits of Better Customer Service 57

4 Learning About the Public's Needs 60

The Value of Information from Government's Customers 60

Citizen Contacts and Customer Relationship Management Systems 61

Citizen, Customer, and Stakeholder Surveys 66

Focus Groups 76

Management by Getting Around 80

The Value and Challenges of Better Information on Customers 81

Part III The Public as Partner 83

5 Coproducing Public Services and Public Value 85

An Overview of Coproduction and Partnering 86

The Range of Coproduction: A Sampler 91

Why Coproduction and Why Now? 96

Benefits, Costs, and Limitations 99

The Limits and Potential of Coproduction 101

6 Managing for Coproduction 102

Change the Outlook of Public Managers 102

Simplify the Task 103

Enhance the Abilities of the Public 106

Provide Incentives for the Public to Contribute 106

Use Sanctions as a Last Resort 112

Toward Expanded Coproduction 113

Part IV The Public as Citizen 117

7 When Is Public Involvement Desirable? 119

The Evolution of Public Involvement 120

The Debate over Public Involvement 121

Assessing the Need for Involvement 126

Getting Out Front on Issues 134

Structuring a Supportive Decision-Making Framework 137

Entering the World of Public Involvement 141

8 Engaging Representative Participation and Reaching Effective Decisions 144

The Dilemma of Representative Participation 144

Defining the Relevant Public 146

Achieving Open Dialogue and Effective Resolution 158

The Promise of Public Involvement 164

9 Techniques for Involving the Public in Decision Making 168

Public Comment Periods 168

Public Meetings 173

Citizens' Advisory Committees 179

Public Deliberation 185

An Expanding Array of Options 190

Part V Conclusions 195

10 Implications for Public Managers, the Public, and Democracy 197

Working with the Public: A Summary Architecture 197

When Roles Overlap: The Public as Citizen, Customer, and Partner 201

A Need for New Skils 207

A New View of Citizenship 208

A Threat to the Public Interest? 210

Citizen, Customer, Partner, and Democracy 212

Appendix. The Design Principles: Guidelines for Working with the Public 215

Principles for Working with the Public as Customers 215

Principles for Working with the Public as Partners 216

Principles for Working with the Public as Citizens 216

References 219

Index 235

About the Author 243

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