Government Performance: Why Management Matters / Edition 1

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Scholars and practitioners of public management have stressed the importance of such varied concepts as efficiency, process, systems, and capacity as key to running effective government programs. While acknowledging the usefulness of each of these criteria, the authors of Government Performance argue that one quality above all is crucial to the overall performance of government: effective management. Examining government performance at the federal, state, and local levels, the authors present analyses of public management systems in all fifty states, the thirty-five largest cities, forty large counties, and a number of federal agencies. They examine systems for financial management, human resources management, information technology management, capital management, and systems for managing results. While acknowledging the political context of all public administration systems, they argue that effective management of these systems nevertheless provides the key to good government performance.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory - Sandford Borins

An ambitious and well-publicized attempt to define criteria for measuring government performance... Well argued and rich in material.

Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory
An ambitious and well-publicized attempt to define criteria for measuring government performance... Well argued and rich in material.

— Sandford Borins

International Review of Administrative Sciences

The authors of this volume argue that one quality above all is crucial to the overall performance of government: effective management.


This slim volume, a seminal study, provides a positive picture of public managers eager to learn and to create management capacity, which is posited as the key to governmental performance... A must read for students of public management.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Patricia W. Ingraham is Distinguished Professor of Public Administration in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. Philip G. Joyce is an associate professor of public administration at the George Washington University. Amy Kneedler Donahue is an assistant professor of public administration and political science at the University of Connecticut.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents


1. Management, Capacity, and Performance

2. Dissecting Management

3. Assessing Management

4. Research Methodology

5. State and Local Findings

6. Federal Results

7. The Big Lessons

8. Next Steps

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Reading Group Guide

Taking the ambitious and unique approach of using empirical analysis to identify the key linkages between public management and effective policy performance, this book offers students a larger and more reliable set of empirical guideposts and prescriptions than have ever before been available. This is a bold project that goes beyond any earlier effort to define and measure the qualities of government that yield effective public policy, and there is much for all of us to learn here.
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