The Effective Public Manager

Achieving Success in a Changing Government

by Steven A. Cohen , Tanya Heikkila , William B. Eimicke

Number of pages: 416

Publisher: Jossey-Bass

BBB Library: Personal Success, Operations Management, Politics and Public Affairs

ISBN: 978-0470282441

About the Authors

Steven A. Cohen : Cohen is an American investor, hedge fund manager, and philanthropist. He


Tanya Heikkila : Dr. Heikkila is also the director of MPA concentration in Environmental


William B. Eimicke : He is the director of the Picker Center for Executive Education


Editorial Review

The Effective Public Manager offers public administrators and students a classic resource and a highly-accessible guide to the fundamentals of leading and managing public organizations. The authors cover the key areas of the field and present in-depth analysis through the strategic use of fresh case studies and real-world examples. The book is designed to give real-world managers and aspiring managers the information and tools needed to meet the demands of their jobs directly rather than working around the constraints of government. The Effective Public Manager offers a proven approach to implementing efficient management tools in a dynamic political, organizational, economic, and technological context.

Book Reviews

“The book is of great value to the public manager and public administration students. It is so largely because all the subject matter has to do with public administration and it could be put into practical use on the condition that the subject matter should be applied in such a way that the socio-cultural contexts of the society are also taken into account” Dr. Satit Niyomyaht

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Wisdom to Share

One of the biggest problems public managers face is their lack of control over goal setting. In the private sector, a board of direction is often controlled by, or closely related to, an organization's managers. But in the public sector, the ''boards of directors'' are elected legislatures and executives usually more concerned with their political health than organizational performance.

Fortunately for the public manager, the interests of elected leaders are sometimes served by allowing public agencies to perform effectively. Unfortunately for the public manager, political interests are difficult to project and frequently change with little warning.

Since political interests determine the goals of public organizations, public managers often face shifting priorities. The most effective public managers are those who learn to adjust programs rapidly to reflect changed priorities.

Effective public managers learn to anticipate changes in policy direction and build agile organizations capable of rapid redirection.

Give up on the idea of controlling your organization. You should strive to influence rather than control. Human beings are not machines and ultimately are not controllable. They can be motivated and influenced.

Instead of deriving a ''correct'' organizational structure from pseudoscientific principles, we can judge a structure in terms of its appropriateness of match to an organization's unique needs.

Management involves getting extraordinary effort out of ordinary people.

Managers seeking to implement innovative programs must be imaginative in selecting and nurturing staff expertise.

The process of judging performance is a central and ongoing function of management. If you do not have an intuitive feel for your staff's strengths and weaknesses, you are not paying enough attention to managing the work of your staff.

The best managers are those who understand their organization's environment. They are able to project the effect that their actions will have on that environment. They also have keen understanding of how this outside force constrains and influences their organization's activities.

Effective managers are constantly identifying program areas to move into, resources that might become available, and potential sources of political support. They have, at least implicitly, a set of long-term objectives and continually search for new ways to reach those objectives.

Embedded in the definition of effectiveness is the key concept of entrepreneurship. In order to pursue your agenda aggressively, you must design a course of action that allows you to avert bureaucratic obstacles. Therefore, effective public management must be entrepreneurial public management.

An effective entrepreneurial public manager is a person who organizes and manages a public undertaking, assuming risk for the sake of organizational gain.