|About the Book|
Balk argues that most professionals in government agencies are underutilized. He proposes an operational approach, called public agency democracy, that should help reduce costly and disconcerting errors. The book will interest those who wish toMoreBalk argues that most professionals in government agencies are underutilized. He proposes an operational approach, called public agency democracy, that should help reduce costly and disconcerting errors. The book will interest those who wish to better understand the frustrations of public service and how to turn these to motivate change.Well over two million very qualified individuals mediate between high-level managers and other members of public agencies. These grossly underutilized intermediary professionals must become more empowered to reduce waste, malfeasance and other costly errors. Balk proposes an applied theory of public agency democracy designed to liberate the potential of its highly trained experts.The book begins by discussing professionals as power intermediaries and their necessary tensions with authority around matters of reform. Recognized dilemmas in the field of public administration are reviewed to demonstrate the need to resolve issues concerning public agency democracy. A model is then developed to incorporate democratic action with responses ranging from routine to whistle-blowing activities. The second part of the book shows why existing management orientations are not receptive to the need for agency democracy. Conventional orientations reject the paradoxical realities of government environments- therefore, ingrained beliefs about effectiveness and management authority are at times inappropriate. Management approaches to public service motivation lack sophistication. Four final chapters are devoted to techniques and approaches on the part of professionals to initiate change. These involve techniques to assess organizational predicaments, design resolutions and become constructively involved in processes of agency reform. Ways are proposed for professionals and others to institutionalize public agency democracy in government environments.