PMRA Insights

PMRA Insights is an occasional blog from scholars of the Public Management Research Association on issues relating to the study and practice of public management. If you would like to contribute, please contact Ines Mergel at ines.mergel@uni-konstanz.de.


28 April 2017 | The Role of the Pubic Administrators and Some Implications to Our Programs, By Stuart Bretschneider*

Recent efforts by the new administration to change a wide variety of policies and programs has led me to look back at how our field has thought about the role of the public administrator.  Much of the current thinking on this is still rooted in the work by political scientists from the 1940s and 1950s.  […]

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23 March 2017 | Making a Difference in the Real World through Public Affairs Research, By Stephanie Moulton

In light of the recent election in the U.S. and reliance on “alternative facts”, it is easy to feel disheartened about our role as researchers– particularly researchers who care about issues that are often central to public debates.  This topic recently came up during one of our monthly fireside chats between faculty and doctoral students […]

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10 March 2017 | Expertise, Advice Seeking, and the President, By Michael Siciliano

Individuals across the organizational spectrum face complex work tasks and decisions that require them to reach out to others for information and advice.  An important question is: “Which individuals are sought for advice and why?” Particular sources of information influence the way in which we understand novel events and shape the criteria and options we […]

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February 2017 | Some Principles of Strategic Thinking, By John M. Bryson

For the next several months I’ll be concentrating on writing the fifth edition of Strategic Planning for Public and Nonprofit Organizations. (The current edition came out in 2011.) From the very first edition I have emphasized that strategic thinking, acting, and learning matter most, not any particular approach to strategic planning. Indeed, if public leaders […]

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January 2017 | Thinking about Undergraduate Education in Public Affairs, By Mary K. Feeney*

Public affairs programs across the country are developing undergraduate certificates, concentrations, minors, and majors in public administration, affairs, policy, and service. Some view this as an opportunity to expand programming and resources while, for others, it is another challenge in an environment of tightened budgets, expanded administration, and increased pressure to do more with less. […]

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December 2016 | Does Public Administration Want Diversity…Really? By Leisha DeHart Davis

Earlier this year, Dr. Marybeth Gasman of University of Pennsylvania wrote a Hechinger Report op-ed piece, where she argued that elite universities do not have diverse faculties because they do not want them. Her op-ed cited a litany of excuses used by the Ivies to exclude faculty of color, including low-quality scholarship and the absence […]

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November 2016 | The Past as Prologue: A Discussion with PMRA Founder H. George Frederickson, By Rosemary O’Leary*

As Vice-President and President-Elect of PMRA, I have spent the last year learning more about our thriving organization. I have been very impressed with the leadership of Don Moynihan, from whom I often receive official emails or documents at 1:00 in the morning. Don is a tireless leader who has given his all to PMRA […]

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October 2016 | Studying Networks Over Time, By H. Brinton Milward

One of the most frequently heard recommendations for network researchers from those who review interorganizational network papers for JPART and other top journals is “I wish you had studied this network over time.”  While this is sometimes possible based on finding detailed historical records (Padgett & Ansell, 1993) or we can occasionally replicate the study […]

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Public Administration Under Trump: An Age of Institutional Decline? By Don Moynihan

The unexpected victory of Donald Trump has upended all manner of enterprise, but is especially salient for those of us who study the workings of government. Public administration can be seen as the study of people, organizations, and institutions. The institutions part of that formulation has become a good deal more important since the election. […]

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