Goals, communication, participation, and feedback: mid-level management and traditional public administration

Nathan Favero, Kenneth J. Meier, Laurence J. O'Toole

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


    Much recent work in the study of public administration has emphasized new challenges, and relatively unusual aspects of management, such as managerial networking and interorganizational collaboration, cross-sectoral partnerships, the centrality of information technology in contemporary management, and the potential importance of such ideas as the “New Public Management.” However, it is likely that the core features of traditional public administration play a crucial role, particularly regarding the delivery of performance: the ability of public organizations to produce outputs and outcomes effectively. The most venerable of these aspects of public management have to do with “internal” management: mobilizing people and other resources within the organization to accomplish public goals. Many aspects of internal management can be considered; we focus here on a cluster of key management items usually associated with public human resources management: managers’ establishing credible commitment (including building trust), setting ambitious goals, encouraging employee participation, and providing feedback. We examine the relationship between such internal management at the mid-level, as perceived by subordinates rather than the managers themselves, and educational performance for more than 1100 schools in the New York City school system, the largest such system in the United States, over a three-year period. The results indicate that internal management matters, often sizably, for delivering educational outcomes. The findings are robust to autoregressive specifications and the purging of halo effects, and they hold across multiple performance measures. Managers’ setting ambitious goals appears to be especially important in generating educational results.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages47
    Publication statusPublished - 30 Aug 2012
    Event108th Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association (APSA) 2012 - New Orleans, United States
    Duration: 30 Aug 20122 Sept 2012
    Conference number: 108


    Conference108th Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association (APSA) 2012
    Country/TerritoryUnited States
    CityNew Orleans

    Cite this