Modeling the impact of public management: Implications of structural context

Kenneth J. Meier, Laurence J. O'Toole

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Management theory suggests that management matters in public organizations-its impact is conditional on structure and often nonlinear in form. This article distills much of the theoretical work on management in public organizations into a formal, testable model. Management is presented as more crucial in networks than in more structured hierarchies. Management influences organization performance by 1) creating structure for the organization and thus system stability, 2) buffering the organization from environmental influences, and 3) exploiting opportunities in the environment. Decisions about which of these actions to take are at the core of strategic management. This article is the first step in a full model of managerial action in public organizations.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)505-526
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of public administration research and theory
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1999


  • METIS-100228
  • IR-1701

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