The contributors to this volume contend that the North American political system is undergoing a serious governmental crisis - political leaders know only how to campaign, not how to gain consensus on goals or direct a course that is to the good of the nation. Public administration is therefore forced to compensate for the growing inadequacy of the `leaders', and with a normative-based body of theorizing, perform its key role of governance within a democratic system of polycentric power. The book offers a revisualization of the relationship between public servants and the citizens they serve, and a continuing discourse on how public administration can constructively balance forces of change and stability in order for democr
Chapter 1: Introduction: Can a High-Modern Project Find Happiness in a Postmodern Era?
On Governance and Reinventing Government
The Blacksburg Manifesto, circulated originally in the early 1980s, argued that the American public administration needed refounding in order to acquire legitimacy and efficacy. The principles and processes of administration and the science of management that have emerged during this century provide an inadequate foundation. The authors of the Manifesto called for a reconceptualization of public administration as a matter of “governance” (Wamsley et al., 1990).
Governance means “administering in a political context” and directing competence toward the “broadest possible public interest.” This includes competence in sustaining “the agency perspective” and “the constitutional governance process” (Wamsley et al., 1990, p. 39). The agency perspective alludes to the institutional insight, policy-relevant knowledge, and authority ...