Public Administration homework help
1. Strategic Management
We derive the concept of the art of generalship, viz., strategic management, from its military heritage. Strategic management is about the management of resources to attain the goal in its entirety. Tactics, a word also derived from the military, is about gaining a part of the goal – or the objective. In administration, the concepts of strategy and tactics involve the selection of philosophies, policies, and practices to achieve efficiency and effectiveness.
Strategic Management and Planning
Public management has been slower than the private sector in embracing the strategic management and planning concept. Today, however, it is seen as imperative that a public organization have strategic intent to proactively shape the future for the organization the way that private corporations do, rather than merely reacting to events. Private corporations do strategic planning all the time, to specify long- and short-term horizons. Because of the inherently political nature of public administration, however, short-term thinking is more often the case. Public budgeting procedures, due to their annual nature, also contribute to short, yearly cycles. The annual budget submission often gives opportunities for posturing, patronage, and politicizing. However, long-term planning is not impossible in the public sector. Many public projects, like space science, defense, etc., require long-term planning horizons and enormous capital investment, which is most appropriately done by government. Long-term planning is often done at the federal level and can draw national attention to a cause. However, sometimes little is achieved and planning efforts are merely a goal in themselves, undertaken to give exposure to political elites. Planning is “messy” in more wealthy democratic governments where competing interests must be accommodated. In his 1959 article, “The Science of Muddling Through,” Charles E. Lindblom argued that incremental decision making was more achievable in the messy, complex, disorderly, ill-structured world of politics, where completely rational decision making is never possible. All strategic management plans have essentially the same components: identification of goals and objectives; adoption of a time frame for achievement; systematic analysis of current circumstances and capabilities; looking at the overall organizational environment; selection of a strategy by comparing various alternatives; the integration of organizational efforts around this strategy; and evaluation.
Matching Agency Capabilities and Agency Environments
When the environment is stable, a more custodial, authoritarian strategy might suffice, but when the organization is turbulent, a more risk-taking entrepreneurial capability is required. When a mismatch exists between environment and capability, management must take action to match its technological and human resources to what is required. An organizational tool to identify the strengths and weaknesses of an organization, as well as potential opportunities and threats, is the SWOT analysis. This is a technique widely employed by organizations to provide another test of strategic viability. It uses interactive brainstorming techniques. Attention to strengths and weaknesses highlights capability. Opportunities and threats turn attention to the opportunistic as well as the predatory aspects of an organization’s survival. An assessment of an organization’s present and future environment is a critical aspect of strategic management planning. Demand forecasting is used to determine the likely population growth and consumer behavior of the region. Futures analysis is another form of analysis used in the 1980s
2. Management by Objectives (MBO)
Management focus on goals and objectives was pioneered by Peter Drucker in 1954 with the publication of The Practice of Management. Many other books on MBO followed, each with the basic premise that measurable goals have to be established and accomplished by both membership and leadership of the organization to be realized over a period of time. Part of strategic management responsibility is providing a broad statement of philosophy in public organizations in its mission statement, which is set forth in terms of the ideal. A statement of goals is more specific, and the list of objectives is about means to get to the goals, sometimes referred to as targets.
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3. Strategic Management Future Challenges
Strategic management in the public sector has evolved from its traditional functional management focus to one which now looks toward measurable objectives. As it relates to government, the term “strategic management” refers to a statement of goals that can be translated into a statement of specific targets or objectives. Because the original sponsors of legislation may not have a precise idea of how the end results are to be reached, goals may be far more philosophical than the objectives. Hence, explicit statements are purposely avoided, and the intent of the policy is often stated in broad, general terms. A variety of challenges to strategic management are faced by public sector managers today. The widespread use of privatization around the world is one that will increasingly be a topic confronting government in the next decade.