The gap between academic research and practice in public administration is discussed often, but practitioners are rarely included in the discussion. My new paper in Administrative Theory & Praxis says that for the public administration research community to engage with practitioners, it should:
- Expand the concept of public administration literature to include case reports by practitioners, which have long been an important part of medical literature.
- Develop norms that reduce the risk to a practitioner’s career from sharing her innovations and experience.
- Include practitioners in gatekeeping institutions, such as conference program committees, journal editorial boards, and peer reviewers.
The paper is available for free download at https://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/7SSKBPY7ZEZA5MMRRQ6X/full?target=10.1080/10841806.2021.1910412
The standard advice to government innovators is:
“First make sure you have the support of agency officials.”
That’s like advising soldiers:
“First make sure the enemy has run out of ammunition.”
It would be great, but if you wait for it to happen then you may never act.
Independent Demonstration Projects is a successful strategy to innovate in government without prior approval of officials. The innovator implements her idea as a minimum viable product, using whatever resources are available to her. Once the innovation is implemented, it creates pressure on officials to sustain or expand it using government resources.
If you’re registered for the ASPA 2021 conference, you can see our panel on-demand at https://www.engagez.net/ASPA2021?snc=707858#lct=conferencecenter–824468
It explains how the passive-aggressive sheet cake pictured here created government innovation.
My slides are open access at https://publicadministrationcasereports.files.wordpress.com/2021/04/reed-independent-demonstration-projects-slides-for-aspa-panel.pdf
If you want to find the papers about public sector innovation that will be presented at the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) conference in April, then look at the overlay track I compiled: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1lscHPoUQfFCD4ya6uzplabf4UPpXxvlBf65IzL6DUho/edit?usp=sharing
What’s an overlay track? An overlay journal curates papers that have been published elsewhere, so readers can see which papers will be worth their time. My overlay track is a spreadsheet that lists papers at the ASPA conference that are about innovation, regardless of which of the conference tracks they are in.
If you will be presenting at ASPA about innovation, or if you know a paper about innovation that will be presented at ASPA and isn’t on my overlay track yet, then please let me know so I can add it.
Officials pay attention to how their agencies are ranked. Think of the influence of the U.S. News college rankings. Bearfield, Maranto and Wolf ranked cities by an index that includes both homicides and police-related civilian deaths. But my new paper shows that how high a city ranks depends on the mathematical function used to combine the individual variables into a single score. Functions that are equally plausible can make the rankings more or less sensitive to police-related civilian deaths.
The publisher allows me to give away some free downloads, so you can get the paper at https://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/HGTQKSQXDRZR5IAUMGWW/full?target=10.1080/10999922.2021.1886439
David S. Reed (2021) Police Performance Rankings Depend on the Functional Form of the Index: A Comment on Bearfield, Maranto, and Wolf, Public Integrity, DOI: 10.1080/10999922.2021.1886439
The public administration research community is obsessed with serving an imaginary image of public administration practitioners, according to Professor Muhammad Azfar Nisar writing in Administrative Theory & Praxis. He suggests that researchers should stop trying to serve the imaginary practitioner, and instead engage directly with the public. I have a different suggestion; that researchers should engage with real practitioners, rather than imaginary ones. See how and why in my paper at https://osf.io/preprints/socarxiv/db7pt/
Bearfield, Maranto and Wolf (2020) advise policy-makers to measure policing outcomes using a metric that includes rates of homicide, police-related civilian deaths (PRCD) , and poverty. They present such an index, which they call the Police Performance Index (PPI). But alternative functional forms that are equally plausible can lead to different rankings of police departments, and therefore different policy conclusions. My comment presents one such alternative index, under which changes in police-related civilian deaths have a greater potential effect on a city’s ranking: https://doi.org/10.31235/osf.io/r8yst
The ASPA Section on Democracy and Social Justice webinar on Promoting Ethical Conduct in Organizations is now on YouTube. It was great serving as a panelist. https://youtu.be/1U4lYwL0p5Q
My how-to on Public Administration Practitioners at Academic Conferences hit SSRN’s top 10 download list for PSN Educator: Public Administration. I hope it encourages more of us practitioners to engage with research. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2765800
I’m excited to be on the panel for the webinar on Promoting Ethical Conduct in Organizations, organized by the ASPA Section on Democracy and Social Justice. It will be Tuesday, Sept. 22 at 1:00 PM EDT. Zoom in and join us! https://lu.ma/7jrra194
David Reed’s paper, Technology: Increasing Citizen Engagement and Access to Information, has been downloaded from SocArXiv over 600 times, and has been cited in two works listed in Google Scholar. The paper’s recommendations are:
- Welcome the Civic Hackers
- Eat Your Own Dog Food
- Don’t Panic about Guerrilla Government
The paper is at https://osf.io/preprints/socarxiv/hws4f/