I am grateful to have received a grant from the Arts & Humanities Council of Montgomery County. The grant supports our ongoing research, writing and teaching to strengthen the role of public sector workers in democratic checks and balances.
I presented a teaching case on Independent Demonstration Projects at the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) Social Equity Leadership Conference on June 10, 2022. NAPA will post a video of the presentation, but in the meantime my slides are at social-equity-leadership-conference-.pdf
If you’re a Public Administration practitioner, consider presenting at NECOPA 2022. Have a case from your work that others could learn from? Technique you developed or tried out? I’m available to bounce ideas off. I’ve presented at NECOPA. The call for proposals is at https://northeastpublicadmin.org/
Public sector workers are part of the web of checks and balances in democracy. Public administration schools are already teaching the ethics of whether and when public sector workers should act as checks and balances, but very little about how to fulfill this role. Case studies and several streams of public administration research provide a basis for teaching future public sector workers how to be effective as democratic checks and balances.
Our new working paper about this is on SocArXiv at https://osf.io/preprints/socarxiv/hy32x/
I have developed a teaching case about Independent Demonstration Projects, which is a successful strategy to implement innovations in government without prior approval of agency officials. The case is currently pending peer review for publication. I would be pleased to send a copy of the draft case materials to any faculty member who wants to examine it for possible use in their teaching. I can be reached at David.Reed@PubAdmin.org
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.
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
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