Public Deliberation: An Alternative Approach to Crafting Policy and Setting Direction
Roberts, Nancy C.
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General managers are expected to strive for organizational efficiency and effectiveness. Depending on their emphasis on efficiency and effectiveness, they produce four basic approaches to public sector general management: the directive approach, the reactive approach, the generative approach, and the adaptive approach. This paper explores the generative approach, in particular its use of public deliberation as an alternative way to establish public policy and set bureau direction. Two case studies help distill the basic elements of public deliberation. The first case documents the use of public deliberation in significantly reducing a school district budget. The second case illustrates how public deliberation aided in crafting state educational policy. Although it is risky and expensive, public deliberation in these two cases illustrates how opening up policy-making to stakeholder participation can be highly successful. The paper concludes with implications public management theory and practice.
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