Cases for analysis and solution are presented at the end of each chapter. For the most part, these cases are taken from actual experiences of public administration and government agencies. The cases are used to stimulate inquiry into the applicability of the concepts and theories presented in the book. The problems in the cases lead to a deeper appreciation of the theoretical material and its strengths and limitations in assisting the administrator facing real problems.
Using cases will sharpen your analytical skills. In preparing to study a case, immerse yourself in the world of facts, values, attitudes, and feelings depicted in this slice of life. Out of this confusion, identify the problem(s) facing the manager in the case. To do this, make a clear separation of symptom and cause. After the problem has been clearly identified as evidence of inability to achieve certain agency objectives and goals, identify the causes. Only on the basis of such a thorough analysis can you move on to problem resolution, putting the pieces of the situation back together in the context of the public administrator?s goals and real-life constraints.
Your approach to case analysis and the required final paper is as follows:
1. Define the Problem: The problem is always a blocked managerial objective. What objective (cost control, predictability, change) is being undermined in the situation?
2. Analyze the Causes: What factors are causing the problem of blocked achievement of objectives (inadequate communications, poor motivation, indefinite plans, sloppy controls, interpersonal conflict, fear of change)? This should not be a search for villains, however, because individuals are seldom the sole or fundamental cause of problems.
3. Develop Alternatives: What action might be taken to remove the causes and solve the problem? Remember that these alternatives should deal with causes?not symptoms?of the problem.
4. Evaluate Alternatives: Evaluate the alternatives according to appropriate criteria:
? How well does the alternative meet management?s objectives?
? How much time and organizational resources are required?
? What are the costs?
? Does the alternative conform to personal and organizational values for equitable and responsible behavior?
? What is the probability of success?
5. Select Alternative (or combination): What are the weak points of this alternative?
6. Recommend a Detailed Plan of Implementation: Who should do what? When? How?
Not all cases will require this entire format. When you select your case and notify me of your selection, I will make specific recommendations for your case and guide you through the problem resolution. The general approach above, however, can guide your thinking.
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