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The theory of public administration has long been based on the notions of hierarchy and authority. However, the way managers actually manage has increasingly become at odds with the theory. The growing gap between theory and practice poses enormous challenges for managers in determining how best to work -- and for American government in determining how best to hold public administrators accountable for effectively doing their jobs.
In the quest to improve the practice of public administration, Kettl explains, political scientists and other scholars have tried a number of approaches, including formal modeling, implementation studies, a public management perspective, and even institutional choice. This book offers a new framework for reconciling effective administration with the requirements of democratic government. Instead of thinking in terms of organizational structure and management, Kettl suggests, administrators and theorists need to focus on & quot;governance,& quot or links between government and its broader environment -- political, social, and administrative. Government is the collection of institutions that act with authority and create formal obligations governance is the set of processes and institutions, formal and informal, through which social action occurs. Linking government and governance, Kettl concludes, is the foundation for understanding the theory and practice of government in twenty-first century America -- for making public programs work better and for securing the values on which the American republic has been built.