This course will use the case of police reform to explore the concept and practice of strategic management in public organizations. We will begin by considering the role that public managers play in defining an organization’s purpose, both at a general level (what is this organization’s mission?) and more concretely (what work do front-line staff need to do to accomplish that mission?). We will then explore a variety of tools that managers can use to guide and support front-line workers, including performance measurement, service review, complaint processing, personnel evaluation, training, hiring, and firing.
These ideas and tools are widely used in many different areas of public management, but class readings and lectures will introduce them by exploring their application to police reform. In particular, we will consider how the tools of strategic management can help police organizations to control the way officers use their authority (including their use of force, their arrest authority, and their authority to interrogate people they consider suspicious) and to accomplish their public safety mission (including their capacity to resolve emergencies, prevent crime and violence, and provide service to victims of crime). In class discussions and in written assignments, students will have the opportunity to consider how the ideas and practices we are reviewing in the policing context might apply to other human services contexts, such as child protective services, education, affordable housing, and international development.
**This course can be taken together with Professor Thacher’s section of 587 during the second half of the semester, OR it can be taken as a stand-alone half semester course.**