PubPol 586

PubPol 586.003: Public Management: Performance Management

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Fall 2023
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This course will examine issues of performance measurement and management in the context of public sector agencies in the United States.  It will focus primarily on the federal level of government but will also consider some state and local government issues and make some occasional reference to cases beyond American borders.  This module will be divided into two units. First, it will review the evolution of public management in the United States and consider enduring challenges that frequently lead to management failure.  Second, it will consider the lessons from recent decades in which performance management has been prioritized across the federal government and many states, becoming a focal point in American governance.  We will consider the wide range of reform initiatives attempted in the U.S. under the broad umbrella of the so-called New Public Management, looking at a number of alternative approaches to public management challenges.  This will place particular emphasis on the question of whether or not it is feasible to measure the performance of individual agencies and staff and use those measures to improve government performance. Students will have the opportunity to complete a pair of writing projects, including an independent performance assessment of a federal government unit of their choosing, as well as an oral presentation on their key findings from this analysis.