2nd Edition

Citizen, Customer, Partner
Engaging the Public in Public Management

ISBN 9780765627216
Published March 15, 2012 by Routledge
256 Pages

USD $49.95

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Book Description

For almost a half a century, scholars and practitioners have debated what the connections should be between public administration and the public. Does the public serve principally as citizen-owners, those to whom administrators are responsible? Are members of the public more appropriately viewed as the customers of government? Or, in an increasingly networked world, do they serve more as the partners of public administrators in the production of public services?

This book starts from the premise that the public comes to government not principally in one role but in all three roles, as citizens and customers and partners.  The purpose of the book is to address the dual challenge that reality implies:  (1) to help public administrators and other public officials to understand the complex nature of the public they face, and (2) to provide recommendations for how public administrators can most effectively interact with the public in the different roles. Using this comprehensive perspective, Citizen, Customer, Partner helps students, practitioners, and scholars understand when and how the public should be integrated into the practice of public administration.

Most chapters in Citizen, Customer, Partner include multiple boxed cases that illustrate the chapter’s content with real-world examples. The book concludes with an extremely useful Appendix that collects and summarizes the 40 Design Principles – specific advice for public organizations on working with the public as customers, partners, and citizens.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments  Part 1. Introduction  1. Citizen, Customer, Partner, and Public Management  2. The Changing Place of the Public in Public Management  Part 2. The Public as Customer  3. Providing Customer Service in Public Service  4. Learning about the Public’s Needs  Part 3. The Public as Partner  5. Coproducing Public Services and Public Value  6. Managing for Coproduction  Part 4. The Public as Citizen  7. When Is Public Involvement Desirable?  8. Engaging Representative Participation and Reaching Effective Decisions  9. Techniques for Involving the Public in Decision Making  Part 5. Conclusions  10. Implications for Public Managers, the Public, and Democracy  Appendix. The Design Principles: Guidelines for Working with the Public

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With three books and more than fifty articles in print, John Clayton Thomas is known internationally for his research on various aspects of public management and public policy. Much of that research focuses on how citizens connect with their governments and how those connections can be improved – for instance, how citizens interact with governments through the medium of "e-governance" and how citizen input can be incorporated in performance measurement.  Dr. Thomas's research has appeared in Public Administration Review, the Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Administration & Society, Urban Affairs Review, and the Journal of Urban Affairs, among other journals. He also serves as one of three Editors of the American Review of Public Administration, one of the elite journals in public administration.


"Thomas's book makes an important, practice-oriented contribution to the literature on civic engagement, public management, and public policy decisions and implementation. Thomas has offered practitioners and scholars of public policy and administration an opportunity to revisit the current forms and dilemmas of public involvement and provided them with practical, insightful advice to overcome the dilemmas. It is highly recommended for anyone interested in the theory and practice of public management and public involvement." -- American Review of Public Administration

"The strengths of the book are wide and deep. Thomas provides a solid scholarship base. The book's structure works well for his audience. The cases are excellent. The result allows for practical use by managers in several ways described later in this review. ... Thomas has done a service by revisiting the cacophony of how citizens ask, demand, complain, work together, and shape their governments. He is well placed to continue the analysis and synthesis of public participation and provide guidance for public managers for today's new forms of engagement." -- Public Administration Review

"This new book on public engagement's material importance grabs you, and its generic sense of the field-its dailyness, its proximity, whether you are an academic paid to pay attention, or a layperson nursing an opinion about potholes and school district budgets-appeals to multiple audiences. ... This book is a valuable contribution to the political science and public administration literature; the architecture of public engagement right there in a single volume." -- State and Local Government Review