People Skills for Public Managers: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

People Skills for Public Managers

1st Edition

By Suzanne Mccorkle, Stephanie Witt


204 pages

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pub: 2014-05-30
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This book fills the need for a communication-based, public sector framed book. The authors combine just enough basic theory about communication with specific skill development in areas of immediate interest to those who work in the public sector. It also features a strong "practice" orientation, with plentiful boxed applications (Insights from the Field, Skill Development boxes, Case Studies). It concludes with an especially useful summary chapter that describes the ten essential skills for successful communication.


"This unique little book provides the rich, textured discussion of pragmatic topics that our generalist public management texts often lack. It provides discussions into and exercises for topics such as conflict management, question-asking, emotional intelligence and labor, meeting management, parliamentary procedure, bullying, cultural knowledge and diversity, seeking public input, and a host of others that students will be highly interested in. If one wants to ensure that students have solid skills in management and leadership, this is a wonderful complement to any PA classroom or seminar." -- Montgomery Van Wart, California State University, San Bernardino

Table of Contents


1. Why Public Managers Need People Skills

The Public Sector Is Unique

Networking Across Agencies

Change, Mistrust, and Financial Austerity

Conflict Is Inevitable

Miscommunication Is Costly

Culture and Diversity Awareness Is Crucial

NASPAA Standards

The Federal Executive Service Standards

2. Every Effective Manager Is a Good Communicator

Communication Skills for Public Managers

The Fallibility of Message Transfer

Leadership and Communication

The Dark Side of Positional Authority

Case: The New Boss

3. Resolving Disputes in the Workplace

Methods for Resolving Disputes

What Causes Workplace Conflict?

Case: Flextime

4. Mega-Skills for Public Employees


Asking Questions

Conflict Analysis

Assessing Cost-Effectiveness of Dispute Resolution


Case: The Redevelopment Project

5. Creating and Maintaining Effective Work Relationships

Emotional Intelligence and Emotional Labor

Motivation and the Public Sector

Humane Performance Reviews

Interpersonal Communication Competence

Demotivators: The Dark Side of Interpersonal Communication

Case: When Generations Collide

6. Working Together: Meetings, Teams, and Parliamentary Procedure

Collaborating Across Agencies

Types of Group Activities

Meeting Management

The Specialized Leadership Skill of Building Teams

Parliamentary Procedure

Case: The Interdepartment Team

7. Dealing with Incivility, Bullies, and Difficult People

Verbal Aggression and Difficult People

Skills to Respond to Workplace Misbehavior


Case: Is the Behavior Problematic?

Case: There's Something About Jeremy

8. Effective Communication in the Intercultural Workplace

Cultural Knowledge and Public Administration

The Imperative of Diversity

Intercultural Communication Theory

Cultural Views of Problem Solving

Intercultural Conflict Styles

Influences of Culture on Communication

Influences of Culture on Management Style

Case: Refugees and the Library

9. Dynamic Public Speaking

Speaking in the Public Sector

Matching the Purpose to the Audience

Organizing the Message

Adding Interest

Final Check: Does the Content Meet the Audience's Needs?

Speech Delivery

Visual Aids and PowerPoint Presentations

Introducing Another Speaker

Case: Telling the Public to Prepare for Disaster

10. Designing Effective Public Input Processes

Why Seek Input?

Bad Behaviors in Public Places


Case: Public Input to Locate the New Bypass

11. The Interconnected Web of People Skills

Nexus 1. Public Managers with People Skills Demonstrate Resilience amid Change

Nexus 2. Public Managers with People Skills Are Able to Separate Listening from Analyzing

Nexus 3. Public Managers with People Skills Understand the Interests of Others

Nexus 4. Public Managers with People Skills Prefer Collaboration But Are Able to Make Quick Decisions

Nexus 5. Public Managers with People Skills Build Relationships

Nexus 6. Public Managers with People Skills Are Accountable

Nexus 7. Public Managers with People Skills Communicate Effectively

Nexus 8. Public Managers with People Skills Share Power

Nexus 9. Public Managers with People Skills Are Persistent

Nexus 10. Public Managers with People Skills Embrace Continuous Improvement



About the Authors

About the Authors

Suzanne McCorkle directs the Dispute Resolution academic programs and is a professor in the Public Policy and Administration department at Boise State University, USA. She formerly served as Associate Dean and Dean of the College of Social Sciences and Public Affairs. Dr. McCorkle is the author of Mediation Theory and Practice and Personal Conflict Management. Her consulting and research interests involve workplace conflict and its remedies.

Stephanie Witt is a Professor of Public Policy and Administration at Boise State University, USA. Her books include Cities, Sagebrush and Solitude (co-edited with Dennis Judd) and Urban West Revisited Governing Cities in Uncertain Times (with James B. Weatherby). She has previously held positions at Boise State as Associate Vice President, Associate Dean, Department Chair and Director of the Public Policy Center. She is a Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching "Idaho Professor of the Year" (1998).

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Business Communication / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Affairs & Administration


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