Public Service Values  book cover
1st Edition

Public Service Values

ISBN 9780765643650
Published September 16, 2014 by Routledge
200 Pages

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Book Description

Public service values are too rarely discussed in public administration courses and scholarship, despite recent research demonstrating the importance of these values in the daily decision making processes of public service professionals.  A discussion of these very tenets and their relevance to core public functions, as well as which areas might elicit value conflicts for public professionals, is central to any comprehensive understanding of budget and finance, human resource management, and strategic planning in the public sector.  Public Service Values is written specifically for graduate and undergraduate courses in public administration, wherever a discussion of public service ideals might enrich the learning experience and offer students a better understanding of daily practice.

Exploring the meaning and application of specific values, such as Neutrality, Efficiency, Accountability, Public Service, and Public Interest, provides students and future professionals with a ‘workplace toolkit’ for the ethical delivery of public services. Well-grounded in scholarly literature and with a relentless focus on the public service professional,  Public Service Values highlights the importance of values in professional life and encourages a more self-aware and reflective public practice.  Case studies to stimulate reflection are interwoven throughout the book and application to practice is cemented in a final section devoted to value themes in professional life as well as a chapter dedicated to holding oneself accountable.  The result is a book that challenges us to embrace the necessity of public service values in our public affairs curricula and that asks the important questions current public service professionals should make a habit of routinely applying in their daily decision making. 

Table of Contents

Foreword  Preface  1. The Public Professional and Public Service Values  2. Public Service Values Today  3. Neutrality: The Public Professional in a Democratic Society  4. Efficiency: The Economic Environment of Public Service  5. Accountability: Whom Do I Serve, and for What Purposes?  6. Public Service: The Personal Commitment  7. The Public Interest: Commitment to Society  8. Conclusion: Value Choices and the Public Professional  References  Index  About the Author

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Richard C. Box is a distinguished fellow in the Hauptmann School of Public Affairs at Park University, Missouri and Regents/Foundation Professor Emeritus at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.  His writing focuses on the interaction between public service professionals and the political, legal, and economic environment that surrounds them.


"Public service values are the heart of public organizations; they anchor organizational culture and motivation and guide behavior. Richard Box has done a masterful job in elucidating the values underpinning public service. This work is not a rehashing of other similar works but provides a refreshing exposition of the five broad themes needed for successful administration and service delivery in the public sector. His explanation of the theme of public service reminds the reader of what Americans often forget--the personal commitment that motivates and compels public service professionals. This book is a must read for all students of public administration." -- Ethel Williams, Director, School of Public Administration, University of Nebraska Omaha

"Public Service Values provides many illustrative examples of public sector values at play in the real world. It is written in a highly accessible style with an eye on students and practitioners. It is a joy to read and learn from." -- Jos C.N. Raadschelders, The Ohio State University

"Richard C. Box offers a timely and useful contribution to help clarify what is often perceived as a rather nebulous concept: public service values. He not only identifies and defines five specific values, but also explains the reasons behind their central place in public affairs, and, perhaps most importantly, explains how these values affect the roles and behaviors of practicing public administrators. Written in plain language that students will appreciate, Public Service Values is a wonderful companion text for any foundational course in undergraduate and graduate programs of Public Administration and Public Affairs." -- Jerri Killian, Wright State University

"Public Service Values eloquently helps us do some very important value-sorting by examining traditional values of efficiency, neutrality, and accountability as well as more recent public service values. It also finds a comfortable place for empathy, imagination, and the public interest in the world of administrative values. Richard Box has written a book that is accessible to practitioners and students and thought-provoking to scholars. Every MPA student should read this text." -- Mohamad Alkadry, Florida International University

"Richard Box invites us to proudly and explicitly explore public service values as they apply to the decisions, dilemmas, actions, and choices of public professionals in the performance of their daily responsibilities. The book is well grounded in the literature and in practice. The tone is bright, upbeat and realistic; the analysis is rigorous and well documented. I wish I'd had this book in my library when I was working in government." -- From the Foreword by Mary R. Hamilton, University of Nebraska Omaha and Fellow, National Academy of Public Administration