The New Public Service : Serving, Not Steering book cover
4th Edition

The New Public Service
Serving, Not Steering

ISBN 9781138891258
Published March 16, 2015 by Routledge
272 Pages

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Book Description

The New Public Service: Serving, not Steering provides a framework for the many voices calling for the reaffirmation of democratic values, citizenship, and service in the public interest. It is organized around a set of seven core principles: (1) serve citizens, not customers; (2) seek the public interest; (3) value citizenship and public service above entrepreneurship; (4) think strategically, act democratically; (5) recognize that accountability isn’t simple; (6) serve, rather than steer; and (7) value people, not just productivity.

The New Public Service asks us to think carefully and critically about what public service is, why it is important, and what values ought to guide what we do and how we do it. It celebrates what is distinctive, important, and meaningful about public service and considers how we might better live up to those ideals and values. The revised fourth edition includes a new chapter that examines how the role and significance of these New Public Service values have expanded in practice and research over the past 15 years.

Although the debate about governance will surely continue for many years, this compact, clearly written volume both provides an important framework for a public service based on citizen discourse and the public interest and demonstrates how these values have been put into practice. It is essential reading fo students and serious practitioners in public administration and public policy.

Table of Contents

1. Public Administration and the New Public Management  2. The Roots of the New Public Service  3. Serve Citizens, Not Customers  4. Seek the Public Interest  5. Value Citizenship over Entrepreneurship  6. Think Strategically, Act Democratically  7. Recognize That Accountability Isn’t Simple  8. Serve Rather than Steer  9. Value People, Not Just Productivity  10. The New Public Service and Citizen Engagement: Cases and Recommendations  11. Fifteen Years Later: Are We Rowing, Steering, or Serving?  12. Conclusion

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Janet V. Denhardt is Chester A. Newland Professor of Public Administration and Director of the Price School Sacramento Center at the University of Southern California, USA.

Robert B. Denhardt is Professor and Director of Leadership Programs in the Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California, USA.


"The first edition of this book was published just after 9/11, a time when renewed attention to public service was exemplified by the firefighters and other volunteers who reminded us all what the true value of public service is. However, with the Great Recession government has been used to prop up markets and the Denhardts’ call for renewed attention to serving the public is sorely needed. New Public Management’s failure has been to equate government with market and substitute consumers for citizens. But, the Denhardt’s remind us that democracy, not consumer choice, must be the basis for government, and public service, not market service, is its primary function." - Mildred E. Warner, Cornell University, USA 

"This book is a great read full of insights that challenge our status quo ways of thinking. It is a 'must read' for everyone who cares about building a better public service." - Rosemary O'Leary, Edwin O. Stene Distinguished Professor of Public Administration, University of Kansas, USA