Public Administration

Routledge Resources for Public Administration & Management professionals, instructors, and enthusiasts!

The design of public programs that work is a critical topic today. We cannot solve the problems facing the country without learning how to design public programs that achieve their intended outcomes. The dissatisfaction and conflict now extending throughout the country are often fed by frustration and cynicism over past experiences.

Snapshot: Designing Public Programs That Work

It is possible to do better. Based on past research in public administration, new methods have been developed for analyzing programs. By considering how program actions lead to reactions by organizations and individuals, and how these actions and reactions combine to determine actual program outcomes, we can better learn what to expect. We can then move beyond the present critical failures in the public sector.

Edited by David H. Rosenbloom, the Distinguished Professor of Public Administration at the School of Public Affairs at American University in Washington, DC, and is currently servng as Chair Professor of Public Management, City University of Hong Kong. Scroll down for featured titles in the series or click here to learn more about the ASPA Series in Public Administration and Public Policy.


By Ferd H. Mitchell (ASPA member) and Cheryl C. Mitchell

The President Trump administration has begun an overt attack on the “administrative state”, charging that unelected officials are essentially writing new laws, making political decisions, and redirecting public programs according to their values. The field of public administration is under a type of pressure that has not been experienced in the past, and the future of the field will be determined by how administrators and faculty choose to respond.

There are three types of responses that may take place: administrators can simply “ride with the waves” and try to continue business as usual; attempt a counterattack and try to neutralize the pressures being experienced; or assess the situation and adapt as deemed most appropriate. The most effective response will likely involve a combination of these strategies. Administrators may try to continue some administrative activities unchanged despite pressures (passive resistance), try to push back wherever deemed important to protect specific activities (active resistance), and assess and adapt in order to respond to the situation that is being encountered.

It is essential to recognize that the future of public administration lies in the attitudes of the public toward the activities of government. Without public support, agencies will find themselves subject to constant charges that they are not serving a legitimate and valuable function. A combination of passive and active resistance can help maintain the stability of existing administrative operations, but may be a completely inadequate response to the changes now threatening to sweep the field. There is an urgent need to assess where public administration is today, consider the strengths and weaknesses of the field, and adapt in the most effective ways.

Without such a willingness to seek new ways for evaluating and dealing with the basic activities of the field, there is a real risk that public administration will become associated with an image of a behind-the-scenes, invisible and unaccountable government that does not operate in support of average people. It is important to be able to demonstrate that the field is a key positive means for creating public programs that work and contribute to everyone. There is a need to demonstrate in an effective way that public administration is a valuable and essential contributor to the welfare of the country.

For these reasons, assessment and adaptation will also be required if the field is to operate effectively and be recognized for its contributions.

We have described how the field of public administration may most effectively evolve and adapt in a time of constant change (Adaptive Administration, published by Routledge press). We have indicated how such approaches may be used to develop programs that work (Designing Public Programs That Work, Snapshot discussion, Routledge press). We have also demonstrated how these strategies may be used to evaluate proposed changes in Obamacare by drawing on lessons learned from the past.

We have proposed that all program designs and changes, and plans for program implementation, should explicitly include an analysis of the likely reactions by individuals and organizations to these changes. In this way, program outcomes will more closely reflect expectations, lead to more public satisfaction, and reduce widespread frustration with public programs. Only through such means will it be possible to improve recognition of those in the field, and counter charges that public administration is “part of the problem” with demonstrations of the value and relevance of an effective administrative state.

Ferd Mitchell and Cheryl Mitchell are actively involved in evaluating the challenges facing public administration today, with an emphasis on understanding how established procedures need to be adapted to fit today's urgent situations. Ferd holds MPA and DPA degrees from the University of Southern California, while Cheryl Mitchell holds an MPA from Golden Gate University. Ferd and Cheryl are both attorneys, and they practice together as married partners at Mitchell Law Office in Spokane, WA.

Are you looking for a book to accompany your core textbook? Or maybe you want to create a smaller reading list of texts relevant to your syllabus? You may even be looking for a book for a more-specific upper-undergraduate or graduate level course.

Visit our collection of Supplemental Politics Course Books!

NEW Featured Titles

  • Responses to Disasters and Climate Change

    Understanding Vulnerability and Fostering Resilience, 1st Edition

    Edited by Michele Companion, Miriam S. Chaiken

    As the global climate shifts, communities are faced with a myriad of mitigation and adaptation challenges. These highlight the political, cultural, economic, social, and physical vulnerability of social groups, communities, families, and individuals. They also foster resilience and creative…

    Hardback – 2016-12-20
    CRC Press

  • Managing Public Safety Technology

    Deploying Systems in Police, Courts, Corrections, and Fire Organizations, 1st Edition

    By Jeffrey A. Rose, Donald C. Lacher

    Divided into four sections—public safety agencies, key issues like interoperability and cybercrime, management skills, and emerging trends like the transfer of military technologies to civilian agencies, Managing Public Safety Technology illustrates how essential managing technology is to the…

    Paperback – 2016-12-13

  • Critical Infrastructure Protection, Risk Management, and Resilience

    A Policy Perspective, 1st Edition

    By Kelley Cronin, Nancy E. Marion

    Critical Infrastructure Protection and Risk Management covers the history of risk assessment, crtical infrastructure protection, and the various structures that make up the homeland security enterprise. The authors examine risk assessment in the public and private sectors, the evolution of laws and…

    Hardback – 2016-12-06
    CRC Press

  • Modernizing the Public Sector

    Scandinavian Perspectives, 1st Edition

    Edited by Irvine Lapsley, Hans Knutsson

    As policymakers and scholars evaluate possible ways forward in the reform and renewal of public services by governments caught up in a recessionary environment, this book aims to offer something different – a comprehensive analysis of the development of the ‘Scandinavian’ way of modernizing…

    Hardback – 2016-12-02
    Routledge Critical Studies in Public Management

  • The Constitutional School of American Public Administration

    1st Edition

    Edited by Stephanie Newbold, David H. Rosenbloom

    The growing ‘constitutional school’ of public administration has roots in the Federalist Papers, constitutional law, and the writings of several contemporary leaders and contributors in the field. It is comprised of a loose grouping of scholars who subscribe to the proposition that constitutions…

    Hardback – 2016-10-20
    Public Administration and Public Policy

  • Adaptive Administration

    Practice Strategies for Dealing with Constant Change in Public Administration and Policy, 1st Edition

    By Ferd H. Mitchell, Cheryl C. Mitchell

    Adaptive Administration: Practice Strategies for Dealing with Constant Change in Public Administration and Policy interprets the critical issues facing the field of public administration today and describes how new approaches to theory and practice have the potential to redesign the field. It will…

    Hardback – 2015-11-05
    ASPA Series in Public Administration and Public Policy

Featured Books for Courses

  • Policy Analysis

    Concepts and Practice, 6th Edition

    By David L. Weimer, Aidan R. Vining

    Often described as a public policy “bible,” Weimer and Vining remains the essential primer it ever was. Now in its sixth edition, Policy Analysis provides a strong conceptual foundation of the rationales for and the limitations to public policy. It offers practical advice about how to do policy…

    Paperback – 2017-03-30

  • Leadership in Public Organizations

    An Introduction, 3rd Edition

    By Montgomery Van Wart

    Now in a completely revised and updated Third Edition, Leadership in Public Organizations provides a compact but complete analysis of leadership for students and practitioners who work in public and nonprofit organizations. Offering a comprehensive review of leadership theories in the field, from…

    Paperback – 2017-03-01

  • Government Budgeting and Expenditure Management

    Principles and International Practice, 1st Edition

    By Salvatore Schiavo-Campo

    The government budget should be the financial mirror of society's choices. Yet most people view budgeting as the epitome of eye-glazing subjects, rarely explained in a way that is understandable to the non-specialist and too often presented without adequate consideration of a country’s governance…

    Paperback – 2017-02-22

  • The Public Policy Process

    7th Edition

    By Michael Hill, Frédéric Varone

    The Public Policy Process is essential reading for anyone trying to understand the process by which public policy is made. Explaining clearly the importance of the relationship between theoretical and practical aspects of policy-making, the book gives a thorough overview of the people and…

    Paperback – 2016-10-27

  • Introducing Public Administration

    9th Edition

    By Jay M. Shafritz, E. W. Russell, Christopher P. Borick, Albert C. Hyde

    Now in an extensively revised 9th edition, Introducing Public Administration provides students with the conceptual foundation they need, while introducing them to important trends in the discipline. Known for its lively and witty writing style, this beloved textbook examines the most important…

    Paperback – 2016-10-03

  • Contemporary Urban Planning

    11th Edition

    By John M. Levy

    Planning is a highly political activity. It is immersed in politics and inseparable from the law. Urban and regional planning decisions often involve large sums of money, both public and private, with the potential to deliver large benefits to some and losses to others. Contemporary Urban Planning,…

    Paperback – 2016-09-01

  • Managing in the Public Sector

    A Casebook in Ethics and Leadership, 2nd Edition

    By Brett Sharp, Grant Aguirre, Kenneth Kickham

    Casebooks in public administration have become intensely sophisticated with complex scenarios, richly detailed multi-step simulations, and demanding role playing requirements. While these types of cases and exercises have their place, Managing in the Public Sector is a casebook designed with…

    Paperback – 2016-08-23

  • The Public Administration Workbook

    8th Edition

    By Dennis L. Dresang

    Public administration is a craft that demands real-world application of concepts and theories often learned in a classroom. Yet many students find it difficult to make the leap from theory to practice completely unaided. The Public Administration Workbook, 8e is specifically designed with the…

    Paperback – 2016-08-15

  • Public Policy Praxis

    A Case Approach for Understanding Policy and Analysis, 3rd Edition

    By Randy S. Clemons, Mark K McBeth

    Public administration and policy analysis education has long emphasized tidiness, stages, and rationality, but practitioners frequently must deal with a world where objectivity is buffeted by, repressed by, and sometimes defeated by, value conflict. Too often public administration education has…

    Paperback – 2016-08-04

NEW in the ASPA Series in Public Administration and Public Policy

ASPA Series in Public Administration

Routledge @ ASPA17

Don't miss Routledge at ASPA 2017 in Atlanta! We'll be in booth #26-29 in the exhibit hall!

Learn more about Routledge @ ASPA17!

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