Understanding and Managing Public Organizations

Understanding and Managing Public Organizations

Understanding and Managing Public Organizations

Understanding and Managing Public Organizations


Understanding and Managing Public Organizations provides a comprehensive analysis of research and practice on public organizations and management. In this fourth edition of his award-winning best seller, Hal Rainey reviews topics including organizational goals and performance, decision making and strategy, leadership, motivation, organizational structure and design, organizational change, and others. He analyzes effective and ineffective practices, with suggestions for managing contemporary and classic challenges in public organizations, and with illustrative vignettes and examples. Carefully revised and updated, this edition of Understanding and Managing Public Organizations extends previous editions with deeper coverage of collaboration and networks, public values, public service motivation, managerial strategy, performance assessment, innovation and organizational change, and recent trends in public sector management.

Praise for the Previous Editions
"The third edition of the classic text provides a comprehensive, up-to-date analysis of research on public organizations and management. Drawing on a review of the most current research about government organizations and managers, this important source offers specific suggestions for managing these challenges in today's public organizations."
? Abstracts of Public Administration

"A masterful textbook, as well as an important and original contribution to the public organization theory literature ? both comprehensive in its treatment of organization theory and decidedly 'public' in its perspective."
?Public Administration Review

"A tremendous contribution to the field. Rainey's ability to synthesize research streams from a variety of fields?such as political science, public administration, public policy, business administration, psychology, sociology, and others?is outstanding."
?Jeffrey L. Brudney, Albert A. Levin Chair of Urban Studies and Public Service, Cleveland State University


The previous editions of this book reviewed the literature on management and organization theory and suggested applications to the public sector grounded in evidence from research on public organizations and the people in them. The book has served primarily as a text in courses for master of public administration students and in seminars for doctoral students in public administration and public affairs programs. The book has also served the needs of scholars, and it has a high number of citations in the Social Science Citation Index, for a book of this type, in this field. The revisions in this fourth edition seek to enhance the book’s usefulness to students and scholars. As elaborated shortly, the book also seeks to meet certain needs of practicing managers and professionals.

Reviewers of earlier editions suggested greater integration among the chapters and the addition of an organizing framework for the material. I therefore have included in the first chapter a conceptual framework that links the chapters and topics in the book. This framework emphasizes a fundamental challenge for leaders and members of organizations: that of integrating and coordinating the components and domains of the organization. These include the organization’s environment, strategy- and decision-making processes, goals and values, culture, structure, power relationships, tasks, and communication processes. This integration, of course, must also include the people—the organization’s leaders, teams, and groups, and their motivations, work attitudes, and behaviors. As the book illustrates, the field of management and organizational theory has developed no . . .

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