Mary E. Guy
Florida State University
The application of the craft, art, and science of management to a context where political values govern the evaluation of success and where the rule of law dictates constraints on administrative discretion. Because political preferences bring policy shifts, the ability to navigate in politicized waters is a skill that is as essential to the public manager as the ability to plan, organize, staff, direct, budget, and perform other standard managerial duties. Public management means "doing" government. And, because politics is a key dimension to government, public management requires mastery of political as well as administrative skills.
Public managers work in city, county, state, and federal government, as well as special districts. They work in executive, judicial, and legislative agencies in roles as varied as the missions of those agencies. For example, missions range from wastewater treatment plants to foster care for children ; from highway engineers to agricultural extension agents; from welfare services to weather forecasting; from public health services to law enforcement; from public education to firefighting; from national defense to economic development; from environmental protection to emergency preparedness; from tax collection to neighborhood zoning; from parks and recreation facilities to court administration; from public libraries to highway safety; from national research and development laboratories to regulatory commissions. Managing each of these enterprises requires substantive knowledge of the policy arena pertaining to the mission, mastery of generic managerial skills, a keen ability to maximize political