Reform, v. A thing that mostly satisfies reformers opposed to
—AMBROSE BIERCE, The Devil's Dictionary
Whether one embraces the public values model, a pragmatic public interest approach, or some entirely different public values framework, the question remains as to the most useful way to infuse public policy and public management with public values. This chapter presents the concept of “Managing Publicness” as an alternative to public management approaches, particularly New Public Management (NPM), rooted ultimately in assumptions of economic individualism.
We begin by asking what “Managing Publicness” means and discuss the managerial ethos associated with Managing Publicness. Then we differentiate Managing Publicness from NPM, ultimately moving from assumptions and philosophical grounding to some relatively concrete principles one might consider in implementing the Managing Publicness approach to governance.
Perhaps it seems strange even to consider how or why public managers might manage publicly. Does not the very name public management imply a commitment to Managing Publicness? But Managing Publicness, as the term is used here, is identical to managing for public value, and, of course, there is no necessity that public management, in its actual practice, seeks or achieves public values. Public management may seek economic efficiency, it may serve power, it may follow the dictates of narrow interests, or it may focus on “side-payments” and the self-interest of public managers, among other possibilities.
Before considering in any more than the most obvious meaning of Managing Publicness, the idea of infusing public management with public values, let us examine two very different meanings of public management to which Managing Publicness seems equally relevant.