Category Archives: Management

The Perfect Compromise: Bridging the Gap between At-Will Employment and Just Cause

Source: Nicole B. Porter, Nebraska Law Review, (Forthcoming)

From the abstract:
Many scholars have criticized the harshness of the employment at-will presumption, which allows an employer to terminate an employee for good reason, bad reason, or no reason at all. Other scholars defend at-will employment and criticize the just cause standard. This Article does not take sides in this debate; but instead, attempts to bridge the gap between the two by proposing a compromise statute, which I call the Employment Termination Equity Act (ETEA). Under ETEA, employers would remain free to terminate without having the difficult burden of proving just cause. However, certain enumerated reasons for termination would be unlawful. In determining which termination decisions should warrant protection, my goal was two-fold: (1) to make unlawful egregious termination decisions that have previously been unremedied despite the many exceptions to at-will employment and (2) to provide some overlap protection with current employment statutes by using a procedural process that will be more easily accessible by employees. Yet, in the spirit of true compromise, ETEA will provide fewer types of remedies than other employment statutes or common law claims, and will force plaintiffs to choose between suit under this proposed termination statute and other statutory remedies. As with any compromise, lines had to be drawn and line-drawing never satisfies everyone. My goal in this article is to convince the reader to view my line drawing optimistically – as a necessary means of bridging the gap between at-will employment and just cause.

Transforming Government Through Collaborative Innovation

Source: Satish Nambisan, IBM Center for the Business of Government, Innovation Series, 2008

This report offers a network-based, collaborative innovation framework to explain how government agencies (federal, state, and local) can partner with varied external networks and communities — including citizen networks, nonprofit organizations, and private corporations — and play different types of problem-solving roles to find innovative solutions that drive transformational change in the business of government” (p. 6). This report contains the following sections: executive summary; introduction; network-based collaborative approaches in government; government as innovation integrator; government as innovation seeker; government as innovation champion; government as innovation catalyst; four success factors in collaborative innovation; and implementing collaborative innovation and problem solving.

Grading the States 2008: A Management Report Card

Source: Katherine Barrett & Richard Greene, Governing Magazine, March 2008

Information is king. No single idea emerges more clearly from year-long research done for the 2008 Government Performance Project. As always, this report focuses on four fundamental areas of government management: Information, People, Money and Infrastructure. But this year, the elements that make up the information category — planning, goal-setting, measuring performance, disseminating data and evaluating progress — overlap with the other three fields to a greater degree than ever before. Information elements, in short, are key to how a state takes care of its infrastructure, plans for its financial future and deals with the dramatic changes affecting the state workforce.

Get individual state report cards via dropdown menu.

See also:
Pew Center on the States

Navigating Pennsylvania’s Dynamic Workforce: Succession Planning in a Complex Environment

Source: Kimberly A. Helton and Robert D. Jackson, Public Personnel Management, Vol. 36 no. 4, Winter, 2007
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Through its workforce and succession planning efforts, Pennsylvania is committed to proactively indentifying, preparing for and maintaining pools of well-trained and motivated state government employees to assume critical positions of leadership. But the concept of leadership extends beyond senior-level positions within agencies. The goal in Pennsylvania is to improve leadership capabilities in every work unit and to encourage all employees to use their skills to build stronger teams. Leadership at all levels means equipping employees with the tools, skills and expectations to communicate effectively and foster leadership at every organizational level. Leadership at all levels ensures that no lack of business continuity results from staff departures such as retirements, resignations, promotions or reassignments or other situations in which an individual is unable to or unwilling to continue his or her role within an organization.

State Government Employee Health Benefits in the United States

Source: Christopher G. Reddick and Jerrell D. Coggburn, Review of Public Personnel Administration, Vol. 27 no. 1, March 2007
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Employer-sponsored health benefits are an important but relatively understudied area in public sector human resource management. This study examines the choices that state governments make in the United States and the views of state human resource directors (HRD) on health benefits. Survey data, gathered from state HRDs in fall 2005, reveal several important findings: In terms of choices, the most common plan offered is the preferred provider organization (PPO); less than one third of states offer health benefits to nontraditional partners; health benefits improve employee satisfaction and the performance of the state government; and cost to the state government is the most important factor that affects choice of plan. There is not a high level of agreement on what strategies state government should pursue to reduce costs of health benefits; however, there is some agreement that premiums will be increasing in the near future.

Letters From the Field: Case Studies of Exemplary Collaborative Managers

Public Administration Review, December 2006, Vol. 66 supplement

These mini-case studies explore the practice of collaborative management within a variety of public sector settings, focusing on the meritorious roles played by public managers – how they performed well and why their actions mattered.

Articles include:
– Amy K. Donahue, “The Space Shuttle Columbia Recovery Operation: How Collaboration Enabled Disaster Response.”
– Mary Belefski, “Collaboration at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: An Interview with Two Senior Managers.”
– Kurt Thurmaier, “High-Intensity Interlocal Collaboration in Three Iowa Cities
– Heather Getha-Taylor, “Preparing Leaders for High-Stakes Collaborative Action: Darrell Darnell and the Department of Homeland Security.”
– Kim Eagle and Philip Cowherd, “Collaborative Capital Planning in Charlotte-Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.”
– Tracy Yandle, “The Challenger Scallop Enhancement Company: Collaborative Management of a Natural Resource Based in the Private Sector.”
– Sharon Friedrichsen, “Collaborative Public Management in San Francisco.”
– Gerald Andrews Emison, “The EPA Bureaucrat Who Could.”
– David W. Sears and W. Robert Lovan. “Encouraging Collaboration in Rural America.”
– Brenda Bushouse, “West Virginia Collaboration for Creating Universal Prekindergarten.”
– Rob Alexander, “Kirk Emerson and the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution.”

What Do We Know and Need to Know About the Environmental Outcomes of Collaborative Management?

Source: Tomas M. Koontz and Craig W. Thomas, Public Administration Review, December 2006, Vol. 66 supplement

To what extent does collaborative management lead to improved environmental outcomes? Despite the academic excitement over collaborative management, the authors of this provocative article argue that the empirical evidence on existing practices does not match the desired outcome of a better environment. Although we know a great deal about the why, how, and what of collaborative management, it is no panacea. Rather, students of this subject should remain hard-headed realists and focus on whether actual environmental improvement results. Does real-world application of collaborative management processes achieve more or less than alternative managerial methods such as traditional top-down, command and control, or newer market-driven techniques?

Collaborative Public Management and Democracy: Evidence from Western Watershed Partnerships

Source: William D. Leach, Public Administration Review, December 2006, Vol. 66 supplement

Based on a random sample of empirical studies of 76 watershed partnerships in California and Washington, the author assesses the democratic merits of collaborative public management according to seven norms: inclusiveness, representativeness, impartiality, transparency, deliberativeness, lawfulness, and empowerment. The article stresses the pluses and minuses of each norm according to the actual practices discovered from an analysis of the working partnerships. Several insights and revealing patterns of collaborative relationships are drawn from this evidence.

Ways of Knowing and Inclusive Management Practices

Source: Martha S. Feldman, Anne M. Khademian, Helen Ingram, and Anne S. Schneider, Public Administration Review, December 2006, Vol. 66 supplement

How can public managers constructively intervene to engage stakeholders in new ways of knowing about and resolving the public issues they confront? This article offers important new perspectives on how policy issues can better be understood as fluid policy networks and how public managers in particular can facilitate the framing of such issues to improve public deliberations and achieve constructive policy results.

The authors engage structural and agentic perspectives to examine opportunities for deliberation and the purposeful role of managers in creating those opportunities. Drawing on actor-network theory as a way of understanding the process of structuring knowledge, this essay focuses on the continuous enactment and reenactment of networks of human and nonhuman actants and the associations that connect them. This thinking is applied to policy issues, which the authors propose should be understood as ways of knowing. The fluidity of such ways of knowing provides opportunities for public managers to use the inclusive practices associated with boundary experiences, boundary objects, and boundary organizations to facilitate deliberation.