The Design and Implementation of Cross-Sector Collaborations: Propositions from the

Source: John M. Bryson, Barbara C. Crosby, and Melissa Middleton Stone, Public Administration Review, December 2006, Vol. 66 supplement

This article addresses the problem of cross-sector collaboration, which the authors defines as the linking and sharing of organizational information resources, activities, and capabilities in order to achieve solutions that single agencies cannot. The authors not only explain why cross-sector collaboration is essential in dealing with pressing 21st-century policy dilemmas but also suggest a propositional inventory for reframing our understanding of these problems that is vital for an improved research agenda on cross-sector collaboration.

People who want to tackle tough social problems and achieve beneficial community outcomes are beginning to understand that multiple sectors of a democratic society—business, nonprofits and philanthropies, the media, the community, and government—must collaborate to deal effectively and humanely with the challenges. This article focuses on cross-sector collaboration that is required to remedy complex public problems. Based on an extensive review of the literature on collaboration, the article presents a propositional inventory organized around the initial conditions affecting collaboration formation, process, structural and governance components, constraints and contingencies, outcomes, and accountability issues.

Collaborative Public Management: Assessing What we Know and How We Know It

Source: Michael McGuire, Public Administration Review, December 2006, Vol. 66 supplement

The range and depth of serious collaborative public management research is extensive and, according to the author, promising. What does it tell us about the structural components, types of necessary skills for effective management, and possible outcomes for collaborative processes? A great deal, this article concludes, for both practicing administrators and academic researchers.

Collaborative public management research is flourishing. A great deal of attention is being paid to the process and impact of collaboration in the public sector, and the results are promising. This article reviews the literature on collaborative public management by synthesizing what we know from recent research and what we’ve known for quite some time. It addresses the prevalence of collaboration (both recently and historically), the components of emerging collaborative structures, the types of skills that are unique to collaborative management, and the effects of collaboration. Collaborative public management research offers a set of findings that contribute to an emerging knowledge base that supplements established public management theory.

Collaboration Processes: Inside the Black Box

Source: Ann Marie Thompson and James L. Perry, Public Administration Review, December 2006, Vol. 66 supplement

Social science literature contains a remarkable wealth of information that can enhance our understanding of collaborative management. Drawing on these findings, the authors conceptualize a complex construct of five variable dimensions: governance, administration, organizational autonomy, mutuality, and norms. The authors explore these five dimensions of collaboration, arguing that public managers must not only understand each one thoroughly but also manage them simultaneously.

Managing Boundaries in American Administration: The Collaboration Imperative

Source: Donald F. Kettl, Public Administration Review, December 2006, Vol. 66 supplement

Complex organizational boundaries both assist and inhibit policy making across many fields today, from homeland security to welfare reform to health care. This article explores the difficulties of matching administrative systems to policy resolutions through the lens of organizational boundaries – their roles, where they are, how they are drawn, why they are critical in dealing with administrative issues, the trade-offs in their design, and the collaborative roles that may help in devising strategies to bring public administration systems in sync with their multisector operating systems.

A Solution in Search of a Problem? Discrimination, Affirmative Action, and the New Public Service

Source: Sally Coleman Selden, Public Administration Review, November/December 2006, Vol. 66 no. 6

Since the arrival of equal opportunity and affirmative action in the 1960s, government employment has become a major force for social mobility among disadvantaged groups and had made the public workforce more broadly representative of the population at large. Is a representative workforce still necessary to ensure equitable outcomes? Alternatively, have societal attitudes changed sufficiently that a competent workforce – assembled on the basis of merit alone, irrespective of race, ethnicity, or gender – is capable of ensuring desired policy outcomes?

Unequal Pay: The Role of Gender

Source: Mohamad G. Alkadry and Leslie E. Tower, Public Administration Review, November/December 2006, Vol. 66 no. 6

This essay, reporting on the results of a large-scale nationwide survey of public employees, detects a persistent gender bias in government wages despite applicable antibias statutes, considerable advocacy by interest groups, and alleged social change over the last 30 years. A complex mix of factors contributes to this inequity, including glass ceilings, labor segregation, and shorter job tenure, presumably to fulfill traditional female family roles. So what can be done about such wage disparities based on gender?

Welfare Reform and the ‘Platonic Master Science’: An Interview With Lawrence Mead

Source: Kevin R. Kosar, Public Administration Review, November/December 2006, Vol. 66 no. 6
In this conversation with the author of the 2005 Brownlow Nook Award winner, Government Matters, Lawrence Mead underscores the indispensable role of government in implementing effective welfare reform in Wisconsin. When policy makers and administrators work together conscientiously, according to Mead, old institutions can be revitalized and new ones built with remarkable speed and efficiency to achieve public purposes. Mead also shares his perspectives on the major failings of contemporary policy research.

The Law of Criminal Background Checks

Source: Hope A. Comisky and Christopher P. Zubowicz, Employee Relations Law Journal, Winter 2006, Vol. 32 no. 3

More employers are concluding criminal background checks on prospective and current employees, obtaining information relating to prior arrests or convictions. While such screening provides various benefits to employers, they must be aware of what information to seek, who should conduct the check, and how to use the information received. Employers must develop proper procedures and practices regarding background checks to avoid potential liability under federal and applicable state law.

Where There’s Smoke: Employer Policies on Smoking

Source: Sandra M. Tomkowicz and Susan K. Lessack, Employee Relations Law Journal, Winter 2006, Vol. 32 no. 3

In response to a recent Surgeon General’s report highlighting the dangers of secondhand smoke, employers may be increasingly pressed to balance the rights of smokers and non-smokers. Policies that attempt to control off-the-job smoking pose higher litigation risks than policies targeted specifically at eliminating smoke in the workplace. Failing to provide a smoke-free environment also may pose a risk of litigation to employers.

An Ounce of Prevention May Be Worth a Pound of Cure: How Employees Can Prepare for an Ailing Workforce in the Event of an Avian Flu Outbreak

Source: Amy M. Scott and Von E. Hays, Employee Relations Law Journal, Winter 2006, Vol. 32 no. 3

Much well-deserved attention has been paid to the prospect of an avian flu outbreak in the United States. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the avian flu has not reached the United States. The only countries reporting human cases are China, Turkey, Indonesia, Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam. Currently, the virus is transmitted from infected birds to humans. The virus has not mutated to a from that can be transmitted directly from human to human. However, the potential for mutation exists. This potential is at the epicenter of our greatest fears, considering the devastating consequences of a global pandemic. We can either be paralyzed by such fear or we can be proactive in addressing the issue. In situations such as this, the proverbial ounce of prevention may truly be worth a pound of cure.

The impact of an avian flu pandemic is of no small consequence to employers, as the prospect of a pandemic creates a panoply of labor and employment issues. This article is designed to highlight some of those issues and provide meaningful strategies for dealing with the issues should they arise.