Framing a Public Management Research Agenda

The IBM Center for The Business of Government hosted a forum in November 2009 to examine the Obama Administration’s themes for a high-performing government and to frame a public management research agenda.

Participants included nearly 50 of the nation’s top public management researchers, scholars, and distinguished practitioners.  The forum was an effort to help bridge the gap between research and practice, and to collectively develop a research agenda that would help government executives move things forward.

The forum was organized around key management priorities reflected in the Obama Administration’s early months in office.  To inform participants in the forum, the IBM Center invited four scholars to each prepare a discussion paper providing context and issues related to one of these priorities.  These draft papers were shared in advance with participants and they formed the foundation for the conversations during the forum.  Authors used the feedback from the participants in revising their papers, which are summarized in subsequent blog entries.  In addition, participants helped develop a series of research questions they thought would be useful to both researchers and practitioners over the next few years.  These are also reflected in the following blog entries.

Noted public management scholar Michael Barzelay has written that “knowledge building is much more of a team sport than contributors to the current literature seem to appreciate.”

With this in mind, we are hopeful that the following topics, and their associated research questions, can help foster such team play by all of those involved in and committed to improving government performance.

Topic 1:  A New Performance Improvement and Analysis Framework (by Kathryn Newcomer, George Washington University)

Topic 2:  The Recovery Act:  An Accountability Test for Our Federal System (by Paul Posner, George Mason University)

Topic 3:  Federal Contracting and Acquisition (by Steven Schooner, George Washington University)

Topic 4:  Transparency, Technology, and Participatory Democracy (by Joseph Goldman, AmericaSpeaks)

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