To define effective public management, we believe it is important to understand what makes public managers ineffective. In Chapter One, we discussed how the general perception of government incompetence has fed into the perpetual crisis in public management. This chapter will discuss the characteristics of public managers that underlie the image of incompetence and how that image can be countered.

The Bumbling Bureaucrat

The overall image of government incompetence feeds directly into (or is sometimes derived from) the perceptions of individual government employees—the “bumbling bureaucrats.” Why is the image of public sector employees in such disrepute? Are private sector people smarter? Are government ...

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