Public Values in Special Districts: A Survey of Managerial Commitment

Authors

  • Evan M. Berman,

    Corresponding author
    1. National Chengchi University
    • Evan M. Berman is University Chair Professor at National Chengchi University, Taiwan's leading social sciences university, and director of the International Doctoral Program in Asia-Pacifi c Studies. He is the author of numerous books and articles in the discipline. His most recent books are Public Administration in East Asia (2010), Public Administration in Southeast Asia (2011), and People Skills at Work (2011). He is the founding editor of the ASPA Series in Public Administration and Public Policy.
      E-mail:evanmberman@gmail.com

      Jonathan P. West is professor and interim chair of political science and director of the master of public administration program at the University of Miami. He has published eight books and more than 100 scholarly articles and book chapters. His recent coauthored books include Achieving Competencies in Public Service: The Professional Edge (2010) and Human Resource Management in Public Service (2010). He is the managing editor of the journal Public Integrity.
      E-mail:jwest@miami.edu

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  • Jonathan P. West

    Corresponding author
    1. University of Miami
    • Evan M. Berman is University Chair Professor at National Chengchi University, Taiwan's leading social sciences university, and director of the International Doctoral Program in Asia-Pacifi c Studies. He is the author of numerous books and articles in the discipline. His most recent books are Public Administration in East Asia (2010), Public Administration in Southeast Asia (2011), and People Skills at Work (2011). He is the founding editor of the ASPA Series in Public Administration and Public Policy.
      E-mail:evanmberman@gmail.com

      Jonathan P. West is professor and interim chair of political science and director of the master of public administration program at the University of Miami. He has published eight books and more than 100 scholarly articles and book chapters. His recent coauthored books include Achieving Competencies in Public Service: The Professional Edge (2010) and Human Resource Management in Public Service (2010). He is the managing editor of the journal Public Integrity.
      E-mail:jwest@miami.edu

    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

Special districts are increasingly important in the landscape of public organizations and now constitute about 40 percent of all U.S. jurisdictions. Yet little is known about the public value commitments of managers in special districts. This systematic study of senior managers in large special districts finds that support for public values is strong and similar to that of senior managers in cities. This study explores the effect of concomitant commitments to “businesslike” values on public values and the impact of concomitant commitments on perceived organizational outcomes. Though a positive relationship exists between commitments to public and businesslike values among senior managers, the authors find evidence that both too much and too little commitment to businesslike values has a negative impact on perceived organizational outcomes, which are furthered by strong commitment to public values. This article demonstrates that special districts are a relevant but underresearched area of public administration.

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