Public management is a well-established field of inter-disciplinary research. It encompasses the study of how central agencies in national governments are managed, the strategic management of international organisations, inter-government relations, the delivery of public services at national and local levels, and the contentious issues of whether these services are best run directly by public bodies or by private firms under contract, as well as the increasingly pressing issues of how private and public sector services are regulated. Research in this area draws on, and often combines, political science, sociology, economics, and information and project management.
The public management and regulation group in the School of Business and Management was established in 2011. It brings together researchers with interests at every level of public management from the global through the continental to the national down to the local. Our distinctive signature is our focus on a range of research strategies applied to developing and examining explanatory theories in public management. The group has close links with public policy researchers in the QMUL School of Politics and International Relations.
Professor Gary Schwarz is a Professor in Public Management and Strategy. His research focuses on how public organizations and employees can improve their performance, innovation, and the role of various leadership approaches (e.g., public, servant, ethical, entrepreneurial, transformational, participative, etc.) in the strategy process.
Public Administration Review Symposium
Decision-Making in Public Organizations: The Continued Relevance of “Administrative Behavior”
Gary Schwarz, Queen Mary University of London, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tom Christensen, University of Oslo, email@example.com
Xufeng Zhu, Tsinghua University, firstname.lastname@example.org
In honor of the upcoming 75th anniversary of the publication of Herbert Simon’s seminal book “Administrative Behavior: A Study of Decision-Making Processes in Administrative Organizations,” first published in 1947, Public Administration Review (PAR) will hold a Symposium titled “Decision-Making in Public Organizations: The Continued Relevance of “Administrative Behavior.”
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, which awarded Herbert Simon the Nobel Prize in economics in 1978, considered Administrative Behavior as “epoch-making.” Administrative Behavior has a special relationship to PAR, as two of its chapters appeared in PAR prior to the publication of the book (Simon 1944; 1946). The recent resurgence in interest in the behavioral sciences in public administration has reintroduced the book to a new audience (Battaglio and Hall 2019).
One of the reasons why Administrative Behavior has influenced several generations of scholars and practitioners, is that it challenged the prevailing “principles” of administration that were considered to lead to administrative efficiency (Rainey 2001). Pointing out contradictions and incompatibilities between these principles that had been largely ignored, Simon put decision-making at the center of analysis and examined how individuals make decisions within certain organizational frames or contexts. Whereas standard economic theory assumed that individuals are perfectly rational decision-makers, Simon emphasized the limits to rationality that real-life administrators face with regard to memory, attention, or capacity (March and Olsen 1976). He developed a theory of bounded rationality, suggesting that individuals “satisfice” rather than maximize because they cannot evaluate all potential alternatives due to their limited cognitive and information processing abilities and incomplete knowledge. Administrative Behavior was also one of the first books to acknowledge the importance of loyalty and organizational identification for administrative efficiency (Miao et al. 2019), as they align the decisions that individuals make with organizational objectives.
Simon called for empirical research and experimentation into the concepts he developed in Administrative Behavior and this symposium aims to encourage such activity and take stock of the concepts’ continued relevance. We are interested in manuscripts from diverse disciplinary perspectives that contribute to a deeper understanding of decision-making in public organizations. We welcome submissions on theory development and empirical studies based on large-scale surveys, experiments, case studies, and other methodologies. We are particularly interested in research that develops the following topics and questions:
Review Process and Timeline
Apr 15, 2020 – Paper proposal (maximum 1,000 words) should be submitted via e-mail, copying in each of the symposium co-editors.
May 15, 2020 – Decision on paper proposal communicated to authors.
Sep 30, 2020 – Full paper should be submitted via e-mail, copying in each of the symposium co-editors. All submissions will receive feedback.
Dec 5/6, 2020 – Symposium conference in London, UK. Authors of accepted proposals are strongly encouraged to participate.
Jan 15, 2021 – Complete manuscripts to be submitted via e-mail, copying in each of the symposium co-editors, for screening and feedback.
Jan 31, 2021 – Manuscripts to be submitted to PAR’s online editorial system. Manuscripts undergo PAR’s normal peer review process overseen by PAR Co-Editors-in-Chief, Paul Battaglio and Jeremy Hall.
Early 2022 – Planned publication date in PAR
For more information and references, please see the full call for papers: https://www.publicadministrationreview.com/2019/04/10/simon/
Symposium Conference Program
Saturday, December 5, 2020
1:00pm-2:30pm UK time (GMT)
Panel 1: Chair Gary Schwarz
2:45pm-4:15pm UK time (GMT)
Panel 2: Chair Xufeng Zhu
4:30pm UK time (GMT)
Jeremy Hall and Paul Battaglio
PAR Co-Editors-in Chief Paul Battaglio and Jeremy Hall Speak on Process and Timeline
5:00pm-6:50pm UK time (GMT)
Panel 3: Chair Tom Christensen
Sunday, December 6, 2020
10am-11:30am UK time (GMT)
Panel 4: Chair Xufeng Zhu
11:45am-1:15pm UK time (GMT)
Panel 5: Chair Gary Schwarz
1:30pm-3pm UK time (GMT)
Panel 6: Chair Tom Christensen
3:15pm-4:45pm UK time (GMT)
Panel 7: Chair Gary Schwarz
5:00pm-6:30pm UK time (GMT)
Panel 8: Chair Tom Christensen
Members of the cluster are committed to external engagement with policy makers and public managers. These impact activities involve working with policy makers, collaborations with practitioners and professional services, as well as important outputs intended to shed light on pressing public policy and management issues beyond the academy. Members of the cluster also have considerable experience of delivering executive education courses.
Perri 6 has carried out extensive research and consultancy as well as policy studies ranging over styles of political judgement in core executives, ‘joined up government’, client confidentiality and privacy, hospital reconfiguration, policy instruments for behaviour change and the structures of public governance. He has provided consultancy advice to many UK departments of state, regulatory authorities such as the Office of the Information Commissioner and the OECD in Paris. He was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in 2013.
Colin Haslam has served as an adviser to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)/World Resources Institute (WRI): Financial Institutions portfolio carbon initiative. He has also advised the European Financial Reporting Advisory Group (EFRAG) on their financial disclosures and business model financial reporting projects. He has delivered presentations to the European Parliament on stress testing international financial reporting standards (IFRS) and a new business model governing financial reporting for SMEs. He is a fellow of the European Law Institute (ELI) and member of the ELI Business and Financial Law special interest group.
Stella Ladi has recently completed a study on managing change in the public sector for the European Centre of Employers and Enterprises providing Public Services (CEEP), commissioned by the European Commission. She often appears as an expert media commentator on issues of public administration reforms across Europe, the Eurozone crisis and Greece as well as Brexit.
Martin Laffin has most recently been editing, with European colleagues, a ten country special journal issue study of inter-governmental relations and the coronavirus pandemic. He has advised local governments and their representative associations, the Welsh Government and state government agencies and departments in Australia. He was a member of the Business and Management Research Excellence Framework 2014 Sub-Panel. He has served as the Chair of the Joint University Council Public Administration Committee in the UK and as a co-convenor of the European Group for Public Administration Standing Group on Local and Regional Government. He is also a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences.
Panos Panagiotopoulos’ research is on the role of information systems in government policy and management. He is a member of the network of experts attached to the UK government Better Regulation Executive (BEIS) and has collaborated with several central and local government organisations, including the Food Standards Agency, local authorities and Department of Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs.
Gary Schwarz researches how organizations and individuals can improve their performance, levels of innovation, and the applicability of various leadership approaches (e.g., public, transformational, participative, servant, ethical, entrepreneurial, etc.) in the strategy process. He has been appointed as a member of the Editorial Board of Public Administration Review, a world-leading journal for public administration research, theory, and practice.