Public Service

In: Other Topics

Submitted By ossdd12
Words 9438
Pages 38
Philip H. Jos College of Charleston Mark E. Tompkins University of South Carolina

Keeping It Public: Defending Public Service Values in a Customer Service Age

New Ideas for Improving Public Administration

Notwithstanding the persistence and proliferation of to the breaking point with a RAND Corporation calls to serve “customers,” these relationships incorporate study that exhorted the military to engage in “customdistinctively public priorities and performance er-informed decision-making” and to work on instillexpectations—priorities and expectations often shaped ing “customer satisfaction” in Afghanistan (Helmus, by a desire to reduce customer vulnerabilities and Paul, and Glenn 2007). prevent seller strategies that are deemed unacceptable. The authors examine these distinctively public The persistence of the customer metaphor in the relationships—between professionals and clients, face of substantial criticism suggests that a far more guardians and wards, facilitators fundamental reassessment of and citizens, and regulators the relationship between public The persistence of the customer administrators and those they and subjects. By acknowledging serve is required. Our examinathat public administration metaphor in the face of tion finds that the vulnerabilioften involves relationships with substantial criticism suggests multiple constituencies and that ties of those treated as “customthat a far more fundamental opportunities to serve them are ers,” and the problems raised reassessment of the relationship bounded by particular legal and by common seller strategies, are between public administrators institutional contexts, this essay more serious than is typically and those they serve is required. understood, and they often provides a pragmatic account of require political and administrastrategic opportunities to defend tive remedies. The very origins public…...

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