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Governing by Network: The New Shape of the Public Sector [Paperback]

by Stephen Goldsmith, William D. Eggers
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

November 2, 2004 0815731299 978-0815731290

A fundamental, but mostly hidden, transformation is happening in the way public services are being delivered, and in the way local and national governments fulfill their policy goals. Government executives are redefining their core responsibilities away from managing workers and providing services directly to orchestrating networks of public, private, and nonprofit organizations to deliver the services that government once did itself. Authors Stephen Goldsmith and William D. Eggers call this new model "governing by network" and maintain that the new approach is a dramatically different type of endeavor that simply managing divisions of employees. Like any changes of such magnitude, it poses major challenges for those in charge. Faced by a web of relationships and partnerships that increasingly make up modern governance, public managers must grapple with skill-set issues (managing a contract to capture value); technology issues (incompatible information systems); communications issues (one partner in the network, for example, might possess more information than another); and cultural issues (how interplay among varied public, private, and nonprofit sector cultures can create unproductive dissonance). Go verning by Network examines for the first time how managers on both sides of the aisle, public and private, are coping with the changes. Drawing from dozens of case studies, as well as established best practices, the authors tell us what works and what doesn't. Here is a clear roadmap for actually governing the networked state for elected officials, business executives, and the broader public.

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Editorial Reviews


"The professional quality of Goldsmith's and Eggers' work is easily measured by the knowledgeable integration of the leading literature into their analysis and their refreshing humility in crediting superior authorities for vital knowledge and insights." —Chester A. Newland, Public Administration Review

"...practical guide, based on real-life examples from dozens of pioneering government agencies... accessible and well-researched book.... But it is the second half of the book, which focuses on the tools and insights needed to create and manage successful networks, that is must-read material for reform-minded Democrates." —Marc Porter Magee, Director of the Center for Civic Enterprise, Progressive Policy Institute, Blueprint Magazine, 12/13/2004

"Governing by Network is largely a how-to handbook for those considering networking within and outside government organizations." —James McNiven, Dalhousie University, Canadian Journal of Administrative Sciences

"The definitive book on managing government in the networked age." —Anthony A. Williams, Mayor of Washington, D.C.

"Goldsmith and Eggers offer a penetrating and insightful treatment of how to make the new collaborative and networked approach to government actually work. We are in the process of rewriting the rules of public management, and this book is a major contribution." —Michael E. Porter, Harvard Business School

"I would...recommend a readthrough for managers embarking or planning networks. The book is a good read and formatted for picking up good pointers." —Kenneth D. Mitchell, The Public Manager

"Governing by Network is especially recommended for political leaders, political science teachers, political science students, and school library collections for its invaluable contribution to observing dramatic shifts in leadership and day-to-day practice requirements." —Able Greenspan, Reviewer's Bookwatch, 3/1/2005

"The reader will find that there are two books included within this well-written and well-organized volume: The first is a superb handbook about how to manage in a complex environment confronting today's public managers; the second is a collection of the usual critiques of contemporary government administration...Goldsmith and Eggers's Governing by Network makes an important contribution to the literature of public management and helps build the base of knowledge available to network managers. It provides guidance on how to form networks, how to select network partners, and how to operate networks productively." —Steven Cohen, Director of MPA Program in Environmental Science and Policy, Columbia University, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management

"Using examples from both inside and outside the United States, the authors help the reader understand the attributes of successful and unsuccessful networks and provide lessons learned for government managers who are facing or will soon face the realities of governing by network....The recommendations in this book provide timely and useful advice on how to manage this emerging paradigm of government management." —Najla Mamou, GFOA's Research and Consulting Centre, Government Finance Review

"Just as the twentieth century was the era of the large public bureaucracy, the twenty-first is likely to be the ear of the public-private network. Goldsmith and Eggers provide a clear and lively guide to the new terrain, offering concrete advice to public sector managers and elected officials on how to grapple with performance and accountability challenges." —Alasdair S. Roberts, Director, Campbell Public Affairs Institute, Maxwell School of Syracuse University

"In GOVERNING BY NETWORK, Goldsmith and Eggers answer one of the most important public policy questions of our time: how public officials can achieve results and ensure accountability to citizens in an age in which government relies more and more on partners to do the public's business." —Edward G. Rendell, Governor of Pennsylvania

"Goldsmith and Eggers, two of America's most innovative policy thinkers, show how the networking trend is transforming government. This book is a must read for anyone concerned with how to make government better and more cost effective." —Mitt Romney, Governor of Massachusetts

About the Author

Stephen Goldsmith is the Daniel Paul Professor of Government and director of the Innovations in American Government Program at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. He is also chair of the Corporation for National and Community Service, and he served two terms as mayor of Indianapolis. William D. Eggers is the executive director of Deloitte's Public Leadership Institute, the global director at Deloitte Research, Public Sector, and a contributing writer to Public CIO magazine. A nationally recognized expert on government reform, he is coauthor of Revolution at the Roots: Making Our Government Smaller, Better, and Closer to Home (Free Press, 1995).

Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Brookings Institution Press and the Innovations in American Government Program at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University (November 2, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0815731299
  • ISBN-13: 978-0815731290
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #345,977 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clearly outlines what works in a networked state March 14, 2005
Written by former politician Stephen Goldsmith and global director of Deloitte Research, Public Sector William D. Eggers, Governing by Network: The New Shape of the Public Sector exposes a largely hidden but nonetheless monumental transformation in the manner that public services are delivered and local and national governments fulfill their policy goals. Dubbed "governing by network", it presents great challenges to those in charge: skill-set issues (managing a contract to capture value); technology issues (keeping information systems compatible with one another); communications issues; cultural issues (including differences between public, private and nonprofit sector cultures) and much more. Governing by Network clearly outlines what works in a networked state and what is a recipe for failure, using case studies as well as firmly established practices. Chapters focus on achieving the goals of efficiency and effectiveness in the constantly changing and increasingly technological 21st century. Governing by Network is especially recommended for political leaders, political science teachers, political science students, and school library collections for its invaluable contribution to observing dramatic shifts in leadership and day-to-day practice requirements.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Public Private Business Connection January 15, 2006
The average citizen may not notice it, but government is rapidly changing. Nongovernment workers are now delivering services that the government used to deliver as recently as a decade ago. As public policy specialists, authors Stephen Goldsmith and William Eggers know this area well. Their book is full of dense organizational descriptions, which come to life only when they use real-world examples. Fortunately, they do so often, presenting interesting facts and case studies. Still, this book is intended for serious students of public policy and government. Numerous checklists bog it down and may not be practical to use. We recommend it to public officials, policy-makers and citizens who want to understand trends in government and the ways that governing by network is changing the political scene.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I passed my MPA with this book April 6, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Great information. I studied this book for my MPA exam and I am happy to say that I passed and graduate in May. Most of the information for my exam was found in this book and it is totally spot on. I have worked in civil services since the late 1980s and this book reflects all the changes that have gone on in public service.
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