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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Tale of Three Metaphors
Three metaphors guide this excellent little book. The "Old Public Administration" featured the metaphor of "rowing." As the authors put it (page 169): ". . .the purpose of government was simply to deliver services efficiently, and that problems were to be addressed primarily by changing the organization's structure and control systems." The "rowing" refers to the hard...
Published on January 30, 2007 by Steven A. Peterson

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Annoying read...
This book is a text book for a public administration graduate course. I don't particularly enjoy reading it, as it seems to just repeat itself over and over again.

Updated 6/2013: I've now had this text assigned for three separate courses. The most frustrating part of this book, as someone who works in public administration, is that it is idealistic and in...
Published on November 23, 2011 by Tina Pruett


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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Tale of Three Metaphors, January 30, 2007
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Steven A. Peterson (Hershey, PA (Born in Kewanee, IL)) - See all my reviews
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Three metaphors guide this excellent little book. The "Old Public Administration" featured the metaphor of "rowing." As the authors put it (page 169): ". . .the purpose of government was simply to deliver services efficiently, and that problems were to be addressed primarily by changing the organization's structure and control systems." The "rowing" refers to the hard work of public administration delivering services.

The "New Public Management" uses a different metaphor, "steering." The authors note (page 13): "They are urged to 'steer, not row,' meaning they should not assume the burden of service delivery themselves, but, wherever possible, should define programs that others would then carry out, through contracting or other such relationships. . . .New Public Management [NPM] relies heavily on market mechanisms to guide public programs."

And, finally, the preferred metaphor of the Denhardts, "serving." Their "New Public Service" would focus on "listening" to and "serving" the public. They observe that NPM forgets who owns the boat. That is, government belongs to the people, not the "steerers"; ". . .public administrators should focus on their responsibility to serve and empower citizens as they manage public organizations and implement public policy." (page 23).

One of the more interesting themes that are addressed in this volume: NPM looks at people as customers and tries to figure out how best to make consumers satisfied; the authors of this volume argue that we are to serve citizens, not create satisfied customers. In a democracy, citizenship means something and the people should be engaged through the New Public Service. With its market-oriented perspective, according to the authors, NPM does not consider citizenship as a critical factor.

This is a well written and thought provoking essay, well worth reading by those interested in contemporary public administration, by the idea of public service, and by those wondering how democracy can thrive in a complex organizational world.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Annoying read..., November 23, 2011
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This book is a text book for a public administration graduate course. I don't particularly enjoy reading it, as it seems to just repeat itself over and over again.

Updated 6/2013: I've now had this text assigned for three separate courses. The most frustrating part of this book, as someone who works in public administration, is that it is idealistic and in someways presents an ideal without any practical implementation. There are some good ideas, and theoretical arguments presented, but it lacks any tangible suggestions for implementing change. Anyone can suggest lofty ideas and reform, but without any indications on how to make this theory relevant and implementable, it remains one of my least favorite books read in my graduate program.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The New Public Service: Serving, Not Steering, September 26, 2008
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J. Guetschow (Blissfield MI USA) - See all my reviews
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This is required reading for a graduate level Master in Public Administration course. It appears to provide a framework for current principles of public administration with a historical context culminating in service. The expanded edition provides an even more up-to-date application in the concluding chapter.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspires you to want to do better..., March 21, 2009
As a public servant, this book has inspired me to be better at my job. My dedication to "serving our democracy" is renewed after reading this book.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Easy read, but slightly boring, December 18, 2012
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As I indicated in the headline, this book is an easy read, which is good as the material is easy to comprehend. However, the authors didn't do so great in the area of making the material interesting to hold one's interest. I had to read this book as part of my MPA program. If I wasn't in this program, I would not have selected this book. I have read better books...sorry.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Thought Provoking Book, January 31, 2012
This review is from: The New Public Service: Serving, Not Steering (Paperback)
I'm not going to write a lengthy review, I just want to say that this book really made me think about the changing nature of public administration and about what is important in government service. I think the underlying theme of citizen responsibility is extremely important and many of the book's other themes resinated. If you want a different perspective about government service, definitely check it out!
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5.0 out of 5 stars I found this book is worth buying and the concept is excellent for my research, October 23, 2014
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This review is from: The New Public Service: Serving, Not Steering (Paperback)
This is the new and modern concept of Public Service. I found this book is worth buying and the concept is excellent for my research.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Policy book, August 28, 2014
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Steven Warren (Alexandria, VA United States) - See all my reviews
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Probably useful for policy wonks. Wife got it for a class.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A class essential, February 6, 2013
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This review is from: The New Public Service: Serving, Not Steering (Paperback)
The is great condition. It was as if I bought brand new. it is additional required reading and I am not too happy about it but for the most part glad to have it
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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome, February 8, 2011
First time ordering books online and was amazed at how quickly I received it and how for being a used book it was in great condition.
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The New Public Service: Serving, Not Steering
The New Public Service: Serving, Not Steering by Janet Vinzant Denhardt (Paperback - April 17, 2011)
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