Public management in the shadow of the constitution

Anthony Bertelli, Laurence E. Lynn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

An unresolved issue in American constitutional governance is the role of public officials in a Madisonian scheme of separated institutions sharing power. Proposed answers range from broad delegation with reliance on expertise and professionalism to minimal delegation with formal checks on official discretion. In between are various pragmatic or realist views that accept discretion as both necessary and inevitable and offer normative principles of administrative conduct to guard against official abuse of power. None of these answers, however, satisfies criteria of constitutional legitimacy. The authors argue that such criteria can be derived by combining insights from traditional, normative literatures of public administration and from positive political theory and political economics. If the role of public managers is defined as maintaining a credible commitment to performing their duties pursuant to a precept of managerial responsibility that incorporates accountability, judgment, balance, and rationality, then, the authors argue, the Madisonian scheme of government embraced in the Constitution is complete.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-57
Number of pages27
JournalAdministration and Society
Volume38
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2006

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public management
constitution
responsibility
political theory
public administration
rationality
pragmatics
legitimacy
expertise
manager
commitment
governance
economics
Discretion
Delegation
Public management
Constitution
professionalism
literature
abuse of power

Keywords

  • Bureaucracy
  • Managerial responsibility
  • Public administration
  • Public management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Marketing

Cite this

Public management in the shadow of the constitution. / Bertelli, Anthony; Lynn, Laurence E.

In: Administration and Society, Vol. 38, No. 1, 03.2006, p. 31-57.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Bertelli, Anthony ; Lynn, Laurence E. / Public management in the shadow of the constitution. In: Administration and Society. 2006 ; Vol. 38, No. 1. pp. 31-57.
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