1. Using “Agency Stakeholder,” describe the political field and the players in the administrator’s political force field.
2. What potential problems do you see arising when the private sector delivers a social service? What are the advantages of this approach to service delivery?
3. Some major social and economic innovations in the United States have begun with small-scale experiments on the state level. For example, Wyoming permitted women’s suffrage 50 years before the 19th Amendment was ratified. Can you think of the other examples? What current state experiments might one day be taken up by the federal government?
4. The fragmentation and redundancies of the U.S federal system are expensive in terms of coordination and personnel costs. Would you favor or oppose greater consolidation? Why or why not?
5. Public officials at all levels of government are frequently criticized for making shortsighted decisions. Elected officials may be accused of looking forward only as far as the next election and of placing narrow, parochial interests above the general welfare. To what extent is such criticism justified? Do you see any solution?
6. Unlike several European countries, the United States does not have a full-fledged national planning body. Nonetheless, a number of institutions, such as the Council of Economic Advisors, do have important planning functions. What other institutions would you say contribute to planning at the national level?
7. Suppose you were to build a model that would forecast the nationwide demand for nurses 20 years from now. As a start, you must make assumptions about population growth and the effects of new drugs. What else? Do you think the list of variables is endless? Support your answer.
8. Use the concept of opportunity cost to explain why lawyers are more likely than physicians to get involved in politics.
9. Not everyone is enchanted by ideas of empowerment and teamwork. For example, Richard Sennett, a sociologist at New York University, argues in The Corrosion of Character, that because teamwork relies on “the fiction of harmony,” it stresses mutual responsiveness at the expense of original thinking. Unity, he argues, requires that a team confine its members to specific tasks and superficial processes, without much reference to either the experience or “leader.” This obscures ordinary power relationships, a condition Sennett call “power without authority.” Above all, he says, the team prohibits conflict; thus, turning itself into a new form of domination. Do you agree or disagree? Why?
10. What are the advantages and disadvantages of using charts to illustrate organizational structure?
11. Mark Landstad, relatively new to CliffBank’s investment banking division, has a veteran teammate, Nicole Collins, who appears to be a reliable ally. However, when Mark needs her help in locating vital information for his part of a presentation they will be doing together, she feigns ignorance. During the meeting, Nicole produces that data out of the blue and wows the attendees with her analysis. Knocked off balance by the sabotage, Mark clumsily seeks advice from his boss, who is a brick wall when it comes to interpersonal dynamics. How should Mark deal with his backstabbing colleague? (Source: Bronwyn Fryer, “When Your Colleague is a Saboteur,” November, 2008 Harvard Business Review.)
12. In terms of Maslow’s hierarchy, what motivates you? How would you determine what motivates employees?
13. Identify some organization with which you are reasonably familiar. Describe what key elements would be needed in a performance appraisal form for managers. Would you weight the traits to determine a raw score? Why or why not? (Refer to pages 353-356 in the textbook.)
14. Diversity means having an inclusive workforce made up of people of different human qualities or who belong to various cultural groups. From the perspective of individuals, diversity means including people different from themselves along dimensions such as age, ethnicity, gender, or race. If you were a senior manager at an organization such as the FBI, CIA, or National Security Agency, how would you address the diversity issue?
15. Two kinds of taxes not explicitly mentioned in Figure 11.6 are luxury taxes (for example, taxes on furs, jewelry, boats, and airplanes) and sin taxes (for example, taxes on alcohol, tobacco, oil, gasoline, and firearms). What impacts, secondary as well as immediate, do you think each kind of tax has?
16. One response to revenue-raising limitations being placed on local government is to delete exemptions. In the textbook, P. S. Flores offers the following examples of welfare and charitable groups enjoying property-tax exemption: YMCA, fraternal clubs, chambers of commerce, labor unions, the American Legion, Masonic lodges, orphanages, humane societies, hospitals, and retirement and nursing homes. Which exemptions would you delete? How would you justify it?
Reference: Managing the Public Sector
Starling, G. (9th ed.). (2011). Managing the public sector. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.