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Edited by Pietro Mazzola and Franz W. Kellermanns
Chapter 23: Public Sector and Strategic Management: The Case Study at the US Army Corps of Engineers
* Anil Patel INTRODUCTION Many scholars (Chakravarthy and Doz, 1992; Huff and Reger, 1987; Pettigrew, 1992) have written extensively about strategic processes in private sector firms. But recently, scholars from the field of strategy and organization management have challenged researchers to begin taking public sector organizations more seriously (see Academy of Management Journal, Special Issue, December 2005). According to Hambrick (2005: 961), ‘as management scholars, it is our job – collectively – to know more than anyone else about how organizations work and how they can be improved . . . For the sake of society we mustn’t just pass our knowledge around among ourselves. We must step out of our monastery.’ Using Hambrick (2005) as our guide, I ventured outside the ‘monastery’ to examine how a federal government organization adopts strategic management concepts. Despite these calls, there is little evidence that the academic community has heeded these challenges, as can be inferred from the lack of publications in the most prominent management journals. Within the public sector literature, the philosophical underpinnings to policies regarding managing the organization have been drawn from the writings of Dewey (1948) and other researchers such as Kaplan (1974) and Lasswell and Kaplan (1950) from the public policy field. To focus on strategic management, Kelman (2005: 69) states that ‘the traditional field called public administration and a new one called public management is relatively primitive in its research methods’. Therefore, solving complicated management problems in the public sector requires drawing from business researchers. Despite this background, a thorough examination of the...
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