Fred Riggs Symposium on Recognizing the Role of the Public Service and Re-Building Its Image

Sponsored by the Section on International and Comparative Administration
Atlanta | March 17, 2017

The crucial role of the public service has been recognized in all ages and nations, although the scope and extent of this role largely depended on historical contexts (colonial vs. postcolonial), developmental stages (developed vs. underdeveloped), and ideological inclinations (capitalism vs. socialism). Despite the limits and failures of the public service in many instances, as an integral part of the state, its role has been essential to address public needs and demands ranging from law and order to national security, market regulation to environmental protection, housing and healthcare to income generation, poverty eradication to nation-building, and so on. But with the global rise of neoliberal market ideology and the market-driven reconfiguration of the state since the 1980s, in most countries, the socioeconomic role of the public service came under serious challenge as the governments themselves began to embrace pro-market principles and policies, anti-public-sector strategies, and businesslike norms and standards, especially under the so-called New Public Management (NPM) framework and various revisionist post-NPM alternatives. This trend towards the diminishing role of the public service (or its facilitating role) has been reinforced often by the anti-bureaucratic rhetoric or bureaucrat-bashing by the political realm of the state. All these recent developments have not only eroded or redefined the role of the public service, but also seriously tarnished its public image, and thus, posed a challenge to its public trust and legitimacy.

On the other hand, more recently, there has emerged certain realization about the adverse implications of such diminished role and pejorative image of the public service for attracting and retaining talented officials, for employees’ commitment and morale, for the state’s capacity to deliver services, for public confidence in public institutions, and for citizens’ entitlements and welfare. In addition, the recent worsening conditions of occasional economic recession, violence and insecurity, and environmental disorders and natural disasters have led to greater recognition of the role of the public service in dealing with these unprecedented national and global crises. Moreover, in the developing world, there is a growing public demand for reconsidering and reinforcing the role of the public service to address problems such as poverty, inequality, and unemployment worsened but neglected by market-based solutions.

Considering the above contemporary scenarios—including the recent reform initiatives to reduce and redefine the role of the public service on the one hand, and the increasing needs and demands for reasserting its role on the other—the theme for the 2017 Riggs Symposium has been articulated as Recognizing the Role of the Public service and Re-building Its Image, which is in line with the general theme of ASPA's 2017 Annual Conference, Saluting the Public Service – A Bold and Noble Profession. More specifically, the forthcoming Riggs Symposium will cover, but is not limited to, the following questions or issues:

  • What is the significance of public service role? How has this role changed in recent decades? What are the main features or trends of this change?
  • What are the main causes or forces behind this changing role of the public service? Are there cross-regional or cross-national variations in such changes in public service role, especially in Western Europe and North America?
  • Is there any unique significance of public service role in developing countries compared to developed nations?
  • What role the public service should play in socioeconomic development and nation-building in Asian, African, and/or Latin American countries?
  • Why is there a need for the public service to play a leading role in addressing new human concerns such as economic recession, environmental disorder, and/or security threat?
  • What reform measures are needed to restore or revive an appropriate role of the public service to serve people with greater commitment and motivation?
  • How is it possible to share the role and responsibility of delivering services between the public service, the business sector, and non-state actors such as NGOs?
  • How can we adopt a greater role of the public service but with greater degree of integrity, responsibility, and accountability?

*The proposed papers can deal with any of the above questions conceptually, theoretically, and empirically. The focus of the paper can be on a specific public sector, the national-level public service, and/or a regional- or global-level comparative study.


Room A: Georgia 8
8:15 a.m. – 8:45 a.m.: Welcome

Susan T. Gooden, President, American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) and Virginia Commonwealth University
Gedeon M. Mudacumura, Chair of ASPA’s Section on International and Comparative Administration (SICA), Cheyney University
M. Shamsul Haque, Chair of the Riggs Symposium Coordinating Committee, National University of Singapore

9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
PANEL I: Redefining the Role of Public Service under Pro-market Reforms in Asia

M Shamsul Haque, National University of Singapore

Kilkon Ko, Seoul National University

M Shamsul Haque, National University of Singapore
Towards an Indirect Role of the Public Service: Trends and Implications in Southeast Asia
Kim Moloney, University of Miami
Structural Barriers to an Asian Century of Public Administration
Kilkon Ko and Kayoung Shin, Seoul National University
Why Citizens Have Negative Images on Public Service? Is It Because of Government Failure or Personal Traits?
Wilson Wong, Chinese University of Hong Kong
Role of the Public Service and Innovation and Technology Policy of Hong Kong: Promoting Science, Market or Rent- Seeking?
10:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
PANEL II: Governance & Community Development: Enhancing Communities and Democracy Simultaneously

Peter Haruna, Texas A & M International University

Atta Ceesay, SUNY - Buffalo State College

Ashley Nickels, Kent State University
Jason Rivera, SUNY Buffalo State
New Public Service and Community Development: Firmly Situating Community Development within the Field of Public Administration
Kirk Leach, Rowan University
Cross-Sector Community Partnerships and the Growing Importance of High Capacity Nonprofits in Urban Governance
William Hatcher, Augusta University
Cultivating Community Assets: Using Administrative Practices and Design to Better Communities
Colleen Casey, University of Texas at Arlington
Social Entrepreneurship: Opportunities and Challenges of Merging Community Development and Private Interests

2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
PANEL III: Comparing Public Service Delivery in Africa: Lessons Learned

Gedeon M. Mudacumura, Cheney University

Rym Kaki, University of Southern California

Atta Cessay, SUNY, Buffalo
Aminata Sillah, Towson University
Decentralization and Challenges of Public Sector Reform in The Gambia

Genevieve Enid Meyers, University of Detroit Mercy
Decentralization and Public Service Delivery in Uganda

George Atisa, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
Aziza Zemrani, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
Role of Public Service in Socio-economic Development in Kenya and Morocco

Peter Haruna, Texas A & M International University
 Akamboe Ayirebasia, Miller Institute of Transdisciplinary Studies, Ghana
Development Management from a Participatory Methodology Perspective: Issues and Experiences in Ghana’s Rural and Semi-Rural Communities

3:45 p.m. – 5:35 p.m.
PANEL IV: Role of National & International Non-profit Organizations in Governance

Yijia Jing, Fudan University

Jeanne-Marie Col, John Jay College, CUNY

Yijia Jing,  Fudan University and Hao Wang
Dual Identity and Nonprofit Contracting with Governments
Darkhan Zhiyenbay, Bolashak Center for International Program, Kazakhstan
Untaken Opportunities: When Governance is Unaware of Vast Agribusiness Benefiy
Kelly Ann Krawczyk, Auburn University
The Impact of US-Based INGO Funding to Sub-Saharan Africa: Recent Trends and Developments
Ralph Brower, Florida State University (co-authored)
 On ‘learn-how’ professionalism in a developing nation context: City planners, disaster risk reduction management, and poor communities in Metro Manila

Room B: Macon
9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
PANEL I: Continuing with the Public Service: Reforms, Innovations, and Contributions

Raymond Cox, University of Akron

Veronica Junjan, University of Twente, Netherlands

Alikhan Baimenov,  Regional Hub of Civil Service in Astana, Kazakhstan (co-authored):
The Practical Implications for Development of Trends in Public Administration Reform around the World
Raymond Cox, University of Akron
Why am I steering, if there is no one rowing?” Reaffirming the positive contribution of government initiatives
Mehmet Akif Demircioglu, Indiana University-Bloomington
Analyzing Reforms and Innovations in the Australian Government: Recognizing the Role of the Public Service for Innovations
George Vernardakis, Middle Tennessee State University
Public Policy Making in France According to Participant Perceptions

10:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
PANEL II: Challenges to Public Sector Role: Ethics, Integrity and Corruption

Kim Moloney, University of Miami

Meghna Sabharwal, University of Texas

Meghna Sabharwal, University of Texas-Dallas
Charlene M. L. Roach, University of West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad & Tobago
Wayne Charles-Soverall, University of the West Indies, Barbados
Ethics and Organizational Performance: A Comparative Perspective from a Caribbean Study
Can Chen, Florida International University
Does Fiscal Transparency Reduce Corruption? A Cross-Country Panel Data Analysis
Anthony S. Kumase, Farhad Hossain
Aminu Mamman, University of Manchester
Examining Dysfunctional Behaviours in the Ghanaian Public Service: Can Spirituality and Ethics offer Solution?
Ranesh Sivnarain, University of KwaZulu-Natal
Ignatius Ferreira, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
Oversight is Essential to Ensure Ethical Leadership and Sound Governance

2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
PANEL III: Network, Communication and Cooperation in Public Management

Heidi J. Smith, Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico

Wilson Wong, Chinese University of Hong Kong

Shawn Benaine, Florida International University
Prosocial Networks: Defining the Role of Public Service in Education
Heidi Jane Smith, Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico
City Networks and Para- Diplomacy Creating New Global Public Policy
Filip Hruza, Masaryk University
Benefits and Drawbacks of Inter-municipal Cooperation: A Case Study of Czech Republic
Tengfei Yang, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, China
Research on Micro Communication of Foreign Institutions and Figures in China

3:45 p.m. – 5:15 p.m.
PANEL IV: Performance, Strategic Management & Policy in Public Organization

Veronica Junjan, University of Twente, Netherlands

Demetrios Argyriades, John Jay College, CUNY

Genevieve Meyers, University of Detroit Mercy
Public Service Performance Enhancement Strategies in Developing Countries: South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda Compared
Veronica Junjan, University of Twente, Netherlands
Performance measurement as component of strategic management. Preliminary results of a Dutch case study
Vaiva Kalesnikaite, Florida International University
The Multiple Roles of Public Administrators in Florida’s Efforts of Adapt to Climate Change
Wang, Xue-ren, Sichuan Academy of Social Sciences, China
The construction of public policy support system in the development of cultural and creative industries: Taking Chengdu city as an example