PAR Preview ▪ Issue 27 ▪ December 2013
PAR Preview is a monthly newsletter that calls attention to forthcoming articles in PAR. It provides brief summaries of content now available digitally in Early View, Wiley’s online publication system.
Cultivating Public Service Motivation through AmeriCorps Service: A Longitudinal Study
The public service motivation literature has helped scholars and practitioners better understand who is attracted to public service and why. However, little is understood about how public service motivation in individuals may be cultivated or how it changes over time. Kevin D. Ward (Seattle University) uses panel data collected by the Corporation for National and Community Service to track the longitudinal effects of participation in the AmeriCorps national service program on participants’ public service motivation. Findings reveal that participation in AmeriCorps programs had positive effects on participants’ levels of commitment to the public interest and civic awareness immediately after the program; many of these program effects were sustained seven years later. However, when observed in isolation, the comparison group showed significant declines in levels of commitment to public interest and civic awareness over an eight-year period, suggesting that public service motivation may initially decline upon entry into a public service career. Link to PAR Early View.
Public Values in Public–Private Partnerships
Although public–private partnerships (PPPs) are frequently analyzed and lauded in terms of efficiency, their impact on public values is often neglected. As a result, there is little empirical evidence supporting or rejecting the claim that PPPs have a negative effect on public values. Anne-Marie Reynaers’s (VU University Amsterdam, the Netherlands) case study provides valuable insight into the relationship between public values in PPPs and the circumstances affecting the degree to which public values are upheld. Research findings demonstrate that whether public values are at stake in PPPs cannot be answered with a simple yes or no. Rather, public values can be threatened, safeguarded, or even strengthened depending on the project phase and the specific facet of the public value under scrutiny. Insight into which circumstances influence the safeguarding of public values in DBFMO (design–build–finance–maintain–operate) projects unravels the strengths and weaknesses of PPPs in terms of public values, providing public managers with a starting point for optimization. Link to PAR Early View.
Managing Politics? Ethics Regulation and Conflicting Conceptions of “Good Conduct”
Concern for fostering trust in public institutions has prompted many governments to invest in systems of ethics regulation, embracing various dimensions of good governance. Richard Cowell, James Downe (Cardiff University, United Kingdom), and Karen Morgan (University of Bristol, United Kingdom) assess the impact of ethics regulation on the conduct of English local politicians using Foucauldian perspectives on government, power, and resistance. The research finds that ethics regulation encountered problems when politicians resisted the models of political identity and behavior that it was perceived to promote. Particular concentrations of misconduct complaints were identified in which politicians believed that changes to political management structures, designed to make local governance more effective, caused a loss of voice for elected representatives. Ethics regulation itself sometimes served as a device for controlling others and effecting resistance. The article concludes with reflections on how far we should expect political conduct to be managed by such regulatory practices. Link to PAR Early View.
Sonia M. Ospina and Rogan Kersh, Editors
Assessing 20 Years of Charter School Performance
Michael Thomas Duffy (Great Oaks Foundation) reviews Choices and Challenges: Charter School Performance in Perspective (2013) by Priscilla Wohlstetter, Joanna Smith, and Caitlin C. Farrell. According to Duffy, the book is a balanced volume that scrupulously includes the perspectives of charter critics and advocates alike. Furthermore, Duffy claims that the authors have written a book that evenhandedly summarizes the studies done over the last two decades. In doing so, they have provided a handy companion to policy makers and students of education alike that points the way toward the research that needs to be done to help us answer some of the questions that remain about charters and the degree to which they have fulfilled their promise. Link to PAR Early View.