Donald F. Kettl
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About Donald F. Kettl
Donald F. Kettl
Donald F. Kettl is professor and former dean in the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland. He is also a nonresident senior fellow at the Volcker Alliance and at the Brookings Institution.
Kettl is the author or editor of a many books and monographs, including Escaping Jurassic Government: Restoring America’s Lost Commitment to Competence (2016), System under Stress: The Challenge to 21st Century American Democracy Homeland Security and American Politics (2014), The Politics of the Administrative Process (2015), The Next Government of the United States: Why Our Institutions Fail Us and How to Fix Them (2008), and The Global Public Management Revolution (2005). He has twice won the Louis Brownlow Book Award of the National Academy of Public Administration for the best book published in public administration. In 2008, Kettl won the American Political Science’s John Gaus Award for a lifetime of exemplary scholarship in political science and public administration. He was awarded the Warner W. Stockberger Achievement Award of the International Public Management Association for Human Resources in 2007 for outstanding contributions in the field of public sector personnel management.
He holds a PhD in political science from Yale University. Prior to his appointment at the University of Maryland, he taught at the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University, the University of Virginia, Vanderbilt University, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is a fellow of Phi Beta Kappa and the National Academy of Public Administration.
Kettl has consulted broadly for government organizations at all levels, in the United States and abroad. He has appeared frequently in national and international media, including National Public Radio, Good Morning America, the ABC World News Tonight, the NBC Nightly News, the CBS Evening News, CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360” and “The Situation Room,” the Fox News Channel, the Huffington Post, Al Jazeera, as well as public television’s News Hour and the BBC. He is a regular columnist for Governing magazine, which is read by state and local government officials around the country. He chaired two gubernatorial blue-ribbon commissions for the Wisconsin state government, one on campaign finance reform and the other on government structure and finance. Kettl is a co-shareholder of the Green Bay Packers, along with his wife, Sue.
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Titles By Donald F. Kettl
—Brian Bulla, Appalachian State University
Efficient public administration requires a delicate balance—the bureaucracy must be powerful enough to be effective, but also accountable to elected officials and citizens. Donald F. Kettl understands that the push and pull of political forces in a democracy make the functions of bureaucracy contentious, but no less crucial. Politics of the Administrative Process gives students a realistic, relevant, and well-researched view of the field while remaining reader-friendly with engaging vignettes and rich examples. With a unique focus on policymaking and politics, the Eighth Edition continues its strong emphasis on politics, accountability, and performance.
This book exposes the reality that our twentieth-century government is no match for twenty-first-century problems and proposes a solution.
In this timely and compelling book, Donald F. Kettl demonstrates how the process of governance has fallen out of sync with the problems the government is trying to solve. Pick almost any recent domestic concern—waging a war, protecting our food supply and borders, providing health-care coverage for an aging population or relief after a devastating hurricane—and the standard response is to outsource most of the core tasks to thousands of independent contractors. The government foots the bill, but this strategy provides neither leadership nor accountability. Without anyone in charge, who can formulate innovative solutions to the increasingly complex problems the government faces? Kettl has answers, explaining with precision and clarity how a twenty-first century government must function in order to provide real solutions to the policy problems that face the United States.
Why federalism is pulling America apart—and how the system can be reformed
Federalism was James Madison's great invention. An innovative system of power sharing that balanced national and state interests, federalism was the pragmatic compromise that brought the colonies together to form the United States. Yet, even beyond the question of slavery, inequality was built into the system because federalism by its very nature meant that many aspects of an American's life depended on where they lived. Over time, these inequalities have created vast divisions between the states and made federalism fundamentally unstable. In The Divided States of America, Donald Kettl chronicles the history of a political system that once united the nation—and now threatens to break it apart.
Exploring the full sweep of federalism from the founding to today, Kettl focuses on pivotal moments when power has shifted between state and national governments—from the violent rebalancing of the Civil War, when the nation almost split in two, to the era of civil rights a century later, when there was apparent agreement that inequality was a threat to liberty and the federal government should set policies for states to enact. Despite this consensus, inequality between states has only deepened since that moment. From health care and infrastructure to education and the environment, the quality of public services is ever more uneven. Having revealed the shortcomings of Madison's marvel, Kettl points to possible solutions in the writings of another founder: Alexander Hamilton.
Making an urgent case for reforming federalism, The Divided States of America shows why we must—and how we can—address the crisis of American inequality.
In the third edition of his award-winning System under Stress, Donald Kettl looks at the latest stress to hit the system—the financial crisis of 2008. In his brief, gripping narrative, Kettl assesses how well the U.S. political system responds under extraordinary pressure and explores whether the government can effectively handle the next challenge. A well-known scholar, commentator, and writer in the areas of federalism and governance, Kettl asks the hard questions, and while making a credible and persuasive argument, crafts a case study that works in classrooms up and down the political science and public administration curriculum.
In earlier editions, Kettl looked at the massive reorganization under the Department of Homeland Security, a response to the system-wide coordination problems brought to light on 9/11. Better planning, new leadership, and far-reaching reform were to demonstrate that the government would be prepared for the next disaster. Sadly, the catastrophic response to Hurricane Katrina showed how this restructuring did not bring about the long-term policy changes necessary for dealing with threats of this size. In this new edition, Kettl assesses the havoc created by "too big to fail" banks, and even ordinary home buyers, borrowing well beyond their means. Regulators were no match for the banks′ speculative betting and highly complicated financial investments. Is the government now better prepared to combat fiscal malfeasance? Can our regulatory structure effectively predict and manage future financial crises?
An updated edition of the classic text on public administration presents practical steps for managing government effectively in an age of hyperpartisanship.
Co-winner of the Louis Brownlow Book Award from the National Academy of Public Administration
The traditional theory of public administration is based on entrenched notions of hierarchy and authority. However, as the structure of public work has grown less hierarchical, managers have adopted a wide variety of non-authoritarian strategies. This growing gap between theoretical ideas and actual practice poses enormous challenges for front-line leaders struggling to deal with ever-larger expectations and ever-tighter budgets—and for American government in determining how best to hold public administrators accountable for their performance.
The Transformation of Governance offers a new framework for reconciling effective administration with the requirements of democratic government. Instead of thinking in terms of organizational structure and management, Donald F. Kettl suggests, administrators and theorists need to focus on governance, or the links between government and its broader environment—political, social, and administrative—through which social action occurs.
In this updated edition, a new epilogue shows Kettl urging political leaders to step back from the political barricades of hyperpartisanship to consider government’s contemporary dilemma: Is there any practical way forward for public administrators to manage government effectively? Reinforcing the ten principles of bridge building which he developed in the original book, Kettl adds an eleventh, which lays out five transformative strategies: redefining public law to promote public accountability; re-conceptualizing government agencies as instruments of leverage; launching government leaders as boundary spanners; using information technology for building authority and trust; and incorporating performance management into processes that drive collaboration.
With a new preface from Michael Nelson, editor of the Interpreting American Politics series, this award-winning book will be sought out by public policymakers eager to read a leading scholar's newest insights into the field.
The Progressive government movement, founded on support from Republicans and Democrats alike, reined in corporate trusts and improved the lives of sweatshop workers. It created modern government, from the Federal Reserve to the nation’s budgetary and civil service policies, and most of the programs on which we depend.
Ask Americans today and they will tell you that our government has hit a wall of low performance and high distrust, with huge implications for governance in the country. Instead of a focus on government effectiveness, the movement that spawned the idea of government for the people has become known for creating a big government disconnected from citizens. Donald F. Kettl finds that both political parties have contributed to the decline of the Progressive ideal of a commitment to competence. They have both fed gridlock and created a government that does not work the way citizens expect and deserve.
Kettl argues for a rebirth of the original Progressive spirit, not in pursuit of bigger government but with a bipartisan dedication to better government, one that works on behalf of all citizens and that delivers services effectively. He outlines the problems in today’s government, including political pressures, proxy tools, and managerial failures. Escaping Jurassic Government details the strategies, evidence, and people that can strengthen governmental effectiveness and shut down gridlock.
Over the last quarter century, governments around the world have launched ambitious efforts to reform how they manage their programs. Citizens have demanded smaller, cheaper, more effective governments. They have also asked for more programs and better services. To resolve this paradox, governments have experimented with scores of ideas to be more productive, improve performance, and reduce costs. In this new edition of T he Global Public Management Revolution, Donald F. Kettl charts the basic models of reform that are being employed worldwide. Reviewing the standard strategies and tactics behind these reforms, Kettl identifies six common core ideas: the search for greater productivity; more public reliance on private markets; a stronger orientation toward service; more decentralization from national to subnational governments; increased capacity to devise and track public policy; and tactics to enhance accountability for results. Kettl predicts that reform and reinvention will likely become mantras for governments of all stripes. Ultimately, this strategy means coupling the reform impulse with governancegovernment's increasingly important relationship with civil society and the institutions that shape modern life.
–Junghack Kim, Wichita State University
Little Bites of Big Data for Public Policy brings to life the quest to make better policy with better evidence. This brief book frames the big puzzles and, through lively stories and clear examples, provides a valuable how-to guide for producing analysis that works—that speaks persuasively to policy makers, in the language they can best hear, on the problems for which they most need answers. Author Donald F. Kettl brings together the cutting-edge streams of data analytics and data visualization to frame the big puzzles and find ways to make the pieces fit together. By taking little bites of a wide variety of useful data, and then by analyzing it in ways that decision makers will find most helpful, analysts can be much more effective in shaping solutions to the most important problems governments face.
The Trump Presidency: Implications for Policy and Politics explains the stakes of rapidly unfolding political, governing, and policy changes introduced by the Trump administration. Perfect for American Government courses, this timely supplement takes a critical look at cases and issues shaping today’s political environment and uses them as a framework to help students navigate through the dynamic, and often dramatic, changes the United States and the world are experiencing.
- Case studies analyze Trump presidency executive orders to offer students practical examples of core American government concepts to explain how regulations are created and changed.
- "Action exercises" help students think critically about the current political environment and possible outcomes to the policies President Trump wants to create or change.
Using the Bible as my structural outline, I have, with much imagination, charted the story of the spirit world, as angels, demons, God, and Satan struggle to claim ownership of the human race. The climax of this age-old battle is the appearance of Gods champion, Jesus, and the solution He alone offers to each one of us. The story begins in eternity past and concludes in eternity yet to come. I hope you can identify yourself somewhere in the stream of traffic, and, in the knowledge of the accomplishment Gods Champion made real, you can with thanksgiving write a personal postscript, And we lived happily ever after.
LEADERSHIP STRATEGIES BEHIND ONE OF THE MOST POPULAR PRESIDENTS IN HISTORY
How the Commander-in-Chief commands
George W. Bush has surprised even his harshest critics with his leadership talents and discipline. As this country's first MBA president, Bush formed his unique leadership style managing businesses, not government offices. Team Bush is the first book to explore these unique methods and tactics he has employed to become one of the nation's most popular commanders in chief in recent history.
From "hiring" the most diverse and effective cabinets in history, to dealing with the crisis and war sparked by the events of September 11th, this compelling leadership book takes readers into the mind and methods of America's 43rd president, and shows managers how these methods can be used to boost productivity in their own organizations.
This fast-paced book pulls no punches as it showcases President Bush's successes and strengths while detailing his mistakes and weaknesses. Focusing on the actual events and outcomes of Bush's first two years in office, it discusses:
- The strategy behind Bush's coup in the mid-term election
- Lessons learned from his managing of the September 11th crisis
- How Bush recognizes and learns from his very public mistakes