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The dog that didn't bark: How public managers handle environmental shocks

Meier, Kenneth John and O'Toole, Laurence 2009. The dog that didn't bark: How public managers handle environmental shocks. Public Administration 87 (3) , pp. 485-502. 10.1111/j.1467-9299.2009.01773.x

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Purpose - Explores organisational responses to unpleasant shocks from their environment - sizeable and mostly unexpected budget cuts - to estimate the performance impacts of the drop in resources and identify how managers respond to try to stabilise operations. Design/methodology/approach - Looks at the literature on public management, environmental shocks and performance and describes a statistical model of management and performance. Explains the sample used (the Texas school district), how shocks were measured and the performance indicators and control variables used. Provides an analysis of the impact of a 10% or greater budget shock on organisational performance and the impact on other indicators of performance. Discusses the budgeting actions of superintendents in redistributing funds to core functions, reducing core costs and support tasks and seeking less expensive core personnel. Findings - Shows that such budgetary shocks have only limited or no negative impacts on performance in the short term and that the most salient policy objective and production for more disadvantaged clientele are especially insulated with more peripheral activities and capital investment sacrificed. Research limitations/implications - Considers that whether short-term protection comes at the expense of longer-term losses and whether effective management of such shocks weakens the case for adequate budgets remain to be investigated. Originality/value - Illustrates how organisations cope with budget cuts.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 0033-3298
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 05:11

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