ABSTRACT. To examine how public servants are depicted in film, I discuss the changes over time of Batman's Commissioner Gordon, particularly his character arc in the contemporary The Dark Knight trilogy. An important aspect of Gordon's evolution is in contrast to the films' other prominent public servant, District Attorney Harvey Dent. The Gordon-Dent contrast illustrates aspects of the Friedrich-Finer debate over administrative discretion, a classic debate in public administration. The trilogy's verdict on public service is mixed: the flawed, rule-bending, expedient public servant survives while the fabricated hero is a sham. Commissioner Gordon is far more interesting than he had been for decades, but is he just an expedient bureaucrat ultimately pursuing self preservation? In contrast, the (pre-villain)
Harvey Dent, who refuses to compromise his principles, is ultimately undone by his absolutism. For the complexity of his character and its centrality to the plot, I judge the depiction of Commissioner Gordon—warts and all—to be better than simplistic caricatures of bureaucrats and promising for future public servants in film.
ABSTRACT. Using the Steers and Rhodes (1978) model of absenteeism behavior, this paper examines ability to attend and attendance motivation factors for public and non-profit managers. Attendance motivation factors utilized in this study include public service motivation, job satisfaction, and organizational commitment. T-tests and OLS regressions suggest that there are significant differences between absenteeism in the public and non-profit sectors and between genders. The results also suggest that organizational commitment, especially in terms of stakeholdership, is negatively associated with absenteeism. Perceptions of flexibility are found to be positively associated with the number of days missed.
ABSTRACT. The zombie-plague apocalypse is a powerful social imaginary that focuses attention on the border between legitimate citizens and zombie "others." The surge in the number of zombie apocalypse films provides an illuminating area for studying the role imagined for public administration by popular culture. The response to zombies in apocalyptic films brings to fore new realities with the re-conceptualization of the legitimacy and authority of government. This re-conceptualization provides content for analyzing the portrayal of existing governmental institutions overwhelmed by the apocalypse, including local governments, the military, public health agencies, emergency services, and public utilities, as well as the governance structures that emerge to organize collective action once formal governmental institutions disintegrate. We explore these concepts using an iterative coding process and content analysis of 13 apocalyptic zombie films.
ABSTRACT. This paper addresses the question of the underlying causes for persistent parallel structures in public administration. Frames like bounded rationality, the budget-maximizing bureaucrat and the political theory of hegemony are examined with respect to the possible provision of explanations for the persistence of parallel administrations. A combination of content analysis and objective hermeneutics is then applied for a case study of parallel administration in Switzerland. A model linking the three approaches is finally developed to show how parallel administration relies on an equilibrium in the struggle for budget and hegemony between the key actors and on ignorance among fringe actors.
ABSTRACT. Interorganizational committees make decisions that apply to various organizations and their members are representatives of these organizations. This paper examines how interorganizational committee members' perceptions of noninstrumental voice, instrumental voice, and decision outcome favorability are related to their committee identification, helping behavior, and perception of go-along-to-get-ahead political behavior. Questionnaire data from 197 Pennsylvania tax collection committee members were analyzed with regression. Of primary interest, perceived instrumental voice had a unique relationship with all three committee-referenced reactions, while perceived noninstrumental voice was not uniquely related to any of them. These results suggest that interorganizational committee members react to voice for instrumental reasons related to perceived influence over other members rather than noninstrumental reasons concerning their committee status.