wk 7: Discussion: Leadership in Public Policy

Discussion: Leadership in Public PolicyEffective leadership is essential to successful democratic governance. Different leaders have different styles. Ghandi and Martin Luther King Jr. preached passive resistance, whereas Dwight Eisenhower commanded one of the greatest military forces ever assembled. Nelson Mandela preached forgiveness. All of these men shared a love of peace and accomplished great deeds. Strong leaders also may have a great impact on public policy formulation and implementation. Leaders may influence what policies are enacted and how they are implemented. Thus, leadership is a significant tool of democracy. As you approach this Discussion on leadership, think about leaders whom you admire and the great public policy successes they achieved. Reflect on the leadership styles they used to accomplish their goals, bearing in mind that there are many different ways to be an effective leader when it comes to influencing public policy.To prepare for this Discussion:Select two articles or book excerpts from this week’s Learning Resources. Take note of broad themes about leadership and public policy in the readings that you choose.Peruse periodicals, the Internet, and other resources for examples of leaders who you think have been effective in implementing public policy.Think about leadership styles that may be effective in implementing public policy.Recall monumental leadership figures, such as Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr., and consider what made them effective leaders.Consider the influence political leaders might have in the public policy arena.Select two leaders, at least one of which from your country, who are or have been effective in implementing public policy and think about similarities and differences in terms of their effectiveness in implementing public policy.Consider the importance of leadership as a tool for implementing public policy.Post a brief description of each of the leaders you selected. Then, explain similarities and differences among them in terms of their effectiveness in implementing public policy. Finally, based on your comparison, analyze how various leadership styles enable the development and implementation of public policy.Be sure to support your postings and responses with specific references to the Learning Resources.resourcesHaberman, F. W. (Ed). (1972). Martin Luther King Jr.: Biography. In Nobel lectures. Amsterdam: Elsevier. Retrieved June 2, 2014, from http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1964/king-bio.html The Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies. (2003). Policy tools and government performance. Retrieved from http://ccss.jhu.edu/publications-findings?did=242 May, P. (n.d.). Social regulation workbook. Retrieved from http://ccss.jhu.edu/publications-findings?did=61 The White House. (n.d.a). Abraham Lincoln. Retrieved from https://www.whitehouse.gov/1600/presidents/abraham… The White House. (n.d.b). Franklin D. Roosevelt. Retrieved from https://www.whitehouse.gov/1600/presidents/frankli… The White House. (n.d.c). George Washington. Retrieved https://www.whitehouse.gov/1600/presidents/georgew…


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Do Government Tools Influence
Organizational Performance?
The American Review
of Public Administration
Volume 38 Number 4
December 2008 412-438
© 2008 Sage Publications
hosted at
Examining Their Implementation in
Early Childhood Education
Jodi Sandfort
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
Sally Coleman Selden
Lynchburg College, School of Business, Virginia
Jessica E. Sowa
Cleveland State University, Ohio
This article explores whether the multiple tools used by government to implement social policy
influence organizational performance. This analysis focuses on three tools—grants, contracts,
and vouchers—and their use in the field of early childhood care and education. Through analysis
of a field-based study of 22 organizations, the authors explore qualitative evidence and examine
the relative consequences of each tool using multivariate modeling. The authors conceptualize
organizational performance along four dimensions—management capacity, management outcomes, program capacity, and program outcomes—to better explore how government tools
influence organizations delivering publicly funded services. Findings reveal that the different
tools the government uses to implement early childhood programs have distinct consequences;
grants have the most significant, positive consequences on a variety of desirable outcomes.
government tools; implementation; performance; policy tools; nonprofits
any public administration scholars have noted the dramatic change in the scope and
role of the public sector in the past 30 years (Agranoff & McGuire, 2003; Brudney,
Fernandez, Ryu, & Wright, 2005; Heinrich & Lynn, 2000; Kettl, 2002b; Light, 1999).
Worldwide, government-centered models have yielded to multisector networks, and government roles have changed from direct service provision to governance of third-party
organizations. In the United States, this transformation has occurred in government at all
levels—national, state, and local. The change in roles has required public managers to develop
new, diverse tools to work with the largely autonomous organizations now responsible for
implementing significant aspects of public policy.
Lester Salamon’s (2002) book The Tools of Governance provides a thorough catalogue
of these tools, including regulation, grants, tax expenditures, loans, and vouchers. This work
helps public management scholars have a more accurate understanding of government
operations and the increasingly complicated work of public managers (Agranoff & McGuire,
Initial Submission: March 8, 2007
Accepted: August 20, 2007
Sandfort et al. / Government Tools and Organizational Performance
2003; Howard, 1995; Kettl, 2002a; O’Toole & Meier, 1999; Peters, 2000; Salamon, 2002).
However, less is understood about how the various tools used by government affect the
third-party organizations actually delivering public services.
In this article, we begin to address this gap by exploring how different tools shape organizational effectiveness within one policy field—early childhood care and education. Using
data collected from a field-based study, we examine how three public policy tools—grants,
contracts, and vouchers—influence organizations that provide early childhood care and
education services each day. In particular, we explore the following question: Does the receipt
of various government tools have differential impacts on measures of organizational effectiveness? Although the analysis presented here is exploratory, it contributes to the field by
investigating whether the intensity of the diverse tools of government influence nonprofit
human service organizations. Although such an analysis would need to be replicated in other
fields and institutional contexts, our analysis provides preliminary evidence that tools have
differential consequences on third-party organizations. When public officials consider the
various tools at their disposal, they should consider whether these consequences are
consistent with public policy intent.
Previous Research on the Tools of Governance
and Organizational Effectiveness
Scholars interested in public management have developed the concept of government
“tools” or “instruments” to make visible the diverse ways governments now operate
(Bemelmans-Vidic, Rist, & Vedung, 1998; Blair, 2002; Peters & Van Nispen, 1998; Salamon,
2002; Schneider & Ingram, 1990; Steuerle, Ooms, Peterson, & Reischauer, 2000). The
research in this area explores structural characteristics of government action that transcend
particular uses, characteristics that can be described and catalogued. As one proponent argues,
“the purpose of the tools approach to public policy is to ensure an appropriate match between
policy and the instruments used to address it, with one dominant concern being the capacity
to make the policy work in society” (Peters, 2000, p. 40). In the most exhaustive account to
date, Salamon’s (2002) work describes various tools in use. He argues that, theoretically, tools
vary in how they influence core values important to public governance, such as effectiveness,
efficiency, equity, and legitimacy. In addition, the tools themselves vary along multiple
dimensions: directness, automaticity, visibility, and coerciveness. These tradeoffs all should
be considered when selecting the appropriate tool to implement a particular policy.
As suggested by this seminal work, most existing research examines the use of a particular government tool, for example, social regulation (Licari & Meier, 2000; Meier & Licari,
1997), government corporations (Mitchell, 1999), or loan guarantees (Howard, 2002). The
three tools we compare in this study are similar, and the research centers on distinct questions. For example, research about the grants tool tends to focus at the macrolevel, considering the prevalence and consequences of grant-in-aids from the federal to state and local
governments (Conlan, 1998; Elazar, 1965; Posner & Wrightson, 1996). In contrast, research
about government use of contracts and vouchers is often concerned with how these tools
alter market-based dynamics. Although principal-agent theory is often used to explore the
inherent information asymmetry in contracting relationships, there are unique challenges in
The American Review of Public Administration
purchase-of-service situations where the work is complex, the purchaser is distinct from the
consumer, and there often is a limited supply of service providers (DeHoog, 1990; Hasenfeld &
Powell, 2004; Johnston & Romzek, 1999; Kramer, 1994; Palmer & Mills, 2005; Van Slyke,
2002; Van Slyke & Roch, 2004). The extensive research about vouchers explores how voucher
implementation in particular fields, such as health, education, or housing, influences market
dynamics, such as consumer incentives and restrictions of choice (Campbell, West, &
Peterson, 2005; Howell, 2004; Ladd, 2002; Levin, 1998; Steuerle et al., 2000; Susin, 2002;
Twombly & Boris, 1999).
An emerging thread of tools research, though, moves beyond considering how government action influences market dynamics to explore how individual tools influence management and program implementation (Agranoff & McGuire, 2003; Blair, 2002; Twombly &
Boris, 1999). Most of this scholarship concentrates on the contracting tool and examines both
government and third-party implementers. On one hand, public organizations and management practices change as they depend more on contracts (Behn & Kant, 1999; Hefetz &
Warner, 2004; Kettner & Martin, 1998; Romzek & Johnston, 2000, 2002; Van Slyke, 2002;
Walsh, 1997). Rather than managing service providers, public managers now focus more
exclusively on developing contract, monitoring service levels, and assessing performance.
On the other hand, research also documents that contracts also influence the private organizations receiving them. This stream of research—which we build on with our analysis—
suggests that contracting with public entities increases management complexity. Private
organizations must track programmatic results, juggle various budgetary parameters, cope
with different reimbursement practices, and document adherence to public rules (Gronbjerg,
1991; Kramer, 1994; Smith, 1999, 2005). Contracting also appears to alter both internal
human resource practices and the relationship between staff and boards (O’Regan & Oster,
2002; Saidel & Harlan, 1998; Smith & Lipsky, 1993; Stone, Hager, & Griffin, 2001).
Although research about contracting influence on management and program implementation is well developed, few studies examine how multiple tools may interact in a policy
field. Howard (1995) argues that more empirical exploration is needed to discern how tools
function in practice, in combination with other tools. In his study of U.S. income support
policy over time, Howard compares the structural characteristics of direct transfer and taxcredit tools at a macrolevel and concludes that tool choice is more important in policy
enactment than in subsequent growth and state-level administration. Blair’s (2002) study of
economic development focuses on enterprise zones and whether the various government tools
used in that arena, including regulations, grants, government corporations, and tax expenditures, influence implementation and management. Through multivariate modeling, Blair
finds the combination of tools and their characteristics to be a positive predictor of variation in implementation structures. He concludes, “This study opens up the possibility for
the use of tools concepts as part of a theoretical and explanatory framework for examining
the management of intricate public-service delivery networks” (Blair, 2002, p. 183). Other
researchers, however, have not followed this path to compare the consequences of multiple
government tools on implementation dynamics.
This article begins to address this omission. Unlike Blair (2002), whose policy field necessitates that the implementation occur through local policy networks, the policy implementation in early care and education occurs within organizations. As a result, we are exploring
how government tools influence the organizational effectiveness of nonprofit service providers
Sandfort et al. / Government Tools and Organizational Performance
charged with this implementation. Peters (2000) suggests that one approach to empirical
investigation of government tools is examining those tools in relation to both policy problems and management. By focusing this study in one field, early childhood care and education, we hold constant the policy problem—namely, how to provide care and education to
children—and focus our analysis on the relationship between government tools and management. Specifically, does the intensity of government tools received by an organization influence its management and effectiveness? Unlike Blair’s (2002) enterprise zone setting,
government investment in early childhood education originates from distinct federal and
state programs, each using different tools.
The Tools Government Uses to Fund Early
Care and Education Services
Early childhood care and education services is integral to the daily lives of many
American families, and public policy supporting these services has grown significantly in
the past 30 years.1 Some children are cared for by relatives, neighbors, or family child care
providers who operate small businesses out of their homes. Other children are cared for in
private child care centers, private preschools, or public schools. States require basic health and
safety standards, but the diverse third parties involved in service provision creates considerable variation in the settings and services provided to children and families (Hofferth, 1995;
Love, 1998; Meyers & Heintz, 1999; Phillips, Howes, & Whitebrook, 1992; U.S. General
Accounting Office, 1999). Although both federal and state governments are involved in
funding these services, the creation of public policy has been incremental, resulting in a
fragmented system (Bruner, 1996; Kagan, 2001; Lombardi, 2003; Michel, 1999).
From the beginning, public investment focused on two distinct goals: helping women
work outside the home and nurturing children’s development. During times of labor force
shortages, such as World War II, the government made investment in “day nurseries” so that
low-income women could work without requiring their children be removed from their custody
(Beatty, 2001; Lombardi, 2003; Michel, 1999). Alternatively, with the establishment of
Project Head Start in the mid-1960s, government investment shifted to embrace early childhood education and other early intervention services to break the intergenerational cycle of
poverty (Ellsworth & Ames, 1998).
Current government policy—and the distinct programs developed to implement them—
focus on either one of these two goals. In 1988, the federal government passed legislation
to provide child care subsidies to welfare parents to allow them to work. In 1990 and 1996,
this role was further strengthened, as the federal child care subsidy was recognized as an
essential element of national welfare reform. The current Child Care and Development
Fund (CCDF) empowers states to administer subsidies to low-income parents through
vouchers so they can access child care in the marketplace and keep paid employment. In
this regard, child care vouchers resemble the myriad of other ways that the voucher tool is
used by government (Anonymous, 2000). The public subsidy must be sufficient to allow
beneficiaries to access care on the market without unduly altering market forces. As consumersided subsidies, a premium is placed on parental choice, and no effort is made to steer consumers to high-quality or enriched environments. For a voucher system to work effectively,
The American Review of Public Administration
the state must have a system for smoothly processing hundreds or thousands of vouchers,
and in most states, they are administered through state/county welfare offices or nonprofit
resource and referral agencies. Although the use of vouchers is firmly established, there are
fierce debates in the field about appropriate eligibility standards, adequacy of subsidies, and
unintended effects on supply and demand (Adams, Snyder, & Sandfort, 2002).
To achieve the other goal of nurturing low-income children’s early development, the
government has developed the Head Start program and state-funded preschool, which are
implemented through grants and contracts. Such supply-side tools allow governments to
control their aggregate costs by limiting the number and size of grants or contracts awarded.
Although parents do not have the same range of choices as is available through a voucher
tool, these tools provide a more reliable source of revenue for third-party providers.
The federal Head Start program continues to focus on promoting low-income children’s
school readiness (Currie, 2000; Ellsworth & Ames, 1998; U.S. General Accounting Office,
1999). Through grants with local nonprofits or other local government entities, the federal
government assures that high-quality early education is available to disadvantaged children.
Compared to other government tools, grants create a structured but comparably loose relationship between grantor and grantee (Beam & Conlan, 2002). Although Head Start grants
specify required performance standards, this tool often allows grantees flexibility in how
they use public funds to deliver programs (Advisory Committee on Head Start Research
and Evaluation, 1999). As a federal categorical grant, Head Start is given to local program
operators (most often private, nonprofit organizations) without any intervention from state
governments. Unlike other types of grants, such as block grants (Posner & Wrightson,
1996), these funds often provide stability to these organizations as well as other benefits,
such as access to management training, data systems, and quality enhancement resources
(Ellsworth & Ames, 1998; Zigler & Valentine, 1979).
Since the 1980s, prekindergarten (Pre-K) programs have been developed by state governments to enrich early education. These initiatives vary considerably across states in their
administrative structures, program goals, and scope of supports (Stone, 2006). In the two
states that are the focus of this study, the relationship between government and service
providers is shaped by the contracting tool. The state Department of Education passes funds
to local school districts for services for 4-year-olds. In turn, the districts can run programs
themselves or contract with other agencies, such as child care centers or Head Start grantees.
In Virginia, resources are targeted to at-risk children not already being served, and local school
districts are required to “match” state revenue to participate in the program. In New York,
local districts must use at least 10% of their state funds in contracts with non-school-based
or community settings, such as private child care or Head Start agencies. In New York,
although preference may be given to at-risk children, the Pre-K program is designed to be
universal, serving all 4-year-olds in the state.
Theoretically, each policy tool would be deployed individually, with a care and education
provider receiving publicly subsidized vouchers, a Head Start grant, or a Pre-K contract. In
practice, however, none of these tools fully respond to the dynamics of the market. By law,
states may not allow child care vouchers to reimburse more than 75% of the market rate, and
many states provide significantly less. Head Start grants and most Pre-K contracts only cover
costs associated with part-day, part-year programs, even though most low-income families
qualifying for the programs must work conventional hours throughout the year.
Sandfort et al. / Government Tools and Organizational Performance
As a result, beginning in the late 1980s, some early care and education providers began
to access multiple sources of public funding to offer programs that would both serve the
needs of working families and enhance early childhood environments for children (Bond,
1997; Kagan & Verzaro-O’Brien, 2000; Sandfort & Selden, 2001). Some early childhood
care and education organizations began to work together in partnerships to share resources
and services, whereas others accessed new public funding streams directly. As these “partnerships” began to grow in frequency, they received greater attention in the field. In fact,
the data for this article were gathered as part of a larger study, Investigating Partnerships in
Early Childhood Education, which described these unique program operations. These partnerships provide a unique opportunity to examine the use of multiple government tools within
one policy field and explore how these tools affect the organizations charged with program
Research Design, Conceptual Model,
and Analytic Methods
The study includes 22 local sites in two states, New York State and the Commonwealth
of Virginia, that receive one or more different government tools (vouchers, grants, or contracts)
and provide full-day, full-year care for children. We developed a theoretical model of the
different ways these organizations combine policy tools, which drove the purposeful selection through snowball sampling of 11 sites in each state (Patton, 1990).2 In case selection,
we varied location and size, as nonurban or small human service organizations often experience different challenges than urban …
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