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Politics of the Administrative Process

Politics of the Administrative Process

Ninth Edition

August 2023 | 480 pages | CQ Press
Efficient public administration requires a delicate balance between politics, accountability, and performance--bureaucracy must be powerful enough to be effective but also accountable to elected officials and citizens. Author Don Kettl understands that the push and pull of political forces in a democracy make the functions of bureaucracy both contentious and crucial. In The Politics of the Administrative Process, he gives students a realistic, relevant, and well-researched view of the field featuring engaging vignettes and rich examples from current events like the COVID-19 pandemic. The Ninth Edition has been thoroughly updated with an additional chapter, as well as new scholarship, data, and case studies, giving students multiple opportunities to apply ideas and analysis as they read. 


About the Author

1. The Foundations of Public Administration
2. Accountability
PART I: The Job of Government
3. What Government Does—and How It Does It
4. What Is Public Administration?
PART II: Organizational Theory and the Role of Government’s Structure
5. Organizational Theory
6. The Executive Branch
7. Organization Problems
8. Administrative Reform
PART III: People in Government Organizations
9. The Civil Service
10. Human Capital
PART IV: Making and Implementing Government Decisions
11. Decision Making: Rationality and Risk
12. Budgeting
13. Implementation and Performance
PART V: Administration in a Democracy
14. Regulation and the Courts
15. Accountability and Oversight
Glossary of Key Concepts



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Instructor Resource Site
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I wanted a book that was recent and had a good mix of theory and practical examples. I also wanted a book with case studies to allow the students to work through real life examples. This updated book offered me that ability.

Dr Sombo Muzata
Political Science, James Madison University - Harrisonburg
May 2, 2024
Key features
  • The new edition has been thoroughly updated to reflect
    • Administrative and political issues surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Diversity, equity, and inclusion considerations in public administration.
    • The emerging issues of human capital, policy implementation, regulation, and organizational theory in complex organizational systems.
    • A new organizational structure for the introductory chapters, featuring a new chapter, to better frame the topics covered in the book.
    • New scholarship, data and events, giving students multiple opportunities to apply ideas and analysis as they read. 

  • More than a dozen new case studies are included in the Ninth Edition, covering topics such as: 
    • “Preparing for the Next Pandemic"
    • "Do Sewers Hold the Clues to Polio?"
    • "The Biden Administration's Strategy for Employee Engagement"
    • "Can Your Smartphone Save Your Life?"
    • "The Problem of Water in Flint"
    • "The Student Loan Forgiveness Roller Coaster"
    • "Weaponizing the IRS"


  • Engaging writing by renowned scholar, author, and columnist Don Kettl.
  • A full-color interior design effectively showcases photos, as well as data in a range of tables, figures, maps, and charts.
  • Every case study ends with “Questions to Consider” encouraging critical analysis.
  • All chapters end with key concepts, for further reading, and suggested website lists.
  • Bolded key terms, a full glossary, and a list of abbreviations and acronyms rounds out the book’s pedagogical tools.

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