Book Talk with Michael Barzelay, author of "Public Management as a Design-Oriented, Professional, Discipline"


Tuesday, October 15, 2019, 12:00pm to 1:15pm


Ash Center foyer, 124 Mt Auburn Street, Suite 200N

Event Description

The Ash Center invites you to a talk with Michael Barzelay, Professor of Public Management at the London School of Economics and author of, "Public Management as a Design-Oriented, Professional, Discipline." Barzelay will be joined Hannah Riley Bowles, Roy E. Larsen Senior Lecturer in Public Policy and Management at HKS.

Lunch will be served. 

Public Management as a Design-Oriented, Professional, Discipline Book CoverAbout the Book

While public management has become widely spoken of, its identity and character is not well-defined. Such disparity is an underlying problem in developing public management within academia, and in the eyes of practitioners. In this book, Michael Barzelay tackles the challenge of making public management into a true professional discipline. Barzelay argues that public management needs to integrate contrasting conceptions of professional practice. By pressing forward an expansive idea of design in public management, Barzelay formulates a fresh vision of public management in practice and outlines its implications for research, curriculum development and disciplinary identity.

About the Author

Throughout the past 20 years, Professor Barzelay has been working on research to expand professional knowledge about public organizations and professional practice within them. The first big step in that direction was Preparing for the Future: Strategic Planning in the U.S. Air Force, which received the Louis Brownlow Book Award from the US National Academy of Public Administration. An important further step was “Learning from Second-hand Experience: Methodology for Extrapolation-Oriented Case Research.” The culmination of this work is Public Management as a Design-Oriented Professional Discipline, published by Edward Elgar in September 2019. This manifesto book presents a full-fledged design for public management being a professional discipline that expands professional knowledge through research and that strengthens problem-solving competencies about public organizations and especially their management, through the discipline’s teaching and learning enterprise. Professor Barzelay has been sharing these ideas as they developed over the past several years through an LSE Knowledge Exchange and Impact funded project, especially in developing faculty who can provide leadership in strengthening the design-oriented professional discipline of public management with a focus on Latin America.

Event Audio Recording and Transcription

Presenter: You are listening to Ash Cast, the Podcast at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard Kennedy School.

Michael Barzelay : Now, the thing that I need to convey to students and to everybody else is some of the content of this, right? One of the difficulties is there isn't ... in my mind, it's all one discipline, but the literature hasn't grown up that way, and a lot of the good stuff to read isn't specifically about public management. It's about all sorts of other stuff, right? Including design projects and individual abilities. What I do is I try to make it seem all of a piece.

Presenter: While public management has become widely spoken of, its identity and character is not well-defined. Such disparity is an underlying problem in developing public management within academia and in the eyes of practitioners. In his new book Public Management as a Design-Oriented Professional Discipline, Michael Barzelay tackles the challenge of making public management into a true professional discipline. On Tuesday, October 15th, Barzelay, a professor of public management at the London School of Economics, presented his new book at the Ash Center. He was joined by Hannah Riley Bowles and Rory E. Larson, senior lecturer in public policy and management at Harvard Kennedy School.

Mark Moore: My name is Mark Moore. I'm a professor here at the school located at the Ash Center and I have two jobs. One is to introduce Hannah, who is the head of the leadership management and development area here at the Kennedy School who will introduce Michael Barzelay. But the other is to report to you that this is being recorded, this session. At any case, let me introduce you to Hannah, and Hannah will introduce Michael.

Hannah Riley Bowles : Well, thank you. I think I'm miced here, so I'm going to give this back to you, Mark. But actually there are, believe it or not, with this full room, there are a lot of people who wanted to be here who couldn't. So, that's another function of the recording. I have the honor of introducing professor Michael Barzelay who is a professor at the London School of Economics. He has been teaching and researching about public management since 1985, and I think I'm allowed to acknowledge that because it's right in your bio, but it's very profound actually. And during those early years, spent a decade here with us at the Kennedy School. And it is really an honor ... Let me give you a few specifics about professor Barzelay, but before I do that, I'd like to set in context why we are so appreciative that this moment in the conversations that professor Barzelay is steering up.

Hannah Riley Bowles : So, he has been, as I said, teaching and researching about public management. I mean what is distinctive about management in the public sector and also he has been somebody who the teaching what should be different teaching people with public service aspirations has been central to his work, but he has also been somebody who has been advancing scholarship in this space. So, serving in editorial roles on numerous journals. He has written numerous books and won awards for those scholarly contributions.

Hannah Riley Bowles : He is probably most famously known inside and outside of academia for a book called Breaking Through Bureaucracy: A New Vision for Managing in Government. Something that just from the Breaking Through Bureaucracy is obviously going to speak to the world of practice as well as scholarship. And today he's going to talk to us about a new book on Public Management as a Design-Oriented Professional Discipline.

Hannah Riley Bowles : And this is just such an important topic for us at the Kennedy School because this is truly an unfinished question. We draw on multiple disciplines here at the Kennedy School. We have components of our work that come out of the management disciplines, but the challenge is that our students go out and face doing public interest work go beyond simply the management of organizations, and they include broad array of stakeholders and very important questions of politics and institutions. And so, it is necessarily a multidisciplinary and complex endeavor, and we are honored and appreciative to have you as a leader and fellow traveler in this aspiration. So, please join me in welcoming professor Barzelay.

Michael Barzelay : Thank you very much. This is actually a first time I've been back here in 24 years or so. So, it's very interesting, a lot of very nice memories are coming back [inaudible 00:04:55] including how I actually showed up here. I shared this anecdote earlier, I think you might be interested in, it was Christmas 1984. And my father got up early and cut out a little ad from the New York Times for an assistant professor position here at the Kennedy School and development as it turned out. And my dissertation was close enough to that area in political science that he said, "Why don't you go get a job and apply?" And so, all of that happened quite quickly.

Michael Barzelay : And I got a phone call from a professor, Ray Bernan, who was running the search at the time, and he said, "Well, I'm very impressed by your references and I am ... However, we actually have in mind somebody who's going to get that job. And nevertheless, because you have this thing on your resume that says you have a Master's in public and private management from Yale, with your permission, can I send your file to a colleague of mine named Mark Moore?" And so, everything is a footnote on that kind of transaction.

Michael Barzelay : My other recollection is after giving my first class in what was it? 101. I think that what it was. And one of the nice students came up to me at the end and said, "Well, that was all very interesting. Now I deduce that you're 27 and I'm 27 and why are you up there and I'm down here?"

Mark Moore: Very hard question.

Michael Barzelay : I'm now 61, so some things have happened in between, but I'm very pleased to be here. I'm not sure what all this is going to mean to you, but it does seem to mean a lot to the people I talk to all around the world who have some kind of a stake or identification with public management as a form of professional practice, as a discipline for professional practice, whether they're my students, whether they are academics in other institutions, but on the margin of political science or the margin of management. And it's of interest, particularly to those who are in charge of government-based schools of public administration. We don't really have that in the US but in many systems that is a predominant way to develop the cadres of individuals who participate in government, and in fact, in some ways this book coevolved from a relationship with Brazil's National School of Public Administration.

Michael Barzelay : And I continued to work with them to develop a faculty to teach this approach. And so, that's an ongoing project. I thought I would acquaint you with the book. The pitch is read the book. The pitch is not buy the book. And the reason for that is the book is available free of charge. Okay, so if you have your iPhones or whatever, all you need to do is punch in www.elgaronline, Elgar is the name of the publisher online, one word, dot com. Put in my name and you have to spell it right, B-A-R-Z-E-L-A-Y and the book will pop up and you can download every chapter. I hope you'll do so, but I will not stand in your way if you want to buy a copy.

Michael Barzelay : Let me run through some of the characteristics of the book and the way I sort of present it in a number of places. First of all there are kind of three questions you might want to have in mind as you look at anything that's been done with a purpose. And one is what is it for? Another is what it consists in. And another is how does it work? And broadly, I'm trying to change the way this field is. Talk to practitioners, not radically change it. Some ways, continue on with some things that have kind of washed out but leave an imprint on how professional practice is taught in this field. Notice, I don't call it public management here. The reason for that is a lot of people don't care about management. And management isn't really separate from everything else, so I talk about professional practice in public organizations especially, but not entirely concerned with their management.

Michael Barzelay : The book consists in a number of different things. It's got a cover. The way I describe it, it's a good book with a great glossary, so if you're going to download anything down row the glossary, you'll come across all sorts of terms you've never came across before, like design project and mechanism intent thinking and design precedent and so on and so forth. And the book is, I mean, it's a kind of funny topic. I wanted more than Mark Moore to read it and a couple of other colleagues, so I made it entertaining so that even my students would read it happily. And there's couple of chapters in there that are more sort of student-oriented, then the rest chapter one in chapter four being among them.

Michael Barzelay : Let me say a little bit about the staging of the book in the sense that it's a forward, it's presentation, it's show, it's how it looks just on first encounter. Well, that's the cover. A couple of points to elaborate it. So, when I talk about public management, I have in mind, not just the organizations and the people in the organizations that are involved in a bureaucracy, but I certainly have in mind the way in which public programs and special case of public services come to take on their form in general terms in detail and are actually delivered. So, programs are just as central to the idea of public organizations as the structures and personnel of the institution. This I derive from creating public value, chapter two in particular.

Michael Barzelay : Public management. I talk about it particularly with my students and others as a form of professional practice. Well, that means it must have some characteristics to it or structure to it or common ideas about it that make it identifiable as a practice. I also talk about it being a design-oriented practice, which means that it majors in some ideas that aren't usually part of the usual discussion. Particularly ideas about creating things that don't exist, creating representations of things that could exist, drawing on knowledge and experience from the past. The other idea here is that of a professional discipline. Now, I probably owe everything I said to you so far. I could have said, when I was 27 years old or 28, even when I left and was saying until quite recently.

Michael Barzelay : The idea that there is, that this, we should project ourselves, think of ourselves, stage ourselves, act as if we are a discipline as a new idea. That's a collective endeavor. It's not located in any particular place. It's people's membership is identifiable. They will carry a certain loyalty toward the discipline itself, even if they're not loyal to any particular academic or other institution as they shouldn't generally be. The idea of a professional discipline is hardly novel, right? I missed sort of retrieving it from in particular Herbert Simon's book on Professional Phenomenon and their Disciplines.

Michael Barzelay : Professional discipline is noted for having two enterprises that are closely linked together. One is creating a professional knowledge and a capacity to share it with professionals on the one hand and actually sharing it with professionals and developing their competence on the other. Many social scientific disciplines major in one of those and take the teaching and learning thing as derivative from the field. But this is a professional discipline and it's somewhat different in its orientation, so I'm for building on that very idea. This is the chapter outline. I'm not going to go through the whole book, but I'll tell you about some of the chapters that'll give you a flavor for it. At the end of chapter one, I present this sketch, if you wish of the public management as a professional discipline.

Michael Barzelay : I use a standard sort of logic frame concept to do it. Very simple structure where you have some resources or input, some activities and some outcomes. Here's the activities associated with strengthening the discipline as such. Here are the activities that are part of the teaching and learning enterprise. Once you start staring at it for five seconds, you see, it's pretty obvious, but I'll make a few points. Very few people get up and make the speech about public management as a professional discipline, so although this is something that needs to be done, it's not done often, not enough.

Michael Barzelay : Faculty development. People don't do their PhDs in public management by and large. They come into it for all sorts of reasons. Like my anecdote from the beginning, we all have our own stories of how that worked. In my book I sort of do faculty development with the people who have come into it, they're fictional characters. Nora, Olivier and Petra. Nora is a political scientist who got a PhD recently and got a job at a public policy school and ended up with a teaching assignment. Olivier is a PhD student of public administration, but has never seen a management course. Petra is a somebody who has a great deal of practical experience, is well educated but has never done a PhD in the field and they're the teaching team, we need all of them, but we still need to develop a common professional identity as faculty, not academics, as faculty in this field.

Michael Barzelay : We also need to develop or expand professional knowledge. And that raises the question of sort of how do we want to name bits of professional knowledge. I choose two terms as you'll see in the book more than better than there. Purposive theories. These are kinds of arguments about how to create the mechanisms to effectuate purposes as well as how to use mechanisms to create the purposes themselves. There's a lot of arguments out there about how you would do it. Some of them you can read in airport bookstores and they're very informal. Harvard Business Review. Some are very serious accounts sometimes about public organizations and their totality, sometimes about little aspects of them, like the projects within them and sometimes about individuals as they're trying to be important mechanisms within the organization.

Michael Barzelay : As academics, we need to sort of straighten out these arguments because they're rarely presented in a way that you can make much sense of. We also need to develop precedence based on past experience. And that is a part of the story I will tell a little bit later on because it's not well explained in our field. And then in the curriculum, we need to expand. We need, I think most importantly achieve professional competence, help people tackle the challenges that you encounter in public organizations, understood as a form of enterprise. They need to draw on things that are sort of part of who they are as practitioners. I have a list of things that people ought to be good at: Sense-making, designing and argumentation, and dramatization. And all of that is kind of in a standard sort of harbored tradition.

Michael Barzelay : Beyond that, less so pronounced, there's that kind of a professional knowledge, well articulated purpose of theories about the kind of enterprise and precedent, understanding of how actual interesting exemplars of enterprises and their parts have come to operate in surprisingly good ways relative to what is possible under real world conditions. And so, this is sort of a balance between a little harbored thing and some other bits that emphasize knowledge matters and that can be codified and developed by the field, et cetera, et cetera. This is what I tell my students the course is about, that what I'm trying to do is populate the profession with more and more practitioners of the kind that I have in mind. For them, I'm trying to strengthen their ability to tackle challenges that come up in the life of a public organization.

Michael Barzelay : Everything that I do will be designed to help that. My theory is that if they don't learn some professional knowledge, they won't be good at that. If they don't get experience using the professional knowledge in actual practice, they won't find it a much use in practice. Likewise, many come with relative deficits in imagining how you could create something new, not having a clear understanding of what a sound argument is about a practical question and not really knowing how to put on a show that is sort of convincing to others about what the situation is and what they have to contribute to it. So, everything I do is sort of trying to perform one or all of those functions and that's an important message for my students because they think that a course is learning a subject matter and learning the subject matter is mastering 10 topics. Or three topics because that's all you're going to be examined on. I say my course has no topics.

Michael Barzelay : My course that's functions and everything I do is a mechanism to perform them. So, I partly use the course to explain the ideas behind them. There's some history behind all of this argumentation and I go into it in chapter two. Basic argument is there's been in history two main rival traditions within the professional discipline of management. A Harvard one that starts in 1910. And as far as I can tell is quite stable overall. Then the other major rival tradition is been known as the modern management school, the mainstream of which tried to make the field of management as much like the field of medicine as was possible. This is clearly laid out in a history of management schools by [Mie Oga 00:19:57] and Jim Margin a 2011 book. A complete eye-opener of an account.

Michael Barzelay : The medical school idea was okay if the academics could do fundamental research on the organism of the body. From that you could teach the students the theory, you could give them some very specific ideas of how to identify dysfunction in an organism. And further you could develop their skill in applying what you've learned case by case by case. This was then adopted, thanks to a lot of money from the Ford Foundation at the Carnegie Institute of Technologies Graduate School of Industrial Administration between 1949 and 1963 in particular. And they divided up the enterprise body into finance operations, marketing and so on and so forth. They develop fundamental theory of finance, the fundamental theory of marketing. In the finance case, they in particular relied on economists recruited from the University of Chicago who eventually got Nobel Prizes in economics for their work in finance and all the rhetoric of learning your subject and then having a few cases to apply it to. So, you develop your skill comes from that tradition.

Michael Barzelay : I think that tradition is a problem, because I grew up in more of the Harvard tradition even at Yale. Now within that modern management school, there was a critic, internal critic called Herbert Simon, very famous person who became a Nobel Laureate in his own right. He thought the Bota Medical School idea was crazy. It was not the way to think about management as a discipline at all. He thought that and he sort of presented it as saying management ought to be like problem-solving. So, that idea of problem-solving was actually set in our opposition to the idea that management is taking things we know and drawing their implications with some degree of certainty for what we ought to do. So, that's not the world we live in, but he developed and it wasn't just a critique. He didn't say, "Oh, something's wrong with your house. I just don't believe it." No, he developed an alternative, the alternative, but he never completed the project.

Michael Barzelay : The basic idea was that designing and design projects had to be part of an enterprise. Design projects were a key building block of the future of any enterprise. Those projects created the mechanisms that would be incorporated into the enterprise and allowing it to effectuate its intent, his it by him as a matter of history. His idea of a design project, that sort of mother of all design projects was the Manhattan Project and he experienced it through realm studies. An important part of that idea was that you don't know what it is that will work before you work through the problem of creating it.

Michael Barzelay : You can't get to the answer of what might work without drawing on stuff we know from the past, some of which might be theoretical as in the Manhattan Project, something about theoretical physics and some of it will be about past practice. What has worked to in particular counteract the tendencies that work against our ability to accomplish our purposes, like any good engineer would think. This is a sort of third way if you wish, but it never really took hold. We can see traces of it obviously, but he was defeated essentially at the Carnegie thing and then went off and got his Nobel Prize. He never cared about the Harvard approach. The Harvard thing never pulled his ideas about design projects and designing into the center of their concept.

Michael Barzelay : It's just for weird historical reasons having to do with this background, so I'm trying to pull the two together and make it one and then make and suggest that we can identify the purpose of theories of public organization on the basis of the integration of these threads of thinking that have come through the development of management as a field since 1910. [Markler 00:24:14] taught me how to talk fast. Here's the kind of outline of the Harvard approach idealized, the source of which is thinking is basically Henri Fayol who wrote the book General Industrial Administration and thought of enterprises as purposeful phenomena, all with unique purposes, but with the universality of all performing the same functions.

Michael Barzelay : Functional universality, mission purpose varying from case to case. How did he get the idea of functional universality? He read Aristotle. Aristotle went into the lagoon and 500 BC, bought some bunch of different organisms. They were all over the place, and what do they have in common? Functions are the same, structures are different. They accomplish the same functions, but with different structures. Let's try to theorize this universe in that way. Engineer's actually picked up on that idea by saying any kind of machines in a given category perform the same functions. What's different is the specific mechanisms being used to perform it.

Michael Barzelay : Fayol picked up the same idea in management and we forget about this, but actually it's a quite useful idea. Most people are using it even when they deny they're using it. So, this is the kind of a representation of that thinking. Enterprises or the entire purposeful phenomenon that is being created, you can say managed if you like the word. There are several functions that need to be performed somehow in order for the enterprises intent to be clarified and effectuated. In the old category scheme of Fayol, it was commercial, technicals, accounting, finance, management and security.

Michael Barzelay : I took everything but management, stuck them over here and had management stand out here in this approach. A couple of derivative or constituent the functions of management or making an actual decision and then explaining it to other people with a great deal of charm so that they will do what they would otherwise have to just be told. So, that's at perspective. Simon had it coming from more the idea that an enterprise consists of these design projects that are different picture, but it's similar, right? In that he identified functions that need to be performed in any enterprise somehow if that enterprise is going to clarify and effectuated some tents.

Michael Barzelay : So, the structure of theorizing is the same, the content is different. From what you see here though is that much of what the Harbor Approach there was talking about is located here in decision making and what he was foregrounding is something called designing as an aspect, as a major function within design projects. And some of the things that need to be done in order to create a mechanism that could work is to analyze the challenge and some possible solutions and actually synthesize a design and then test it to gain some information about how it might behave before actually making a decision to incorporate it into the enterprise, et cetera, et cetera.

Michael Barzelay : This has implications because if you want to teach practitioners in such a way that they see design projects as one of the main vehicles to change an organization and make it work, then you might want to say there are certain things you might want to do to help perform those functions. The way you behave in a meeting, even the way you write a memo, the way you do anything on a daily basis is something that is a mechanism to perform these functions. You have to be good about choosing how to do it. And there's ways to educate people so that they're capable of making those judgements and having the ability to create the effects they intend. How am I doing on time?

Mark Moore: Michael, go back to that one for a minute, because I notice that the importance of saying that all this is happening within the context of an enterprise. So, these things are not individual functions being carried out by management. They're individual actions, thoughts and actions that are being carried out in the context of a larger enterprise that already exists and that you're trying to sort of exercise some influence over. So, there's a ... is always going to be talking about enterprises, not individuals. And the individual is understood, is part of an enterprise. And that always has to be a collective aspect to it. Anyway ...

Michael Barzelay : Okay, so I'm broadly talking ... yes, that's correct. When I say enterprise, I'm not using it as an empirical category. I'm proceeding along the same lines as Fayol proceeded in theorizing management. I'm theorizing it as a purposeful phenomenon, not an empirical phenomenon. There is a need to study them as an empirical phenomena, but if you say I'm going to understand it as an empirical phenomena and then from there draw some implication for practice, you're back into the modern medical school approach. And I'm trying to distance myself from that approach. Create an alternative vocabulary.

Michael Barzelay : I would say in the alternative vocabulary that which is effectuating intent is the performance of a function that would be if they only in move, and then the next question would be, what mechanisms perform the function?

Hannah Riley Bowles : Can I ... because this is a mixed audience. Can you give an illustration of around ... could you give contrasting illustrations to these concepts? So, a practical example that-

Michael Barzelay : Of a design project, for example?

Hannah Riley Bowles : Of a design project, yes. And in contrast to a decision making approach. So, I love your idea of this is ... So, if you think about for a student, they're sitting in a meeting or they're approaching a problem, what are differential moves that someone might make from those two perspectives?

Michael Barzelay : I can give you an example from a sort of middle manager position and from a CEO position, because it's relevant for both. Take the manager position. I'm going to talk about the first case they ever wrote here, which I still teach. Paying the bills and handle the SIA and the middle manager understands that if the future system for paying invoices was anything like the current system going out a few years, it would be considered to be a major deficit for the regional government and also would have negative effects for economic development, for a government that prides itself on promoting economic development. He has this idea. He also knows that the minister sort of the secretary for this function, the finance predated him in the organization.

Michael Barzelay : He understands that the minister will have to own this idea in due course, but doesn't have time to work it out. He doesn't want the minister to feel that he's going to work in ways that undermine him or undermine some of the commitments that he's made as part of his government. At the same time, he doesn't want to just adopt best practice or something or else because that wasn't the idea of this regional government. So, the question is, and now this is not a matter of fact. This is a matter of how I teach it. What is the venue in which you would even raise the question of things being different in the future than in the past? I say, "Well, how about a staff meeting?"

Michael Barzelay : All right. That seems pretty straight forward. That's not that everybody has staff meetings, but it is a good practice. And the question is, what are you going to ... now the theoretical idea is this is a beginning, in fact, the fuzzy front end, if you want to use that language of a design project. How are you going to present the situation and your relationship to it and your relationship to your boss within it in such a way that it creates the space to pursue the issues? I find that usually this, particularly students with less variance are clueless about how to conduct themselves in such a staff meeting. They will say, as good analyst, "This is inefficient." Or some vocabulary of assessment of that general kind.

Michael Barzelay : And then I role play the head of the department and dismiss this, "Is everybody getting paid?" Yes. Well, then how could it be inefficient? Anyway, so the question then becomes, if you adopt this idea that projects, design projects are a way to make change, then create through the conversation, yeah that what could follow from making the issue on the agenda is a project within which the boss has a continuing if episodic role and that creates the space to begin to work on the problem, but it also reassures the boss that what's going to come out from this activity will not be out of their control.

Michael Barzelay : I can use my Air Force examples to talk about how Chief of Staff of the Air Force understood that if he's going to change the Air Force, he needed to have the new vision plan, be viewed as his because in that kind of organization, unless people can say, "It's the chief's plan," doesn't exist, it carries no authority. On the other hand, he wanted to have the ideas outlive him so it couldn't be his plan. So, here is a kind of contradiction, things have to be hot and cold at the same time. Short and long, present and absent sort of screws kind of thing.

Michael Barzelay : So, the project was designed to do that, to create content that other people owned, fit into an overall statement that he could actually support and visibly seem to support. And so, the project as I call it the global engagement planning, sort of that purpose. So, it works for both sides.

Hannah Riley Bowles : Can I just ask one followup question, going back to Mark's idea, just ... This as you're describing it could also be an actor who's working from the outside in order to influence the practice of government as well. Or do you want to limit your theorizing to those people who are operating within the system? Or you can also think about it incorporating people are operating from a political perspective or from a social innovation perspective, how they engage people in those processes?

Michael Barzelay : I chose the term professional practitioner advisedly for a number of reasons. One is that as far as I can, nobody wants to be a manager or certainly be called the manager. It's not an attractive verbal sign. And so, I wanted to use something different. I didn't make this up. Friends of mine said, "I was teaching management at Columbia and nobody wanted to take ... and I had a required course on management. All the students hated it. I got bad ratings. And it seemed to be because they were being taught management and nobody wanted to be a manager in management school." And so, we do have to deal with these ... we need to sort of neutralize some of the cultural problems that stand in the way of taking management seriously as a practice.

Michael Barzelay : One way to do that is call you a manager, but the other thing is it does allow and there's another problem if you've talked to people from different countries and you say, "I'm talking about public managers." They say, "Oh, but we don't have a public manager." That's not the discussion I want to have. That's an empirical [inaudible 00:35:59] all right? Both things need to work together.

Mark Moore: You had it earlier, Michael.Michael Barzelay : But that was the ... Oh, I'm trying to combine the two traditions. What I get ... let's skip over that. Here's my combination. Now, L isn't there either. To trade on the distinction people want to trade on that are people who deliver courses and want to have segment the market more than anything. I think theories of leadership, some of the things like I picked up here are very interesting and useful purposeful theories for professional practice. I see leadership as critical, but I don't want to see it ... I'm not representing it as a different function within the organization.

Mark Moore: As far as he put his own projects. You talk about project management or project leadership or up on [inaudible 00:37:09]?

Michael Barzelay : I think projects are like enterprises in that the management function to be performed. A management function theories is including directing and controlling and coordinating and so on and so forth. I am in the teaching, very attentive to how those functions can be performed within their context. I don't use for purpose of theories of project management coming from the PBRP box or something like that because I think it is ... because there's only time I give people theories of design project or more like systems engineering, but the case studies that I ... The work that I actually make them do is to right away of a project.

Mark Moore: But in terms of your audience that they might not want to be a manager, they might be happy to be a project. So, that's-

Michael Barzelay : Oh, okay. I mean if you asked me to have a little part of a course that is addressed to the projects once the design stage is complete, I am very happy to teach that.

Mark Moore: And you don't think that would put them off?

Michael Barzelay : I don't think so. But this labeling is more ... So, there, I would only do it if they asked me to. I've already got crossed the threshold into the world where they are in public management this way. But half the battle is getting people into the room with more of the thoughts that are compatible with what I'm doing and fewer of the ones that are contradictory. So, I think in time interests, let me just tell you how you can sort of encounter this material in the book because that's kind of the next. I asked Mark what the objective here was and he said get people to read the book. So, keeping with that. What this is, it's a kind of category scheme with a lot of history to it for purpose of theorizing of enterprises generally.

Michael Barzelay : And insofar as the enterprises are of public sector, in the public sector, you'll have specific content. Now, so this is an [inaudible 00:39:27] for theorizing about forms of enterprise, including especially public organizations. Now, the thing that I need to convey to students and to everybody else is some of the contents of this. It's difficult. It's one of the difficulties is there isn't ... in my mind it's all one discipline, but the literature hasn't grown up that way. And a lot of the good stuff to read isn't specifically about public management. It's about all sorts of other stuff including design projects and individual abilities. So, what I do is I try to make it seem all of a piece. This is not an unusual problem. Somebody has solved this problem, and I don't know if you've heard of the Bauhaus in Germany between the wars, okay?

Michael Barzelay : That's a pretty diffuse group of people and taking trading places over time depending on what was going on in the Nazi Germany. Nevertheless, after the fact. Anyway, they were able to put together a museum called the Bauhaus-Archiv in Berlin and create displays about each of the major figures, Gropius and Clay and Bandera Roja and all these people and wonderful audio guide, a presentation about each of these figures, the nature of their ideas, their connection with the overall school, their approach, their ideas about the relationship between theory and practice and so on and so forth. And it all seemed like it was of a piece. Somehow. I loved it. Anyway, sometime later I decided that we should have a public management gallery, something just like the Bauhaus-Archivs, except that it would be about public management.

Michael Barzelay : And so, chapter four is a visit to the public management gallery. I'm afraid it's fictional, or [inaudible 00:41:18] creates on images and in the gallery are nine publications. And what you hear is the audio guide. What you read is the audio guide script. And I'm the curator, so I'm the one speaking. I present all of these works. In something of the same voice, answering something of the same questions about all of these ideas, whether they're about the organization or design projects or an individual ability. And it's a three floor museum, so you come in on the top floor and that's where you encounter individuals and works about public organization. And so, the first exhibit and you know where you'd find Walter Gropius in the Bauhaus, you find Mark Moore and his book instead.

Michael Barzelay : And then you move on to the next exhibit, and you see John Bryson's book on Strategic Planning and Public and Nonprofit Organizations. And at the end of this, I do make some comments on how these two outstanding leaders of our field have theorized public management and public organizations similarly and differently. Then you go down to the middle floor and you ... I can show you what happens here. This is the backstory on [inaudible 00:42:38]. So, there's the gallery. Here's the exhibit for Mark Moore, exhibit for John Bryson. And then you go downstairs, and you read about design projects or three works discussed. Chapter five of Simon Sciences of the Artificial, which I also had talked about in chapter two. A book that actually takes that project forward precisely in organization's. A book called Problem Solving and Organizations by two Dutchman, a very effective with my students and a bit of my own book on Strategic Planning in the US Air Force with Colin Campbell.

Michael Barzelay : And then you get down to the bottom floor, and you read about ... you hear presentations about the professional activities. The idea is each of these professional activities has its own theorization. That's what makes them distinct. They're not empirically distinct. They've been theorized by different communities, in fact. Sense-making more by social psychologists above all. Designed by people in this field called Design Studies. Argumentation by philosophers in the side of informal logic and a few sociologists and dramatization by the very famous Erving Goffman. And each one of these is worked through.

Michael Barzelay : Then in the end you're told to go to the bookstore and get a summary of the account, which happens to look like this. I've sort of pulled some tricks here in the presentation because I want four ground ideas about enterprises and professional practice within them. I am playing down other concepts like tools and skills, which I take to be a more intrinsically important to the modern medical school approach. I know my students come at it thinking they're going to get all of those things. I tried to neutralize that by foregrounding my ideas and also giving opportunities to strengthen professional abilities of the kind that I think are important. Then they come to agree with like sense-making, designing, argumentation and dramatization.

Michael Barzelay : This is the background to how some people say, "Could you ever teach this way?" I said, "The teaching captain before the book." Most of the teaching, 80% of the teaching is the same as stuff as I was doing here. The discussion questions are different. The projects have different aims, there's some modification. But I think I've stretched the tradition. I was fortunate to be brought up in here in a very fruitful direction, but time will tell whether other people decide to respond to the manifesto and go on this journey with me. Thank you.

Hannah Riley Bowles : I think we should open it up to questions. You're ...

Speaker 5: [inaudible 00:45:30]. I was just wondering, you seem to very focused on the pedagogical value of thinking of public management design [inaudible 00:45:41] better because you're better able to articulate what it is that people should know and what it is that people should be able to do to apply that knowledge. At the same time you spoke a lot about the self-image discipline and you identified several schools of thought. My question is your explanation for the fact that public management as an academic discipline hasn't emerged. Is it because the schools of thought never came to, or because there was not a unifying kind of framework, same unit of analysis, same kind of body of literature or was it because practice actually the man that hears evolution in the thinking about it. So, why isn't there similar to other sciences a field to speak off, which then presents us with the problem of explaining it to students.

Michael Barzelay : Do you think management is a field?

Speaker 5: Is management a field? Well, I mean you use medicine as physics. You can think about many [inaudible 00:46:43]. The question is you chose this as a topic and you said like it's fragmented. There is no shared consensus.

Michael Barzelay : Yeah, but I think the same criteria of what you've said about public management, you can say about management. It's not specific departments.

Mark Moore: Sure.

Michael Barzelay : Well, and so part of ... I would say one of why this idea, this [inaudible 00:47:06] is coming together now as opposed to the past, is that I have said we cannot just refer back to management as a discipline to get insight into how to develop our discipline. We have to ... that doesn't mean ignore management. It means mine the field of management in a way it hasn't yet been mined. Now, why am I doing this and nobody else? Well, I got a series of strange experiences that have pushed me to do that. I was here and then didn't get tenure. I went off and tried to recreate my life. In an institutional environment that was like LSE, more like the medical model, but I'm different, so I've got to do my own thing and justify it and make it work.

Michael Barzelay : Much like Herbert Simon was trying to do his conferring thing in his environment and further, I got to be head of the department of management at LSE for a while and got to see how crazy that field is as an Institution.

Speaker 5: Did you say you feel it's coming together now?

Michael Barzelay : In my head it is, and if you looked at the ... I have a campaign here, it's a manifesto book. We spent two weeks coming up with my people. I wanted to have read the book. I sent them a message. I told them it's open access. If you don't read it, it's not because you're not running out of money, and you should see in my mailbox that says incoming responses. It's exciting. Time will tell, but there are ... I do have mechanisms to push it further. This is an example of it.

Speaker 6: Michael, this is very refreshing. I see what you've been up to since we worked together.

Michael Barzelay : That's a long time ago.

Speaker 6: Yeah, it was a long time ago, but I'm just curious. This assumes an authority structure that flows downward. And I'm wondering that if you've looked at self-governing organizations, representative organizations that have an explicit political life as well as an operational life. And how this approach might be useful in trying to understand function and dysfunction in that setting in which there's a lot of dysfunction.

Michael Barzelay : Well, I don't actually see the prem. I deny the premise, but I think it's still an interesting question. So, how would you see something in here? First of all, I would make a little move in my mind and think of the mechanisms that are created through like this as including dramatic performances, not just systems and not just plans. Because now why is it that we haven't thought of mechanisms as much as dramatic performances as Goffman did? There's certainly of all the intricacies. It's just, well, in management, we talked about plans and in Simon, he talked about systems. None of them were, seemed to be ... and the background story there is that according to March, sociology was kicked out of the Carnegie School by 1960 and you were left with economics and psychology.

Michael Barzelay : A Harvard thing that was there but very informed. So, part of the ... one of the things I'm trying to do is bring sociology, sociological ideas, sociological theorizing about processes and events and even dramatic performances as aspects of events back into the core of our understanding of enterprises in particular as mechanisms that help to clarify and effectuate their purpose. So, I think there's ways of... so I think probably what's going to be exciting for you is to see how sociological ideas can be brought into a purpose of theorizing about these enterprises.

Michael Barzelay : When we get that far and the rest is then picking up on what I call design focus case studies, getting insight into how actual enterprises work. And we need to get a lot of new ideas about how to do that because social science doesn't give us the answers. So, I think expanding professional knowledge through design focus case studies would be my invitation to deal with that question.

Speaker 6: Thank you.

Speaker 7: Assume there's a boss, they have him chosen.

Mark Moore: There's a what?

Speaker 7: A boss. [inaudible 00:51:33] did you have him chosen?

Michael Barzelay : Well, what I would say is that I'm [inaudible 00:51:39] that constitutes the [inaudible 00:51:41] a kind of archetype situation where issues of authority are not resolved but get resolved in certain ways. The design precedence will probably be from cases where those are not hugely open issues. You could expand those. I would just say fine. I'm just giving you the measure of, or marker of this being a professional discipline with management. I think this idea of a designer-oriented professional discipline ought to be stolen ... people who are in all sorts of other fields. Whether they're in other aspects of public administration, like a program planning and evaluation or other aspects of public administration like public law and administrative law or in fields that are outside public administration. They are very of a design-oriented professional discipline for many professional disciplines. And then would have been more available if Simon had finished his work.

Speaker 8: A quick question about, well, as you know, I think some of us here are designing a new leadership course and part of the way we're dividing it is about the stuff and the systems out there. And then some personal reflection. And I noticed that you've talked about the importance of being able to dramatize the situation and argumentation and even that book there about the Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. I'm just curious how you balance that in your course. That distinction between your individual development as a public manager versus the ability to engage with the external systems effectively. Are they intertwined? Are they separated? I'm just curious about how you manage that.

Michael Barzelay : I think it would be intertwined. Let me give you a concrete example. I suppose one of the case that also comes out of the Air Force book. Now an organization that big is a little complicated. The case is about the Futures Games. The Futures Games were a formal mechanism to theorize the future of the Air Force and to provide a picture of what the Air Force could look like in detail if its strategy shifted from one way of pursuing defense against another. And so, the case, will talk about the substance of that new idea, operational concept.

Michael Barzelay : And then I asked the students to take on the role of the Colonel who was in charge of this project for the briefing of the chief of staff. And I asked them to figure out, role play this if I have time, and then I show them an actual video reconstruction of that presentation what they did with what he did. And then we look at some of the issues that why it's different. And I would highlight ... I would say handicaps that he faced in conveying these ideas to the chief of staff in a setting where there would be losers if the chief was [inaudible 00:54:51].

Michael Barzelay : We look at exactly moves he made in his argument at critical times in order to neutralize the tendency of others around the table to claim that what he was saying is unrealistic or not well thought through and so on and so forth. I use that to talk about effectuating major change in an organization and also how to put together or present an argument in a dramatic way to have the effectuate you're looking for. I'd say it is all wrapped together in the way I teach. I usually sometimes get him to be there to comment on what they do. And the best of all classes, I had him and a professor of rhetoric, both comment on what they had seen that that was [inaudible 00:55:37].

Speaker 8: Thank you. So, the Harvard case method had a very distinct and clear role in the Harvard approach, right? So, Harvard/Simon/Barzelay, and some approach?

Michael Barzelay : Well, I think basically the same roles, But I'd add some ... One is to use cases as to analyze them after the fact not as challenges that remain to be tackled, but as precedents for mechanisms that deal with particular challenges. So, this question for example how do you take a particular challenge? You have a representation of the future Air Force that has immunity, but at that moment has no standing within the leadership of the Air Force. If the organization is going to be different in the future along these lines, that gap has to be bridged. Give people the challenge and that's a standard action forcing kind of case. And after the fact you can spend a lot of time so to speak in the order he said it.

Michael Barzelay : What was it about the fact that he embedded clips of some of the generals in his presentation making in time comments on it. What was the role of having those people also at the table in the meeting? So, that he didn't have to make the argument, he could get the peers. After the fact, you can ask what made it work? And then you could introduce a vocabulary ovation within the design of a system. For example in that bringing in the other former chiefs of staffs and so-and-so in the media you are activating a mechanism of homophily so that because it's more likely that the chief of staff would be glad to be seen to be listening with particular care to his peers than to his Colonel.

Michael Barzelay : So, I would say go further and don't just look at Exonte with a story on the back end, but actually look at the experience and try to discover the design in it. And that's what I think a lot of research should do too. Does that help? Does that get at your question? I mean, that's something that's different.

Speaker 8: Yes.

Michael Barzelay : And the rest is [crosstalk 00:58:18] tweaking the discussion questions.

Speaker 8: We do his-

Michael Barzelay : My knowledge is a bit old here, so maybe you do, maybe we're all doing the same thing.

Speaker 8: All right. Maybe I'll send it to you over.

Michael Barzelay : That would be great. And we'll have a discipline.

Speaker 9: I may be paraphrasing or oversimplifying what you said, but I think I heard you say that in a management school, students didn't want to take a course in management and didn't want to be called managers. So, what did they want to be called and what did they want to take courses in? Thank you.

Michael Barzelay : Entrepreneurship and finance. And maybe some change management. I taught a course at Yale. And the students said, "I didn't know how to read an organization chart." They had no idea how to think about organizational control as a process. They knew about change management, but [inaudible 00:59:14]. It's an eye opener to me.

Speaker 10: I have a question about the sort of larger organizations. I guess sort of thinking about the nature of design, we often think of a designer being outside of the thing or the system that they are trying to produce or design. But it seems like in your discipline, you're more interested in the ways that sort of act as internal to a particular organization can sort of help shape and help clarify once again sort of ends that are being intended or realized.

Speaker 10: And I'm curious what you think of as the discipline you're interested in how it treats the sort of external decision makers or internal clinical designers who might be sort of setting organizational ends, goals, perhaps sort of, I don't know, outside of the air force who might be sort of influencing what the end or goal of something like an Air Force might be. And is that the sort of domain or is that relevant to the discipline you're interested in? I hope that question makes sense, but-

Michael Barzelay : Yeah, so I think it is entirely was more of that external perspective. And the second was more of the internal perspective. When I had to leave here, I became a political scientist. I did the studies of the policy process as a political scientist. And so, the idea of influencing the policy process, the identification of issues, the rank of issues, intervening in ways that accelerate the presentation of alternatives, finding the right moment to cut the conversation off and make a choice.

Michael Barzelay : All of that is part and parcel of who I am as a researcher. I've tended and to just in my own mind to say that's me as a political scientist and this other stuff is me as a public management person. But if people say that it all should be all part of one piece and I'm okay. I think it would dilute a little bit the identity of, I think it would cut against my function of strengthening the identity of the discipline in particular.

Michael Barzelay : It would leave a somewhat marginalized the people from administration. And so, when I work in Brazil, for example, I got to pull people from administration and from political science. And if I highlight that too much, the administration people might go away. But I have no ... I think it's very important professional knowledge. I'm not sure I would make it critical to my presentation of the idea of the discipline. So, I think it's presentational more than anything [inaudible 01:01:51] show up.

Mark Moore: It was actually at least partly contained in the words in the title, because it seemed to me that each of the words in the title was posing an intellectual challenge to traditional academic called the Harvard. Are they the-

Speaker 11: Medical.

Mark Moore: ... medical school approach, and Michael to leadership and professional schools is that there's a body of thought out there that says, "All we need to succeed is confident knowledge about how things work," and if we have confident knowledge about how things work and a little bit of charm we can probably get things done. I think all of us who teach about management and take the challenge of management and leadership seriously, know that that's false, that charm isn't the thing that causes things to happen in the world that we're acting under situations of extraordinary uncertainty, that we're having to invent things as we go along. We're doing that work in our own mind. But we're also typically doing it in small groups and hoping that those small groups have levers that reach out to large numbers of other people that will engage them.

Mark Moore: And so, that's the reality of the world that we're engaged in. And we know that's the reality of the world because that's what we see in our cases. And that's what we study and stuff like that. So, the question is this, how could one acquire some degree of mastery or professional competence in facing up to the reality of that task? Does that make sense? And so, when Michael comes along and says, "We've been thinking about this all wrong," what we really are is we're not as social science. We are a design-oriented number one, and I think twice, "Oh, I feel so liberated by that," because now I can see that there's a role for imagination, for resourcefulness, for invention, for incorporating the concerns about values and what it is that we're doing as well as simply using knowledge.

Mark Moore: So, to be liberated, to be a designer rather than a technician feels spectacularly good to me. All right? So, thinking about it as a design-oriented activity feels really good. But then coming back as there is a profession out there and what we mean by a profession is that there are people with real jobs facing concrete, particular situations that we don't have a lot to tell them about how to solve effectively at least not in the concrete form that we know this works, so do that. We don't know that. We have an idea about some things you could try and an idea about the diagnosis that you could do that would tell you whether they would be likely to work in this particular situation. But there are people-

Michael Barzelay : And we have precedent.

Mark Moore: And we have precedent. I'm going to get you some time to unpack what you mean by precedent-

Michael Barzelay : Chapter six. It's [inaudible 01:04:39].

Mark Moore: All right. I'll look at it in chapter six again. So, you go after that. All right. So, there's a profession. It's a real thing. It's important. People do it. And we have to help people get better at it. And then the idea that there is in fact a discipline, and the discipline as Michael said earlier in his talk today, it isn't a discipline in the sense of an academic discipline. He said, "We don't want to be called academic faculty." But it is a discipline in the sense of taking a kind of a moral and intellectual responsibility for the work that you're doing and doing it as carefully as you can and coming to know what it looks and feels like when you're doing it carefully.

Mark Moore: And I think that's the thing that ... and then instilling in people the desire to do it carefully rather than to toss it off as, "Oh, well, somebody else will take care of that, or a little bit of charm will overcome the situation." It is hard, intellectual, emotional, creative work that always engages managers. And so, when Mike saw Michael waving this banner that said, "Professional or design oriented professional discipline," I thought somebody was pouring water on a parched piece of my soul. And I thought, "Yeah, that's what we've been about." And so, I'm very grateful to my friend Michael for doing this work and-

Hannah Riley Bowles : I can't think of no better closure to the session. Please join me in thanking ...

Presenter: You've been listening to Ash Cast, the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovations Podcast. If you'd like to learn more, please visit or follow the Ash Center on social media @HarvardAsh.