Identifying and interpreting government successes: An assessment tool for classroom use

Paper by Scott Douglas, Paul ‘t Hart, and Judith Van Erp: “Journalists, politicians, watchdog institutions, and public administration scholars devote considerable energy to identifying and dissecting failures in government. Studies and casestudies of policy, organizational, and institutional failures in the public sector figure prominently in public administration curriculums and classrooms. Such a focus on failures provides students with cautionary tales and theoretical tools for understanding how things can go badly wrong. However, students are provided with less insights and tools when it comes to identifying and understanding instances of success. To address this imbalance, this article offers students a framework to systematically identify, comprehensively assess and carefully interpret instances of successful public governance. The three-stage design of the funnel introduces students to relevant debates and literatures about meaningful public outcomes, the prudent use of public power, and the ability to sustain performance over time. The articles also discuss how this framework can be used effectively in classroom settings, helping teachers to stimulate reflection on the key challenges of assessing and learning from successes…(More)”.