Public Organization Review

, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp 321-339

First online:

Challenges Facing Public Sector Management in an Era of Downsizing, Devolution, Dispersion and Empowerment—and Accountability?

  • J. STEVEN OttAffiliated withCollege of Social and Behavioral Science, University of Utah
  • , LISA A. DickeAffiliated withDepartment of Political Science, Texas Tech University

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Agencies at all levels of government are facing strong ideological pressures to downsize, devolve, dispense, and empower both employees and recipients of services. These ideological pressures provide many performance advantages, but collectively they threaten historic notions of achieving economy, efficiency, and effectiveness, along with accountability. It has been widely assumed in recent years that advancements in information technology and performance measurement provide adequate replacements for the historic notion that accountability flows up-the-hierarchy to elected officials and the sovereignty. These technologies, however, are not yet able to ensure responsible administration or accountability in many areas of domestic government services. Today's public managers can play leading roles in developing alternative approaches for achieving accountability if they are supported by forward-looking human resources management (HRM) agencies.

Human Resources Management (HRM) accountability devolution diffusion empowerment information technology performance measurement organizational culture