The previous chapters have explained the nature of public management, stressed its differentiated appearance and highlighted the practical ways in which it is actually performed. At the same time, this book has sought to highlight the complexities and ambiguities of public policy, public service and non-profit services and the consequent ‘complications’ — or challenges — of dealing with management situations. We have therefore clarified public management, but there remain some areas that are less clear. Although obvious perspectives on public management can be distinguished, it is difficult to be precise about which perspectives can be applied in what ways, especially when circumstances are messy and political. Public management models and instruments cannot be detached from real and distinctive circumstances. ‘Organizational theories describe the delicate conversion of conflict into cooperation, the mobilization of resources, and the coordination of effort that facilitate the joint survival of an organization and its members’ (March and Simon, 1958: 2), and this can take many shapes and guises. Although general guidelines for these processes can be given, they have to be performed on a day-to-day basis, amidst ever variable circumstances.
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