Skip to content Skip to navigation

Citizen, Customer, Partner: Engaging the Public in Public Management: Engaging the Public in Public Management

Thomas, J. C. (2014). Routledge.

For almost fifty years, scholars and practitioners have debated what the connections should be between public administration and the public. Does the public serve principally as citizen-owners, those to whom administrators are responsible? Are members of the public more appropriately viewed as the customers of government? Or, in an increasingly networked world, do they serve more as the partners of public administrators in the production of public services? The author starts with the premise that the public comes to government not principally in one role but in all three roles, as citizens and customers and partners. The purpose of the book is to address the dual challenge implied by that reality: (1) to help public administrators and other public officials to understand the complex nature of the public they face, and (2) to provide recommendations for how public administrators can most effectively interact with the public in the different roles. Using this comprehensive perspective, the text helps students, practitioners, and scholars understand when and how the public should be integrated into the practice of public administration. Most of the chapters include multiple boxed cases that illustrate the content with real-world examples. Included is an extremely useful appendix that collects and summarizes the 40 Design Principles--specific advice for public organizations on working with the public as customers, partners, and citizens.