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Additional info for Achieving Competencies in Public Service: The Professional Edge, 2nd Edition
Companies have duties of loyalty to their shareholders, not to the country” (quoted in Klein 2007, 388). Balancing professionalism with politics and public interest with private interests requires artful juggling in a changing public service environment. Paradoxically, flat organizational structures, decentralized service delivery, employee empowerment, and virtual organizations (all part of the New Public Management movement, which began in the 1990s), simultaneously provide opportunities and threats for professional public servants.
While there was an increase in trust immediately following 9/11 (30 percent in 2000 vs. 64 percent in September 2001), just six years later a Gallup poll showed that levels of trust in the federal government were the lowest they had been in the previous decade (Jones 2007). Those in the public service can help to rebuild citizen confidence by further demonstrating to the populace that they are worthy of their trust. They can further reinforce confidence by ensuring that those delivering services— inside or outside of government—are in compliance with professional best practices.
Chances of success increase as they become better informed about the various decision-making processes in collaborating organizations, the values and interests of key stakeholders, the standard operating procedures of relevant institutions, and the extent of employee loyalty and commitment to organizational routines and goals. This requires familiarity with changes occurring in public service because government is privatizing and significant segments of the private sector are “governmentalizing” (Kettl 2000).