Good political science case study example


Faith City is a city focused on its commitment to preserve and further improve the historical landmarks in its area of coverage. It wants to be able to exhibit human diversity and the city’s history while also aiming to increase the city’s income through tourism. The Faith City Government’s main partner in realizing this objective is Our Landmark Town, a non-profit organization. Our Landmark Town is currently operating under federal funds and through individual and corporate donations. However, its Director, Mr. Johnson, is currently retiring and has only devoted a period of two weeks to turnover his post and help in the familiarization process.
Initially, Mr. Johnson described that the organization, at this time, employs twenty people. All of them directly report to him, a practice that he infused, with the belief that this was the best way for him to make certain that his employees are productive. Adding to this, Mr. Johnson shared information about two of his employees, Tim Smith and Jennifer Waters, both fund raisers in Our Landmark Town. For Mr. Johnson’s personal reasons, Tim is earning more than Jennifer even though Jennifer is a much better fund raiser than Tim is. Jennifer was even qualified for a higher position, but Mr. Johnson promoted someone else instead, because he couldn’t bear to lose her as a fund raiser. However, Mr. Johnson’s decision affected Jennifer’s performance negatively.
Other issues and problems within Our Landmark Town were also revealed. In fact, the media was already in on the organization for lack of transparency in its operations and for favoring affluent areas and individuals in terms of locating organizational projects and initiatives. Mr. Johnson’s extravagance in expressing his gratitude to donors has also raised a lot of questions.
Based on this information, it can be seen that Our Landmark Town is now facing administrative problems not only in transparency in operations and favoritism, but also involves problems on human resource management and budgeting. Under the principles of public administration, Frank Goodnow (1900) and Leonard D. White (1926) state that administration should not be regarded simply as a function of executive authority; instead it should be seen as the function of executing the will of the state. Then again, the organization has been executing Mr. Johnson’s will since he took on Our Landmark Town’s leadership.
Our Landmark Town vis-à-vis the Values of Public Administration
According to Zeger van der Wal and Leo Huberts (2008), the values of public administration include accountability, honesty, impartiality, organizational interest, public interest, reliability, efficiency, effectiveness, transparency, sustainability, incorruptibility, participative, and integrity, among others, counted in their long list of values. Looking into Our Landmark Town, one of its problems is having a top-down administration where Mr. Johnson, being the Director, has been calling the shots. Jane Addams (1904) explains that the top-down approach in governance is not responsive to the people’s needs or desires as they should be. In fact, this manifests on how Mr. Johnson has been the sole decision-maker in terms of where projects should be implemented, which contractors they should hire, how to spend the organization’s money, and who should manage Our Landmark Town’s personnel. Applying this approach in administration does not adhere to the values of integrity, incorruptibility, and impartiality.
Furthermore, Mr. Johnson is biased towards implementing projects in Faith City’s affluent areas for the reason that this is where the donors reside. He may have a point, but Our Landmark Town’s funds primarily come from taxpayers’ money and everyone should benefit from the organization’s initiatives. His decisions are against the values of public interest, effectiveness, and sustainability. Mr. Johnson was also known for giving these affluent donors lavish gifts. This indulgence would deplete the organization’s resources and possibly limit its capability to maintain current projects and expand their initiatives in the other areas of Faith City.
Our Landmark Town can also be considered as inefficient and does not respond to organizational interest in terms of personnel management. Frederick Taylor (1912) introduced scientific management in public administration where he maintains that management has four key elements—first, scientific methods should replace all rules-of-thumb; second, the scientific selection and training of each worker; third, cooperation; and fourth, equal division of work between management and worker. In Our Landmark Town’s case, Mr. Johnson can be criticized on how he has monopolized the tasks of overseeing employee productivity and decision-making on compensation and personnel movement. For instance, keeping Jennifer Waters as a fund raiser is an example of a management style that contradicts Taylor’s second element of scientific management, because employees are selected for promotion on a whim instead of basing it on their skills, capacities, and knowledge. Furthermore, keeping Jennifer in her current post had deprived her of opportunities to grow as an employee.

Jennifer Waters and Tim Smith

Jennifer Waters, despite her qualifications for promotion as Project Manager, was denied of this opportunity. In circumstances such as this, some of the things that an employee can do are: [1] – to express his/her emotions to the boss or the human resources (HR) department about the situation; [2] – personally find out the boss’ reasons for not giving him/her the promotion through a scheduled meeting; and [3] – to seek out help from HR or his/her boss in terms self-improvement to make sure that promotion is secured the next time around . However, since Our Landmark Town does not have an existing HR department, Jennifer’s only recourse is the organization’s Director. She can express her disappointment about Mr. Johnson’s decision and seek out help on how she can ensure promotion in the future.
With regards to the case of pay discrepancy closely linking Jennifer Waters with Tim Smith, it should be recognized that there is a problem, especially with the fact that this was a result of decision-making process that was based on Mr. Johnson’s personal caprices. Jennifer Water’s case is a concrete violation of the Equal Pay Act, a law ratified in 1963 to close the gap between the compensations provided to women and men .

Fulfilling the Organization’s Mandate and Instilling Transparency

Looking at Jennifer Waters and Tim Smith’s situation and the problems involving them are merely surface-level problems in Our Landmark Town. The organization’s problems and issues are administrative in nature, thus require huge changes in order to address them properly. Woodrow Wilson (1887), in “ The Study of Administration,” calls for the creation of a science administration, which essentially, means creating a system that holds government people accountable for everything they do. Although Our Landmark Town is a non-government entity, this principle should still be adopted, as the organization is funded by public money.
The initial step that should be taken is to look into Our Landmark Town’s existing documents, from plans, budgets, financial reports, operational policies and procedures, and accomplishment reports. These documents should be reviewed to establish a baseline data of the organization’s situation. The baseline would give the current administration a good basis for initiating change within the organization.
However, from the initial description provided in this case study, Our Landmark Town is in need of an organizational restructuring. This proposed operations structure would be based on what Our Landmark Town’s function really is—assist Faith City in achieving its mission to promote human diversity and to preserve the city’s history and its goal to increase city revenue through tourism; and to be a good steward of the public funds being utilized for the aforementioned purposes. The structure would include a division for external affairs and another for internal affairs.
The External Affairs Division would handle fund raising and donor servicing, client support and public relations, and clientele service provision. The clientele service providers would be mainly responsible for tourism and development, which would comprised of the tour guides and project managers. This division would be the frontline implementers of Faith City’s mission and goals for tourism, diversity, and historical preservation. On the other hand, the Internal Affairs Division would be the frontline stewards of the public funds, as they would be composed of the personnel for human resource and development, finance management, and administrative concerns. Each division would require a manager and a supervisor for each unit within the said divisions. Roughly, the proposed structure should appear as the image below:
A lot of Our Landmark Town’s problems would be addressed by institutionalizing this proposed operations structure. For one, the issues on transparency could be addressed by having the two divisions. The External Affairs Division would be responsible for fund utilization through service provision and project development and management. On the other hand, the Internal Affairs Division, through the Finance Management Unit, would take on the recording and ensuring proper use of organizational funds. This way, check and balance is maintained within the organization. In addition, having a proper delineation of organizational roles and functions related to the funds would be complemented by institutionalizing organizational processes, procedures, and policies.
William Willoughby (1918) states that budget is the ultimate accountability tool in public administration. V. O. Key (1940) added that budgeting is an important component that has major political consequences and thus, people who manage budget must have interest in the public. That is why another major added value to this organizational restructuring is the Board of Directors, composed of ordinary citizens of Faith City, individual and corporate donors, relevant public officials, and Our Landmark Town’s Director. The Board would be the highest decision-making body for the organization. It would be composed of representatives from the different parts of the city to equalize opportunities for Our Landmark Town’s projects. To ensure that Our Landmark Town is fulfilling the values of accountability and sustainability, Board-approved financial plans and reports would be presented to the Faith City government annually.
With regards to addressing transparency in operations, as Mr. Johnson had been the sole decision-maker in terms of project locations, with the new structure, the Clientele Services Unit would take on that responsibility. This team, at the start of projects, would conduct consultations with Faith City residents in terms of appropriate projects that may be implemented in their part of the city, along with proposals for budget allocation for site development. Surveys would also be carried out to gather feedback from the city’s visitors on how Faith City and Our Landmark Town can further improve its services in promoting diversity and history.
Considering that this change entails expansion of responsibilities for the organization, careful planning processes would carried out on an annual basis. Success of these plans would be measured through defining indicators of success, such as the amount of city revenue earned through tourism, number of projects successfully operating in different parts of the city, number of visitors that came into Faith City for a particular period, and the number of organized events that drew in visitors. Within all of these undertakings, the Director’s functions, according to Luther Gulick (1937), is planning, organizing, staffing, directing, coordinating, reporting, and budgeting. This only means that the Director participates in all of these management components by leading, overseeing, and making corrections or recommendations to further improve the organization’s undertakings.

Motivating Jennifer Waters and the Rest of Our Landmark Town

Nonetheless, going back to Jennifer Waters’ decreased productivity, the organizational restructuring could be key to addressing this problem. Since the proposed organizational structure presents a more elaborate and principled management approach, it opens an opportunity for Jennifer to get the promotion that she wants, including the possible compensation increase that she deserves. Bearing Abraham Maslow’s (1943) Theory of Human Motivation in mind, a sincere talk with Jennifer would be necessary to discuss how the organizational changes could address her concerns. Jennifer would be offered a supervisory position in the Fund Raising and Donor Servicing Unit, which also would entail an increase in compensation, addressing her physiological needs, her esteem, and possibly, her need for self-actualization, according to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. The sincere talk would make her feel safe in the organization and give her a sense of belongingness, re-earning her trust and hopefully, her enthusiasm to work and increase her productivity.


Leadership is one of the key elements in public administration. However, this does not mean that leadership only relies on one person’s judgment. In public administration, Gulick also highlights the importance of combining the top-down and bottom-up approaches (Hammond, 1990). Concretely, creating avenues for people to participate in processes and programs that would impact their daily lives is one of the most important aspects in this combination. The case of Our Landmark Town was a good exercise on how to build a system to achieve this.
Another lesson from the case study is giving high importance to accountability and integrity as a leader. Max Weber (1922), in “ Bureaucracy,” details that public administration should have a system based on by-laws and documents. Weber gives an important input on accountability and integrity, because, by having rules and regulatory measures, people will have references to their day-to-day operations, they have principles to follow, and procedures to observe as they serve the citizens of Faith City.


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