University of Michigan Gateway Ford School

Managing for Inclusion

Professor Martha Feldman, University of Michigan
Dr. Anne Khademian

Professor Feldman and Dr. Khademian received support from the Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy to fund their continuing research on Managing for Inclusion.

Feldman and Khademian have identified forms of "managing for inclusion" in the practices of a number of public managers. The focus of such management is on capacity building to enable broad participation in the process of making and implementing public decisions.

This participation includes employees of public organizations as well as the people these organizations serve or interact with. They argue that Managing for Inclusion transforms the nature of management in subtle but fundamental ways, providing managers with new ways of dealing with the dynamic tensions in their jobs. Practicing managers must deal simultaneously with demands that scholars have often seen as trade-offs such as the demand for both bureaucratic control and democratic participation and for both flexibility and accountability.

Managing for Inclusion provides a way in which managers can deal with these demands as synergistic and dynamic tensions.

Managers who want to practice inclusive management almost always have to change the expectations and procedures of people working in the organization. Therefore, one important aspect of this research involves understanding change processes. Much has been written about bringing about organizational reform. Traditionally, the questions about reform have been 1) has it happened? and 2) is it effective?

Both questions presuppose that there is an "it" that can be transported from place to place relatively unchanged. The consequence is that research often results in statements about the disappointing showing of the idea rather than in understanding more about how the idea has changed the way work is accomplished. Feldman's work explores how the context in which inclusive management is implemented influences the process of changing work. One part of the project focuses on change and examines change processes in three cities: Charlotte, NC, Grand Rapids, MI and San Jose CA. Each city is at a different stage of adopting inclusive management.

Charlotte, NC has been moving in this direction the longest, Grand Rapids, MI is not far behind and San Jose, CA is at a fairly early stage of change. The goal of this work is to develop a theoretically substantial and practically applicable tool for assessing how ideas affect the way work is accomplished.

Because public organizations exist in a variety of different contexts, it is important to understand the relationship between context and the implementation of inclusive management. Feldman's research explores this issue by examining city administrations that have very different political contexts. For this part of the project two cities are examined: Grand Rapids, MI and Charlotte, NC. Though similar in many ways, they differ with respect to a major constraint: in one city unions are very important; in the other they are not at all. This constraint influences both how inclusive management can be practiced and how the cities can move in the direction of practicing inclusive management.

Several products have already developed from these projects. These include 2 published papers [1], 1 paper under review [2] and 3 conference papers[3]. Additional papers and a book, entitled Inclusive Management are planned.

[1] Principles for Public Management Practice: From Dichotomies to Interdependence. Martha S. Feldman and Anne M. Khademian, Governance, July 2001, Volume 14: 3: 339-362.

Managing for Inclusion: Balancing Control and Participation. Martha S. Feldman and Anne M. Khademian, International Journal of Public Management (2000) Volume 3:2:149-168.

[2] Reform Efforts and Accomplishing Work: A New Way To Assess The New Public Management by Martha S. Feldman.

[3] Change Processes in Two City Administrations. By Martha S. Feldman. Presented August, 1999 at the Managing the Big City Conference in Goteborg, SWEDEN.

Change processes and changing. by Martha S. Feldman, Ruth Nicole Brown and Debra Horner; Presented October 19, 2001 at the 6th National Public Management Research Conference, Bloomington, IN.

To Manage is to Govern. by Martha S. Feldman and Anne M. Khademian; Presented October 19, 2001 at the 6th National Public Management Research Conference, Bloomington, IN.  | 
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