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On Civility and Resilient Governance

PAQ, Vol. 36 No. 1, (2012)

As the inaugural article in the Public Administration Quarterly series on “Resilient Governance,” this essay argues that one key to creating resilient governance is promoting civility and discouraging incivility. Why start with civility? Many values influence the performance of public servants other than the traditional notions of efficiency and cost-effectiveness, both of which are increasingly stressed in an uncertain economic environment. The challenges to the commonweal resulting from incivility are clear. Frequently this incivility goes unchecked; it then surfaces in the form of violence. Seemingly random acts of violence can endanger any free society.

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