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Strategic Implementation: An Illustration of Theory/Practice Disconnect in Public Administration

PAQ, Vol. 42 No. 1, (2018)

Public administration scholars and practitioners alike struggle to promote the effectiveness of government and its institutions in the current political and policy environments. Successful implementation of government strategic initiatives is a vehicle to improve responsiveness and results to the public. However, the disconnect between public administration scholars and practitioners threatens its utility. The case of strategic implementation demonstrates the scholar/practitioner divide and illustrates how such a gap can hamper government effectiveness, as shown by comparing the empirical prescriptions from a recent study on strategic implementation in US municipalities to the practical reality within the same sample. Public organizations utilized generic approaches to implementation where contingent ones are empirically prescribed. Further, the contingent application of implementation tools did not mirror those recommended in prior scholarly study. As a whole, this disconnect reduced implementation success by over 20 percent. The study recommends steps to increase the use of scholarly research in practice.

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