Public Management

… a core term used in Governance and Institutions and Atlas100


In his syllabus (reference below) for the Kennedy School’s course on Strategic Management for Public Purposes, Peter Zimmerman defines public management as:

the work of mobilizing others to accomplish socially useful purposes and advance the public interest.”

Scholars have debated the relationship of public management to the fields of public administration and political science. However, in his 2006 book, Public management: old and new, Laurence Lynn Jr begins with the assertion that:

“public management is a nexus where politics, law, and administration necessarily engage each other” (p. ix) and that “no authoritative distinction can be drawn between the concept of administration and that of management despite considerable scholarly effort to make such a distinction” and therefore that “The history of public administration, which encompasses the emergence and evolution of structures of authority, of “best practices” and of institutionalized values, is also, therefore, a history of public  management.” (p. xii).

Atlas topic, subject, and course

The Study of Governance and Institutions (core topic) in Governance and Institutions and Atlas100 Governance and Institutions.


Zimmerman, Peter (2012). Syllabus for HKS course MLD-110A, at (accessed 11 February 2013).

Lynn Jr., Laurence E. (2006). Public management: old and new, Routledge, New York.

Page created by: Ian Clark, last modified 5 August 2016.