Master’s of Public Administration Professional Papers

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    Finding a Way to Deliberative Democracy: Rural Montana Historical Societies and the Reinvigoration of the Social Bond
    (2013-12) Higgins, Megan M.
    The practicalities of public administration accepting O.C. McSwite’s challenge to become the new carrier of the social bond are formidable. This study argues that for public administration to successfully transition from a market-based bond to a social bond of discourse, it is the responsibility of citizens to first firmly established public discourse as a practice in civil society. This study asks: as a civic association, to what extent does a historical society have the capacity to reinvigorate the social bond? To answer that question this research uses a qualitative strategy in conducting an exploratory study of four rural Montana historical societies and their attendant museums. The findings show that rural historical societies, as active caretakers of community identity within the political realm of civil society, meet the benchmarks for the reinvigoration of the social bond: concern for community welfare; acknowledgement of a mutual dependence within civil society; recognition of a multiplicity of diverse views; and a commitment to public engagement in collaborative, consensus driven decision-making.
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    Exploring the Implementation of New Public Service Role within Disaster Management
    (2013-01) Ranck, Andrew T.
    Disasters, both natural and manmade, can occur throughout the world at any given time and are caused by numerous different types of events. Communities that experience disasters often must utilize contingency plans to manage the direct and after affects carnage of the disasters. Many survivors of disasters must rely on aid from the international community to begin the revitalization process of the community. The international community acts under its own accord doing what it thinks is the best following the aftermath of a disaster within a community. This research project demonstrates the use of the New Public Service model to give local communities the ability to begin the revitalization of the community without the assistance of the international community. By being a part of the community revitalization, the community is able to have a direct impact on the outcomes that will affect the community and its future generations. The new public service model also influences the organizational dynamics, leadership, and coordination of the community in the event of a disaster. This paper demonstrates how New Public Service can be implemented within a disaster stricken community and how it shapes organizational dynamics helping to revitalize the community.
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    An Assessment of the Safety Program within the Department of Interior US Geological Survey
    (2013-01) Schmitz, Stephanie L.
    The intent of the Occupational Safety and Health Act is to protect American workers from unsafe work environments and provide citizens safe access to America’s natural resources. The safety program of the Department of Interior US Geological Survey is evaluated through qualitative analysis of secondary survey data. The comment data came from 6 years of employee opinion surveys about the USGS safety program. Funding, communication, leadership and management, and program awareness need improvement which will in turn improve the other 12 categories identified by the survey participants. Further effort needs to be made to improve the overall safety program within the US Geological Survey.
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    Individual Interpretation Matters: The Influence of Policy Narrative Elements on Individual Policy Preference
    (2013-01) Adams, Stephanie M.
    Narrative Policy Framework (NPF) provides a framework for analyzing how policy narrative elements can influence an individual’s policy preference in a manner that adheres to traditional scientific standards. At the micro-level, NPF is nascent in empirically testing whether specific narrative elements have an effect in influencing individual opinion formation. The narrative element of causal mechanism, which is embedded in policy narratives to assign responsibility and blame, is an important element that has not yet been examined. This study utilizes an experimental design to analyze which specific type of causal mechanism has a greater influence on individual opinion. As a treatment, four policy narratives were developed based on the two opposing policy preferences expressed in public comments pertaining to a controversial land use issue in Montana. For each policy preferences two narratives were developed; one with an inadvertent and another with an intentional casual mechanism. A survey pre-test measured the dependent variables of policy opinion, while controlling for policy preference, general knowledge, and political ideology. A control narrative was also employed. After exposure to one of the five randomly assigned policy narratives, a post-test was administered to determine changes in policy opinion. A probability sample of college students was employed, with n=778. Both paired t-tests and regression analyses reveal that the intentional casual mechanism has the ability to strongly influence an individual policy preference. The inadvertent causal mechanism influences those who initially hold an opposing policy preference than the one presented in the narrative. The importance of this study for public administrators is that it further illuminates the influence that narrative elements, specifically causal mechanisms, can have on influencing individual opinion.
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