D Q 8-1

 Pick a situation in which a public administrator would find themselves. Describe what type of political influence is best utilized for specific situation. 

DQ 8-1 responses


Public administrators are faced with difficult decision-making situations. They often have to visualize the big picture in order to understand how these decisions will impact the general public in which they serve. I have learned in various roles in leadership, that you cannot always please everyone. There will always be a select few individuals who aren’t happy with the outcome of decisions made. From what I have learned in the last few courses is that by having transparency with constituents and colleagues, will provide clarity in the decision making process and things will generally work out.

A basic example would be placement of a stop sign at a busy intersection. Perhaps this intersection is on a country road near homes. I would expect public administrators, who are responsible for making decisions such as where to place stop signs, may hear from both sides of the public arguing for the need of a stop sign due to safety concerns and those who oppose the placement due to destruction of natural habitat concerns. Either way, it is a tough decision faced by the public administration department responsible. There would be influence from both sides arguing for their support. The public administrator would have to look at the overall picture and focus on what is best for the citizens in the area. If I were the public administrator I would focus on safety for the public. Therefore, I would want to see data collected on how unsafe this intersection is. For example, the number of traffic accidents reported, and foot traffic expected. This would help me to decide that a stop sign is warranted.


Johnson, C. E. (2013). Meeting the ethical challenges of leadership: Casting light or shadow. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. ISBN-13: 9781452259185 URL:http://gcumedia.com/digital-resources/sage/2013/meeting-the-ethical-challenges-of-leadership_ebook_5e.php


Public administrators often find themselves making decisions based on their professional experience. When considering best practices in the workplace, I believe that it is important to take a set back and understand the current processes. When a new administrator comes into an office, usually they will push many of their past tendencies towards influencing change. The best way to influence change is to make your team a part of that change. Negotiating processes can therefore lead to best practices.

Political influence is best used when a clear problem and need for change is identified. This allows the direction and mission to shift with influential intend and a sense of moral need. In 2008, former President Obama named Mr. Shinseki as the Secretary of the Veterans Administration. As a Veteran himself, he believed that Veteran homelessness was unacceptable and guided policy to combat this epidemic. This focus influenced many public administrators to lead this cause and felt a personal commitment by this influence for change.



An effective public administrator needs to stay cognizant of how their decisions will ripple out.  What is the effect of a decision on the entire community?  All leadership decisions are going to have positive and negative points, the hope is that at the end of the day, the good will outweigh the bad, or the benefits will outweigh the costs.  This mindset is almost always a negotiation, even if it is within their own administration.  

Public administrators often want to leave a legacy behind as they leave an office or move on to another.  This legacy may be part of their personal vision for the community.  Something like an additional rapid transit system for the area, may be something that the administrator thinks would benefit a portion of the community.  Since there is already a  public transit system in place, the administrator should use their personal political influence to attempt to accomplish their goals.  It would be inappropriate if they were to assert their official political powers.  

Giving the community a chance to be heard and to come onboard voluntarily would be better than forcing the tax payers to foot the bill for a pet project.  

Johnson, C. E. (2013). Meeting the ethical challenges of leadership: Casting light or shadow. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. ISBN-13: 9781452259185