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Dr. P.M. Patterson

Dr. Patterson

Dr. P. M. Patterson
Associate Professor
Florida Atlantic University
School of Public Administration

Dr. P. M. Patterson (B.A., LeMoyne College ; M.P.A., M.A., Ph. D., The American University) teaches courses in Public Administration and Policy in FAU's graduate and undergraduate programs. An active member of the Public Administration Theory Network ( PAT-net ), Dr. Patterson serves on the Editorial Board and is the former Book Review Editor of the journal, Administrative Theory and Praxis .

Dr. Patterson's own research focuses on the experience, expression, and communication of marginality, emotion, and dissent in public administrative arenas. This document summarizes much of Dr. Patterson's scholarly work, small, medium, and large. Most published work is available to students and to the public either on the world wide web, or through the proprietary data bases of university libraries. Unpublished work may be viewed on reserve at the MacArthur campus library, or requested by contacting the author directly (during the academic year).

Published Work

“’A Long Way Toward What?” Sex, Gender, Feminism, and the Study of Public Administration.”  With First Author, K. McGinn.  International Journal of Public Administration, 2005, 28 (11 & 12), 929-942.

Asks how far public administration scholarship has come in its understandings of gender.  Offers a typology for published articles in the field, roughly that: women are absent entirely from consideration in many articles; that women exist as exemplars and exceptions in some articles; that some articles treat gender as a variable in an equation (and as something that only women have); that some articles assert that women are or present scholarly problems; that some articles engage in serious questioning about gender; and finally, that a redefined inclusive scholarship is possible.

“ASPA Members Sign Anti-Torture Statement:  PAT-NET Conferees Discuss PA Responsibility to Teach Against Torture.” PA Times, 2004, 27 (9): 15.

News report on actions taken by the author and others to promote discussion of administrative responsibility to oppose torture.

“The Reflective Practitioner and the Uses of Rhetoric.” With first author, D. Farmer. Public Administration Review , 2003, 63 (1): 105-111.

This essay invites readers of PA's flagship journal to consider modifiers other than “empty” for the noun, rhetoric. It asserts the essential usefulness of rhetoric in politics and administration, as a way to provide persuasive emphasis to be sure, but also as a technique of analysis, a way in which administrators manifest their latent signatures, and an indicator of the constrained signature of PA as a field.

“Writing and Re-Writing the Discipline: Introduction….” Administrative Theory and Praxis , 2003, 25 (1): 3-8.

In June of 2002, the Public Administration Theory Network's annual conference adopted as its theme, “Writing and Rewriting the Discipline.” There, and in the ATP symposium intended to follow up, the idea was to examine and illuminate basic features of the writing, or construction, of the PA field. This piece introduces that symposium, in which authors were asked to consider models of legitimate(d) writing, successful writers, and any limits imposed by current genres, styles, traditions and forms in PA writing. The introduction itself reflects on modes, meanings and purposes of written production, circulation, and authorization.

“Interpretation, Contradiction, and Refusal: The Best Lack All Conviction?” Administrative Theory and Praxis , 2003, 25 (2): 233-242.

In conventional terms, this manuscript uses a politically relevant Yeat's poem as “data” in order to illustrate, for a PA audience, useful formalist and intentionalist interpretive methodologies borrowed from literary criticism. However, since questions concerning to whom interpretations must be acceptable and to whom they may remain debatable or unacceptable are political questions (both in literary study and in social science), rhetoric is entailed in arguing for particular interpretations. Foundationalist principles and methodological strategies become rhetorical resources rather than means to correct interpretation. The article then raises questions about the sufficiency of rhetorical conviction as counterweight to fascist certainty, whether encountered in a poem or in the variable “texts” of government.

“Serving for Fun and Profit: A Critique of Servant Leadership.” Public Voices, 2001/2002, V (1-2): 39-48.

This article constitutes an assertive critique of “servant leader” traits and visions. After an inquiry into the nature of the empathy often attributed to the practitioners of servant leadership, the essay delivers hearty objections. It points to conceptual maskings of the very hierarchies the approach pretends to undo, and suggests the status of servant leadership as theology rather than theory.

“Imagining Anti-Administration's Anti-Hero”, Administrative Theory and Praxis , 2001, 23 (4): 529-540.

Suggesting the “trickster” figure as a personification of Farmer's (1995) concept, “anti-administration”, this publication compares and contrasts the trickster's anti-hero qualities to the characteristics and commitments of the agonistic hero in contemporary theoretical discourses of administration.

“Viscera, Emotion, and Administration.” Administrative Theory and Praxis , June 2001, 23 (2): 205-230.

Using the vehicle of the negative emotions, this article argues that Public Administration has something to gain by taking embodied human persons and their most visceral emotions into better account. The article illustrates how administrators grapple with and regulate a plethora of disgusting substances, people, acts, and situations for us, and how they might do so without commodification of feeling, and with more humanity. It invites consideration of the scholar's responsibility to understand something about these complex emotions.

“Reinventing the Public Body: Feminist Theories, Embodiment, and Public Administration” Introduction to a Symposium, Administrative Theory and Praxis , June 2001, 23 (2): 175-186.

This article introduces a symposium by declaring and distinguishing multiple referents of the term “embodiment”, explicating their relevance to public administration, and linking them to symposium articles. Feminist and other theories can help public administration acknowledge bodies as communally consequential objects of administrative interest, the tablets of power, and the means through which culture is produced, articulated, and enacted.

“Introduction: Still ‘Enthralled with Modernity'? Toward Postrationalist Discourse Theories.” With C. S. King and F. Scott. American Review of Public Administration . 30 (3) 2000, 221-224.

Although public administration theorists, scholars, and practitioners increasingly recognize postmodern conditions, we have yet to develop the lenses, languages, and practices to go beyond the modernity in which we are mired. This co-authored symposium introduction dares to propose the inadequacy of both technicist and reductionist rationalist theory streams in public administration, and suggests transformative processes as alternatives to instrumental ones.

“Non-Virtue is Not Apathy: Warrants for Discourse and Citizen Dissent.” American Review of Public Administration. 30 (3) September 2000, 225-251.

This article argues that conditions of subordination limit opportunities for citizen participation and discourse and alter the forms and meanings of each. It shows how open participation in the forms recognized as conventional, virtuous, and authentic is often neither possible nor wise, particularly in administrative environments. In the last analysis, the article documents a need for further and more incisive research, to go beyond the means and into the ends of deliberative discourse, and to see how they are intertwined.

“The Sounds of Silence: Neither Exit, nor Loyalty, nor Voice?” Journal of Public Affairs Education, 6 (1) January 2000, 19-33.

Using focus groups and an interpretive methodology, this research argues the importance to public affairs of student silence. Such silences seem a proper concern of educators who aspire to inspire, to “cultivate” public administrators who reason well and understand multiple points of view. Using an interpretive interactionist method, the research thematically addresses student comments and quotes to show that students make many and varied meanings of their own silences. Much is expected of those whose “business” is the study of public space, public speech, public issues, and public authority. In view of those expectations, the research suggests factors that professors of public affairs might consider deeply, if they are interested in transforming patterns of silent exit, assumed loyalty, and unequal opportunity for voice.

“The Talking Cure and the Silent Treatment: Some Limits of ‘Discourse' as Speech.” Administrative Theory and Praxis, 22 (4) 2000, 663-695.

This publication inquires after the purposes of talk, particularly as remedy and practice in “deliberative democracy.” It discusses the increasingly generic prescriptions for talk, in light of a partial taxonomy of silence and an economy of listening. It considers whether the prescription for talk is likely to be appreciated, interpreted, and applied evenly across the political body, given historical experience. The article also investigates silence as mode and sign of exclusion, withdrawal, and resistance, and suggests there is more to silence than the absence of talk. Using the metaphor of “the talking cure”, the article asks why we should talk, how, who will listen, and what that has to do with governance. Finally, it suggests that the dominant way in which “discourse” is coming to be conceptualized and materialized in institutions is as “talk”, and that this viewpoint has its limits. Contrasting the insights of Foucault and Habermas, the article reasserts the more potent claim of discourse theory--that systems of thought and language construct reality and create us--and critiques the definition of conversation as the new reality.

“Organizing Thinking About Organizations.” Co-authored with J. Donohue. Public Productivity and Management Review ( now Public Performance and Management Review). 23 (2) 1999: 240-247.

This book review essay considers M. J. Hatch, Organization Theory: Modern, Symbolic, and Postmodern Perspectives , and J. Pfeffer, New Directions for Organization Theory: Problems and Prospects . First, it lays out what Hatch and Pfeffer claim are the important concepts and controversies in the field and the objects, entities, and processes of concern to them. Second, it examines the frameworks through which these objects are observed and the authors' positions toward “paradigm proliferation.” Finally, the essay turns the authors' frameworks on their heads by considering them, and their limitations, via a book review strategy flowing from the authors' very own advice.

“Market Metaphors and Political Vocabularies: The Case of the Marginalized Citizen.” Public Productivity and Management Review. 22 (2) 1998, 220-231.

In a classic 1946 essay, Herbert Simon cautioned that administrative proverbs, besides being potentially contradictory, provided little guidance about the circumstances under which they did and did not apply. In essence, this article offers a critique of the proverb “government should be run like a business”, and an investigation of the elemental qualities of the citizen. It challenges now conventional assertions that public sector bureaucrats routinely mistreat the public, yet will be inspired to treat “customers” better. At length, it suggests reasons why regarding the public as a constellation of “citizens” is superior to market-based alternatives. A vocabulary that emphasizes citizenship has important implications for the “standing” of the public in its encounters with bureaucrats and bureaucracies. Though this is by now well-trod ground in PA, this once timely article attempted to show how, in the absence of a political vocabulary, citizens and government are marginalized rather than improved.

“Strategic Customers or Strategic Citizens: Public Leadership and Resistant Followership.” In Leading Organizations: Perspectives for a New Era , G. Hickman, ed. Thousand Oaks , CA : Sage Publications, 1998, pp. 217-226.

This book chapter examines the ways in which citizens covertly and overtly resist bureaucratic authority, in hopes of revealing the challenges to public leaders created by citizen reluctance to follow. It conceptualizes and illustrates a set of citizen strategies for coping with and struggling with bureaucracies in street level relations. These efforts preserve the dignity and agency of the individuals, even if they do not constitute a successful (or even advisable) challenge to bureaucratic power. This research argues that, in the long run, false parallels between market and government

obscure these political possibilities, depriving public leaders of important forms of feedback and support, and citizens of accessible means of expressing voice.

“Impacts of Traditional Explanatory Factors on Average Grade Increases in the U.S. Cabinet Level Departments.” Co-authored with S. L. Durst and J. J. Ramsden. Public Administration Review , 49 (4) 1989, 363-371.

This quantitative empirical research appeared in the discipline's flagship journal at a time when quantitative work was of limited popularity and in very short supply. It examined traditional explanations of the increase in average classification grade of the United States General Schedule workforce from the early 1970's through 1987. Descriptive statistics were included, and a causal model was developed that distinguished between classification grade “increase” and grade “inflation”. The relative and simultaneous impacts of three causal variables were explored, with appropriate controls, whereas previous empirical work had measured the impact of causal factors separately. The results stressed the role of changes in technology and education in the federal workforce, altering its occupational mix, and legitimately inclining its grade structure toward the professional ranks.

Other Work

“Describing Things No One Else Will.” Forum dialogue, with multiple collaborators. Administrative Theory and Praxis , 2002, 24 (2): 363-368.

This interchange of letters illustrates the potential impact of unfettered anti-administrative writing on and by young scholars. It frames and publicizes a letter from an anonymous young administrator, in defense of living in “un-authorized” styles and administrative venues.

“An Instrument for Feminist Assessment of Women's Studies Programs.” Feminist Teacher . Co-author, L. McCulley. 10 (2) Winter 1996/Spring 1997.

This brief article and its lengthy creative attachment presents a practical, in-depth instrument for the evaluation of Women' Studies programs, and the rationale and means for its use. It has acted as a resource to academic programs which frequently lack “hard” data to document their many achievements and positive outcomes.

“Feminist Empowerment Through the Internet.” Co-author, L. McCulley . Feminist Collections. 17 (2) (Winter/Spring 1996).

This article reflected on women “talking back” in different media, and considered the (then) future impact of electronic communications on political participation. It discussed the prospects for political organizing, contacting government officials, and so forth, and forecast how such interactions might change when women could be “heard but not seen.”

“Social Choice Theories of Bureaucratic Decision-Making.” A review and critique of this literature, cited/excerpted in Charles Levine, B. Guy Peters, and Frank J. Thompson, Public Administration: Challenges, Choices, Consequences, Glenview , Ill. : Scott, Foresman, 1990: 284-293, 302.

Rather than a publication of my own, this citation is for the publication of excerpts of my work. The excerpted material is from my literature review and critique of social choice theories of bureaucratic (rather than legislative) decision-making.

“Critical Junctures in the Emergence of Gender Wage Differentials.” Unpublished and Unabstracted Dissertation, The American University , Washington , DC , July 1994. (Committee: B. Schiller, Chair; L. Langbein; G. Young; Dean, C. Kerwin).

This study longitudinally investigates the development of gender wage differentials in the lives of young women. Cross-sectional research demonstrates that the relative wages of young women and men are more equal than the wages of all women relative to all men, and that the ratio of female to male earnings deteriorates with age. Viewed longitudinally however, smaller differentials among the young may not represent improvements in equality for women ver time and may or may not presage lifetime equality. Therefore, it is crucial to distinguish progress across cohorts from a life course process within a cohort.

Critical considerations in the formulation of pertinent public policy are when and how wages diverge by gender, and if and how wages diverge within various subgroups of the population. The gender wage gap must develop over time, as young women and men are offered different alternatives, make different choices, and find their contributions differently valued.

This study focuses on the early experiences of young women, utilizing data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY), an ongoing panel study of nearly 13,000 youth. A subset of young black and white females, and a subset of white males, is stratified by levels of schooling attained. Individuals are then followed throughout the 1980's as they accumulate post-schooling “investments” and family responsibilities. Graphs and tables depict the early longitudinal evolution of gender wage gaps among subgroups by gender, race, and educational achievement.

The most striking finding is a consistent gender gap in hourly wages, for every group, from the very first jobs following high school and college graduation. Distinct leaps and plunges do not occur for particular groups at particular points in time, but rather, young women's relative wages erode subtly and gradually over time. However, simple description may obscure potential critical junctures which influence later wages. This study investigates the explanatory capacities of three theoretical models of the evolution of wage gaps in the lives of young black and white women – the human capital approach, institutional approaches, and a composite of feminist approaches. Three stylized, causal longitudinal models are developed, and necessary paths for each model are tested for all included youth, and for subgroups by race, sex, and education.

Taken together, descriptive and explanatory findings suggest that quantity of post schooling human capital, while a universally important explanation of 1988 wage levels, is acquired through processes which vary by race, gender and educational status.

Content Last Updated on: February 21, 2014
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