The field of public administration, including government and nonprofit agencies, attracts people with a commitment to public service. They work in jobs in which they will face multiple demands from their agency stakeholders. However, public administrators must use effective means of communication in order to succeed in practicing open and honest government.
Before focusing on why communication is important in public agencies, consider how communication impacts the job of a single public manager. A person in a leadership role works with many different stakeholders, including other employees in the same agency, members of other agencies, legislators, public voters and agency program beneficiaries. Information exchanges with each of these types of stakeholders affects the outcomes achieved by the agency.
Communication also takes place between public administrators and members of special interest groups. This is particularly true when special interests, including private corporations, hire a lobbyist to influence legislation and administrative rules that will affect their business model. A public administrator must free herself from the unnecessary influence of special interests, and therefore strong assertive communication skills are essential to the job.
Communication also matters when you consider the role of a public administrator in the context of a larger group of public servants. Effective communication either leads to the success or failure of their public agencies. Public administrators must develop effective means of sharing information with each other and with stakeholders, especially the public. Open government, or the sharing of non-classified information, will increase government transparency and encourage public trust.
The importance of communication also falls to the "how" of public administrators, or how they get the message out to constituents about government activities. E-government is especially helpful in delivering information to constituents as consumers. Any agency can use an agency website to provide notices about upcoming meetings, policy initiatives, rules, procedures and other details that affect the public. In the best models, e-government provides an opportunity for dialogue between public administrators and citizens.
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