Minnowbrook II (1988)
Features of the Second Minnowbrook Conference
The Second Minnowbrook Conference (also known as Minnowbrook II), commissioned in 1988, was organized by George FredericksonOpens in new window, distinguished professor and holder of the Stene Endowed Chair in Public Administration at the University of Kansas.
Minnowbrook II was held at the original Minnowbrook Conference Center, but it was quite organized and somewhat different from Minnowbrook I Opens in new window.
More so, because more people attended Minnowbrook II and almost half were female, whereas all the participants at Minnowbrook I Opens in new window had been male.
About half the Minnowbrook II participants were younger public administrators, with the other half being original “Minnows,” then mostly in their fifties.
The themes that emerged from Minnowbrook II reflected changes in public administration as an academic field. Frederickson summarized the themes from Minnowbrook II:
- First, more technicist;
- second, more individualist;
- third, a social equity perspective that now included gender and age;
- fourth, an emerging importance on productivity and performance measurement;
- and fifth, a great connection to mainstream social science and the positivist or Simon perspective.
Minnowbrook II was primarily oriented towards the maintenance of social equity, which was the predominant theme of Minnowbrook I Opens in new window. Thus social equityOpens in new window was given the same importance by Minnowbrook II.
In addition, Minnowbrook II went ahead to reiterate the concern for democratic values and offered it is duty of the public administration to promote them.
Whereas Minnowbrook IOpens in new window was radical and set long-term goals, Minnowbrook II felt that the environment was rapidly changing and becoming complex.
It is better that public administration Opens in new window sets its visions onto the near future, without trying to be radical. The major highlight for Minnowbrook II include:
- The consensus in the conference was not to lose disciplinary identity.
- Public administration has to rely on the best that business offers as well as the best that the non-profit public sector offers.
- Public personnel practices came in for closer scrutiny. Innovative personnel practices have to be introduced to bring out the best in the employees and also to increase productivity.
- There was consensus not to idolize technology as a necessary tool for improving public policy.
- They also avoided the specifics of what government should do.
Overall, Minnowbrook II was less controversial and probably less influential than Minnowbrook I.