Public Organization Review

, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 213–234 | Cite as

Emergent Management Strategies in a Public Agency: A Case Study of Alternative Fuel Vehicles

  • Benoy Jacob
  • Eric Welch
  • Terence Simms


The ability of public organizations to invest in emerging technologies is dependent upon the degree to which they can effectively manage the risks of being a lead-user in a political environment. However, little is known about the dimensions and implications of the different forms of risk faced by innovative public organizations as well as the strategies employed to manage them. This paper addresses these issues by studying how one public agency implements a program of replacing its transportation fleet with alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs).


Coping Organizational learning Emergent strategies Alternative fuel vehicles Public sector management 


  1. Armistead, C. G., & Clark, G. (1994). The “coping” capacity management strategy in services and the influence on quality performance. International Journal of Service, 5(2), 5–22.Google Scholar
  2. Behn, R. (1988). Management by groping along. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 7(4), 643–663. doi: 10.2307/3323485.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Brown, M. M., & Brudney, J. L. (2004). Achieving advanced electronic government services: opposing environmental constraints. Public performance and management review, 28(1), 96–113.Google Scholar
  4. Chia, R., & Holt, R. (2006). Strategy as practical coping: A heideggerian perspective. Organization Studies, 27(5), 635–655. doi: 10.1177/0170840606064102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cyert R. M., & March, J. (1963). A behavioral theory of the firm. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  6. Deyle, R. E. (1994). Conflict, uncertainty, and the role of planning and analysis in public policy innovation. Policy Studies Journal: the Journal of the Policy Studies Organization, 22(3), 457–473. doi: 10.1111/j.1541-0072.1994.tb01481.x.Google Scholar
  7. Geenhuizen, M. V., & Nijkamp, P. (2003). Coping with uncertainty: an expedition into the field of new transport technology. Transportation Planning and Technology, 26(6), 449–467. doi: 10.1080/0308106032000167355.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Golden, O. (1990). Innovation in public sector human services programs: the implications of innovation by groping along. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 9(2), 219–248. doi: 10.2307/3325413.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Graetz, F. (2002). Strategic thinking versus strategic planning: towards understanding the complementarities. 5. Management Decision, 40, 456–462. doi: 10.1108/00251740210430434.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Haller, M., Fulla, S., & Welch, E. (2007). Cost effectiveness and environmental impact of alternative fuel vehicle conversion program: a local case study. Transportation Research D, (forthcoming).Google Scholar
  11. Johns, K., Khovanova, K., & Welch, E. (2006). End user adoption of alternative fuel vehicles in local government: Interim evaluation of factors affecting driver fuel choice. Presented at Transport Chicago Conference, Chicago, IL.Google Scholar
  12. Johns, K. D., Khovanova, K. M., & Welch, E. W. (2009). Fleet Conversion in Local Government: Determinants of Driver Fuel Choice for Bi-Fuel Vehicles. Environment and Behavior, 41(3), 402–426.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Khatri, N., & Ng, H. A. (2000). The role of intuition in strategic decision making. Human Relations, 53, 57–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. March, J. G. (1988). Variable risk preferences and adaptive aspirations. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 9, 5–24. doi: 10.1016/0167-2681(88)90004-2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. March, J. G. (1991). Exploration and exploitation in organizational learning. Organization Science, 2, 71–87. doi: 10.1287/orsc.2.1.71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. McNeil, P. (1990). Research methods. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  17. Mintzberg, H., & Waters, J. A. (1985). Of strategies, deliberate and emergent. Strategic Management Journal, 6(3), 257–272. doi: 10.1002/smj.4250060306.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Moon, M. J., & Bretschneider, S. (2002). Does the perception of red tape constrain it innovativeness in organizations? unexpected results from a simultaneous equation model and implications. Journal of Public Administration: Research and Theory, 12(2), 273–291.Google Scholar
  19. Moon, M. J. (2002). The evolution of e-government among municipalities: rhetoric or reality? Public Administration Review, 62(4), 424–433. doi: 10.1111/0033-3352.00196.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Mulgan, R. (2000). Comparing accountability in the public and private sectors. Australian Journal of Public Administration, 59(1), 87–97. doi: 10.1111/1467-8500.00142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Nonaka, I., & Takeuchi, H. (1995). The knowledge creating company: how Japanese companies create the dynamics of innovation. USA: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Polyani, M. (1967). The tacit dimension. New York: Anchor Books.Google Scholar
  23. Roberts, N. C. (1992). Public Entrepreneurship and innovation. Policy Studies Review, 11(1), 55–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Romzek, B. S., & Dubnick, M. (1994). Accountability in the Public Sector: Lessons from the Challenger Tragedy. In F. S. Lane (Ed.), Current Issues in Public Administration. Florence, Kentucky: Wadsworth Publishing.Google Scholar
  25. Romzek, B. S., & Johnston, J. M. (2005). State Social Services Contracting: Exploring Determinants of Effective Contract Accountability. Public Administration Review, 65(4), 436–449.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Sanger, M. B., & Levin, M. A. (1992). Using old stuff in new ways: Innovation as a case of evolutionary tinkering. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 11(1), 88–115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Von Hipple, E. (2005). Democratizing innovation. Cambridge: MIT.Google Scholar
  28. Weick, K. E. (1998). Improvisation as a mindset for organizational analysis. Organization Science, 5, 543–555. doi: 10.1287/orsc.9.5.543.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Welch, E. W., & Pandey, S. K. (2007). E-Government and bureaucracy: toward a better understanding of intranet implementation and its effect on red tape. Journal of Public Administration: Research and Theory, 17(3), 379–404. doi: 10.1093/jopart/mul013.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Welch, E. W., Rana, A., & Mori, Y. (2004). Promises and Pitfalls of ISO 14001 for Competitiveness and Sustainability: A Comparison of Japan and the United States. Greener Management International: The Journal of Corporate Environmental Strategy and Practice, 44, 59–73.Google Scholar
  31. Whittington, R. (1996). Strategy as practice. Long Range Planning, 29, 731–735. doi: 10.1016/0024-6301(96)00068-4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Winebrake, J. J., & Farrell, A. (1997). The AFV credit program and its role in future AFV market development. Transportation Research Part D Transport and Environment, 2, 125–132. doi: 10.1016/S1361-9209(97)00004-7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Yin, R. K. (1984). Case study research: Design and methods. Thousands OaksGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Politics and EconomicsClaremont Graduate UniversityClaremontUSA
  2. 2.University of IllinoisChicagoUSA
  3. 3.University of ChicagoChicagoUSA

Personalised recommendations