Widgetized Section

Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone

Teaching COMPROMISE 101

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ASPA as an organization.

By Marvin N. Pichla
November 30, 2019

Building and sharing innovative concepts and creative solutions to challenges in the public sector has been and continues to be my career-long passion. I am driven by the, “What else and what next?” service improvement questions. Likewise, no matter my role in service to the public (i.e. frontline-staff, lead administrator, organization developer and/or personnel coach/mentor), the search for that, “Always a better way!” opportunity has remained front and center. So, when it was brought to my attention by a group of young adult political science students that despite a tremendous need for compromise on so many public sector issues, there is a noticeable void on coursework for this topic.

Now I will admit that I am not the greatest researcher in the world but in my attempts to find a class that focuses exclusively on facilitating progressive public sector issue compromise, it is nowhere to be found. Yes, there may be hints about it as part of public administration management courses. However, a class totally devoted to discovering and addressing all of the facets of successful compromise is not on a list of electives.

But wait, just because we have been able to identify a potential void in course availability in the public administration field, can we really demonstrate a strong need for a COMPROMISE 101 class?

First, I believe observational research will confirm that the political culture in the United States have never been as divided as it is today. Politics in recent years requires you to choose a side (i.e. Democrat or Republican) and if you do push the suggestion of compromise, you are labeled weak. Think about it. Compromise is avoided on so many critical issues because it appears to supply very little political value. Unfortunately, being a compromising politician does NOT afford you the opportunity of, “brag-ability,” nor a label as a powerful candidate to support.

Second, consider the normal approach today of resolving a political/public issue—GET MORE VOTES! Is that appropriate? Yes. But is compromise given a chance to create a better win-win situation? Or if compromise is being considered, is it done in secrecy, behind closed doors, almost hidden/ignored instead of celebrated for the positivity it demonstrates?

Finally, it is important to consider that when one assesses the most important traits of true leadership, isn’t being a confident agent of compromise somewhere on the list? Isn’t it logical to assume that those sitting in leadership chairs have taken part in a class (or two) on how to not only prioritize compromise activities, but that being recognized for quality achievements in this area is a sign of public administration strength?

With these demonstrated need areas and an instructional goal of more responsible politics, I believe the entire public sector and field of public administration must make COMPROMISE 101 an almost mandatory area of learning.

But wait again, now that we have been able to identify a learning void in public administration course availability and have demonstrated a strong need for critical learning in this area, wouldn’t it be appropriate to use innovation and creativity to at least draft a simple COMPROMISE 101 syllabus? And maybe we start with a few goals for the course:

  • Make compromise the first best solution to a challenge, not the standard last resort.
  • Prioritize compromise as a rewarded component of every public program/policy.
  • Spread the label that only REAL LEADERS COMPROMISE.
  • Establish a COMPROMISE WINS public administrator club.


Course Syllabus Draft

Course Description & Prerequisites

This course will identify and examine the multiple facets of formulating compromise solutions to challenges in the public sector/field of public administration. Practitioner experience in the public sector is required.

Course Objectives

  • Create compromise solutions to past and current public sector challenge issues.
  • Identify and progressively debate the varying sides to issues.
  • Apply value factors to each level of compromise effort.
  • Draft win-win factors when applying compromise to historic political challenges.

Course Topics

  • Public Opinion, Political Culture, and Socialization
  • Interest Groups
  • Political Parties
  • Nominations, Campaigns and Elections
  • The Media
  • The Legislative Branch
  • The Executive Branch
  • The Bureaucracy
  • The Judicial Branch
  • Civil Liberties and Civil Rights
  • State and Local Government

Course Delivery

Each week a guest speaker will be recruited to discuss a public sector compromise challenge they have experienced. Appropriate time will be dedicated to applying the syllabus Course Objectives to the speaker’s issue. Students will be required to prepare, submit and discuss a one-page COMPROMISE MATTERS paper each week. The COMPROMISE MATTERS papers would simply introduce an issue/problem/program that would benefit from a COMPROMISE 101 solution discussion.

Course Grading

Students will be graded based on class participation, submission of weekly COMPROMISE MATTERS papers and the completion of a final ten (10) page case-study on a public issue that may benefit from compromise.

Pilot testing a COMPROMISE 101 course may be a quality means for positively influencing today’s and tomorrow’s political culture. Prioritizing the importance of compromise strategies during public sector problem resolution is a practical alternative to the winner-loser structure currently stressing the public administration system. Additionally, utilizing an example-based COMPROMISE 101 learning design will maximize its potential future application and progressive impacts.

Author: Marvin N. Pichla, Ph.D., is the owner and creative adviser of Inspiring Innovations, Inc. Sharing his unique entrepreneurship and innovation in public service experience, Marv consults with public and private business, education and community organizations to develop new and different problem-solving methods through real-life, example-based learning. Email: [email protected], @TRIPLEIIITIME

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *