Steven J. Kelman

Albert J. Weatherhead III and Richard W. Weatherhead Professor of Public Management
Harvard Kennedy School
Office Address
Mailing Address
John F. Kennedy School of Government
Mailbox 22
79 JFK Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
Phone: 617-496-6302
Fax: 617-496-5747
Email: steve_kelman@Harvard.Edu
Casey Billings (617-496-3009)
Steven Kelman


Steve Kelman is the Weatherhead Professor of Public Management at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. A summa cum laude graduate of Harvard College, with a Ph.D. in government from Harvard University, he is the author of many books and articles on the policymaking process and on improving the management of government organizations. His latest book, Unleashing Change: A Study of Organizational Change in Government, was published in 2005 by the Brookings Institution Press. His other books include a study on how to improve the government computer procurement process, entitled Procurement and Public Management: The Fear of Discretion and the Quality of Government Performance (AEI Press, 1990), and Making Public Policy: A Hopeful View of American Government (Basic Books, 1987). In 1996 he was elected a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration. In 2001, he received the Herbert Roback Memorial Award, the highest achievement award of the National Contract Management Association. In 2003 he was elected as a Director of The Procurement Roundtable. In 2010 the American Political Science Association awarded him the Gaus Prize, which honors a lifetime of achievement in public administration scholarship.He currently serves as editor of the InternationalPublic Management Journal, and he writes a regular column for Federal Computer Week and a blog, The Lectern,at

From 1993 through 1997, Dr. Kelman served as Administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy in the Office of Management and Budget. During his tenure as Administrator, he played a lead role in the Administration's reinventing government effort. He led Administration efforts in support of the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act of 1994 and the Federal Acquisition Reform Act of 1995.


Spring 1

  • DPI-670M Preventing Digital Disaster: Why Digital Implementations So Often Go Badly

Media Expertise

Steven Kelman welcomes media inquiries on the following subjects:

Additional experts may be found by clicking on each subject listed. You may contact faculty directly or if you need assistance contact the Communications Office at 617-495-1115.


For a complete list of faculty citations from 2001 - present, please visit the HKS Faculty Research Connection.

Selected Publication Citations:

  • Academic Journal/Scholarly Articles
    • Kelman, Steven, and Jeff Meyers. "Successfully Achieving Ambitious Goals in Government: An Empirical Analysis." American Review of Public Administration 41.3 (March 2011): 235-262.
    • Kelman, Steven, and John N. Friedman. "Performance Improvement and Performance Dysfunction: An Empirical Examination of Distortionary Impacts of the Emergency Room Wait-Time Target in the English National Health Service." Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory 19.4 (October 2009): 917-947.
    • Kelman, Steven. "Improving Service Delivery Performance in the United Kingdom: Organization Theory Perspectives on Central Intervention Strategies." Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis 8.4 (December 2006): 393-419.
    • Kelman, Steven. "Downsizing, Competition, and Organizational Change In Government: Is Necessity the Mother of Invention?" Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 25.4 (Fall 2006).
    • Kelman, Steven. "Public Management Needs Help!" Academy of Management Journal 48.6 (December 2005): 967-969.
    • Kelman, Steven. "Remaking Federal Procurement." Public Contracts Law Journal (Summer 2002).
  • Book Chapters
    • Kelman, Steven. "Achieving Contracting Goals and Recognizing Public Law Concerns: A Contracting Management Perspective." Government by Contract : Outsourcing and American Democracy. Ed. Jody Freeman and Martha Minow. Harvard University Press, 2009, 153-191.
    • Kelman, Steven. "The 'Kennedy School School' of Research on Innovation in Government." Innovations in Government: Research, Recognition, and Replication. Ed. Sandford Borins. Brookings Press and Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation, 2008, 28-52.
    • Kelman, Steven. "Public Management and Organization Studies." The Academy of Management Annals: Volume 1. Ed. James P. Walsh and Arthur P. Brief. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2007.
    • Kelman, Steven. "Contracting." The Tools of Government: A Guide to the New Governance. Ed. Lester Salamon. Oxford University Press, 2002.
    • Kelman, Steven. "Strategic Contracting Management." Market Based Governance: Supply Side, Demand Side, Upside and Downside. Ed. John D. Donahue and Joseph S. Nye, Jr. Brookings Institution, 2002.
  • Books
    • Kelman, Steven. Unleashing Change: A Study of Organizational Renewal in Government. Brookings Institution, 2005.
  • HKS Faculty Research Working Paper Series
    • Kelman, Steven, Ron Sanders, Gayatri Pandit, and Sarah Taylor. "Management Matters (For Them): Is There a New Normal for Federal Subcabinet Leaders?" HKS Faculty Research Working Paper Series RWP14-044, September 2014.
    • Kelman, Steven, Ronald Sanders, Gayatri Pandit, and Sarah Taylor. "“I Won’t Back Down?”: Complexity and Courage in U.S. Federal Executive Decision-Making." HKS Faculty Research Working Paper Series RWP14-040, August 2014.
    • Kelman, Steven, Ronald Sanders, Gayatri Pandit, and Sarah Taylor. "“Tell It Like It Is": Groupthink, Decisiveness, and Decision-Making Among U.S. Federal Subcabinet Executives." HKS Faculty Research Working Paper Series RWP14-039, August 2014.
    • Kelman, Steven, and Sounman Hong. "“Hard,” “Soft,” or “Tough Love”: What Kinds of Organizational Culture Promote Successful Performance in Cross-Organizational Collaborations?" HKS Faculty Research Working Paper Series RWP12-005, February 2012.
    • Kelman, Steven, Sounman Hong, and Irwin Turbitt. "Are There Managerial Practices Associated with Service Delivery Collaboration Success?: Evidence from British Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships." HKS Faculty Research Working Paper Series RWP11-011, February 2011.
    • Friedman, John N., and Steven Kelman. "Effort as Investment: Analyzing the Response to Incentives." KSG Faculty Research Working Paper Series RWP07-024, May 2007.

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