•  
  •  
 
Journal of Public Management & Social Policy

Abstract

This paper addresses an important question: what can a highly complex public health situation such as the Dallas-Fort Worth Ebola outbreak tell us about the use of discretion by executive level public administrators? The public administration literature is rich with evidence of street-level bureaucratic discretion, but has not explored executive level discretion decision making. The authors argue that in highly complex situations of uncertainty, such as in the case of the Dallas-Fort Worth regional Ebola emergency response, the executive use of discretion translates to decisions under the conditions of uncertainty. This article theorizes a logic of uncertainty when two important assumptions exist; the situation is absent a plan to guide decision making, and the decision makers lack any previous precedent with the situation. Results indicate that when survey respondents departed from their emergency management plan, and planned as the event folded, they were more likely to use executive discretion decision making.

 

To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.