Proposals for reform have dotted the federal management landscape in the United States for more than 50 years. Yet these efforts by public management professionals have frequently failed to produce lasting results. In her new book, Federal Management Reform in a World of Contradictions, renowned public administration scholar Beryl A. Radin reveals what may lie behind the failure of so many efforts at government management reform.
To spur new thinking about this problem, Radin examines three basic sets of contradictions between the strategies of the reformers and the reality of the US federal system: contradictions in the shared powers structure, contradictions in values, and contradictions between politics and administration. She then explores six types of reform efforts and the core beliefs that guided them. The six reform areas are contracting out, personnel policy, agency reorganization, budgeting, federalism policies and procedures, and performance management. The book shows how too often these prescriptions for reform have tried to apply techniques from the private sector or a parliamentary system that do not transfer well to the structure of the US federal system and its democratic and political traditions.
Mindful of the ineffectiveness of a "one-size-fits-all" approach, Radin does not propose a single path for reform, but calls instead for a truly honest assessment of past efforts as today's reformers design a new conceptual and strategic roadmap for the future.
About the Author:
Beryl A. Radin is a member of the faculty at the Georgetown Public Policy Institute at Georgetown University. In 2009 she received the H. George Frederickson Award for Lifetime Achievement and Continuous Contributions to Public Management Research from the Public Management Research Association. She is the author of Challenging the Performance Movement: Accountability, Complexity, and Democratic Values and Beyond Machiavelli: Policy Analysis Comes of Age.