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The Politics of Public Management

The Politics of Public Management

Philip B. Heymann
Copyright Date: 1987
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 216
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  • Book Info
    The Politics of Public Management
    Book Description:

    How do political appointees chosen to head government agencies deal with the powerful political forces that surround them? In a fascinating and instructive book Philip B. Heymann draws on his own experience and on the successes and failures of such prominent officials as Casper Weinberger, Anne Burford Gorsuch, Les Aspin, Edwin Meese, and Joseph Califano in order to explore the political context of high-level government management."Not only has Heymann written a superb manual for would-be presidential appointees, he has written an insightful political history of the past decade and a half."-Issues in Science and Technology"Great help to incumbents as well as newcomers, and one classic-to-be in its field."-The Bureaucrat"In my opinion, Heymann has written the most interesting book on the politics of management since Chester Barnard."-Theodore R. Marmor, Yale University"A marvelous combination of analytics commentary and case illustrations,The Politics of Public Managementis filled with insights that are both powerful and original."-Richard E. Neustadt, Harvard University

    eISBN: 978-0-300-15941-7
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xvi)
  4. Part I The Politics of Management

    • 1 The World of the Public Manager
      (pp. 3-11)

      One view of the operations of the executive branch of government has become so familiar that it hardly seems to have competitors. The president develops policies and themes in light of his view of national needs and in response to the electoral considerations bearing on him and his party. He must win the support of the Congress to carry out his goals. As chief executive he has the additional responsibility and burden of dealing with massive organizations having their own momentum and their own ties to the legislature. Finally, the problem of making choices and executing decisions is compounded by...

    • 2 Strategy for a Government Organization
      (pp. 12-24)

      This book is about how the person appointed by the president can come to recognize the opportunities, dangers, and obligations involved in choosing the directions and defining the identity of the organization he has been asked to head. The most important decisions are those that determine what the agency will do or what governmental and social values it will express. These decisions create alliances with interest groups and legislators. They relate closely to the goals and themes on which the president has run and may run again. They speak to broad publics about what that very important teacher, the government,...

    • 3 Strategy and Leadership
      (pp. 25-41)

      If democracy is to work, governmental organizations must change directions as public opinion, legislative opinion, and power shift. Such a shift, of dramatic proportions, had taken place in the area of consumer concerns shortly before Casper Weinberger was appointed chairman of the Federal Trade Commission in 1970. Another, counterrevolutionary shift was to take place under the feet of Mike Pertschuk, who was appointed chairman of the FTC in 1977. If strategy works as an integrating, organizing concept, it should be applicable to retrenchment as well as to expansion, to 1977 as well as to 1970. It is. But implementation in...

    • 4 Ends and Means
      (pp. 42-55)

      I have argued that handling the politics of managing a government agency requires choosing goals that will elicit whatever external support their execution requires because of what the goals promise to do, or what they say about who and what are important, or what alliances they invite. The goals, moreover, must be within the capacity or the attainable capacity of the organization, or else the promises and statements will prove to be empty. But all of this talks to a relatively small fraction of the public—those particularly interested in the specific area the organization deals with. Another aspect of...

    • 5 Departmental Strategy and Presidential Stakes
      (pp. 56-73)

      The strategy of a major federal department differs from that of a small agency like the Federal Trade Commission in three important ways. First, for a variety of reasons, more of its varied activities will remain constant despite changes in presidents and secretaries. Goals, I have emphasized, describe what it is hoped the organization’s activities will do and produce; they say something about what and who is important; and they are the tokens out of which alliances are formed. For a major department with many goals, most of these functions are performed by choosing those relatively few areas in which...

    • 6 Sources of Legitimacy
      (pp. 74-89)

      Still another dimension of managerial strategy merits serious attention. A manager needs to have even unpopular decisions accepted, and he needs acceptance of other decisions even by those who disagree with his judgments. In both cases acceptance of the decision often depends upon acceptance of a political theory that legitimates choice by a particular official or institution or by a particular process or in terms of some accepted standard. Acceptance of the manager’s decision often depends upon its “legitimacy”—a recognition that the manager was the right person to make that decision and that at least the grounds or basis...

    • 7 Strategic Relations among Organizations Sharing a Common Responsibility
      (pp. 90-106)

      The structure of the federal government is generally described with an organizational chart showing the president at the top, under him all the departments and agencies, and within each of these a variety of bureaus and divisions that are themselves composed of sections and offices. This is an accurate picture of the distribution of authority to issue orders and of obligations to obey. But it is misleading insofar as it suggests a process dominated by the setting of policy from above and the carrying out of orders at the lower levels, with the intermediate levels solely responsible for transmission of...

  5. Part II The Management of Politics

    • 8 A Closer Look at the Hill
      (pp. 109-124)

      No part of the political environment facing the manager of a government agency is more important or more complex than the legislature. Each one of the variety of ways that his organization and its programs can be affected by statutes or committee actions is a reason why the federal manager must come to understand something about the workings of Congress.

      A committee can hold oversight hearings, within its jurisdiction, exposing the failures or improprieties of a government agency and its managers. The EPA and Anne Gorsuch paid this price. It can recommend and the Congress may adopt legislation reducing the...

    • 9 Legislative Tactics
      (pp. 125-144)

      Beliefs, alliances, interests, and friendships are never wholly separable. That makes it difficult to categorize the concerns of legislators, although that step is necessary to an understanding of legislative tactics. Still, it is important to begin with a reminder of the richness of the mixture, so that what is later left out in cold, analytic categories is less likely to be forgotten.

      Legislators are socially and politically located at the intersection of a number of groups, each of which has ties among its members and to the legislator that are cognitive, tactical, interest-based, and emotional. Some of these groups—a...

    • 10 The Meaning of “Resources” in a Political Setting
      (pp. 145-163)

      In discussing Aspin’s effort to cut defense expenditures in 1973 I have emphasized the advantages that either an individual or a particular policy may enjoy in a legislative debate. But it is useful to distinguish the advantages held by an individual, hisresourcesof influence, from the advantages enjoyed by a particular policy, which depend more broadly on thesettingfor decision. This chapter will deal with resources; the chapter that follows, with setting. While examining the resources of both executive and legislative officials and policy debates within the executive branch as well as in Congress, I will emphasize legislative...

    • 11 Reshaping the Political Environment
      (pp. 164-189)

      Just as legislators and government managers seek to collect advantages of personal influence (resources) to help control what will happen in certain areas of legislative or executive choice, they may also try to arrange the broader context of advantages (the setting) so as to make more likely particular policy decisions. Just as political actors must make their decisions in light of an understanding of the impact of their actions or a governmental choice on their resources of future influence, they must similarly consider the impact on the receptivity of other actors to particular policy proposals.

      The set of likely legislative...

  6. Appendix: Kennedy School Case Studies
    (pp. 190-190)
  7. Index
    (pp. 191-196)