Reinventing Government (Magill Book Reviews)
Most people’s image of government is a sluggish, centralized bureaucracy with a hierarchical chain of command, preoccupied with rules and regulations. This form of government arose during the industrial era and was effective for decades, but it does not function well in the rapidly changing, knowledge-intensive society of the 1990’s. Today most agencies perform complex tasks, in competitive, unpredictable environments, with clients who want quality and choice. The problem goes beyond the liberal/conservative dichotomy, where arguments revolve around more programs versus less or raising taxes versus cutting spending.
What is needed is not more or less government, but a different kind— “entrepreneurial government.” This does not mean running government like a business; such an approach ignores the many differences between these endeavors. Indeed, some of the authors’ sharpest barbs are reserved for those who wish indiscriminately to privatize public programs. But they can be made more efficient and responsive.
Common themes emerge from observing innovative governments. They promote competition between service providers, prefer market mechanisms to bureaucratic ones, and measure performance. They are driven by their missions, not rules; empower citizens by pushing control out into the community; and clients are redefined as customers and offered choices. They decentralize authority (using participatory management), prevent problems...
(The entire section is 328 words.)
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