Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Rules for New Public Managers

An excerpt from H. George Frederickson’s Up The Bureaucracy:

Upon taking office a new public manager is immediately despised by all other senior bureaucrats, especially if one has come from the bureaucratic ranks. One can never turn this hatred around entirely, but it can be neutralized if one appears to despise oneself as much as one is despised. This is done by despising one’s new role and by being ashamed. Do it by avoiding any form of official luxury or comfort such as locating one’s office near a bathroom, flying business class, or using a beeper or a cellular telephone. Drive only a Ford. Walk stoop-shouldered. Affect cynicism and despair as to the prospects for improvement absent a huge increase in budgetary allocations. Speak often of the impossibility of your tasks, the ambiguity of your agency’s missions, and the lack of adequate resources. Because senior bureaucrats despise you, your only hope is sympathy and guilt. Given your demeanor, no other bureaucrat will covet your job. When desperate, one can feign madness. This will make other senior bureaucrats curious, and the madness will remind them of their origins.

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