Banishing Bureaucracy: The Five Strategies for Reinventing Government

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David Osborne's 1992 bestseller, Reinventing Government, was a landmark book that identified ten principles for creating a more efficient government. This essential sequel goes one step further, focusing on strategic levers for changing public systems and organizations on a permanent basis to achieve dynamic increases in effectiveness, efficiency, adaptability, and capacity to innovate. In an age of disillusionment with public service, Banishing Bureaucracy offers inspiring stories of organizations that really ...
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David Osborne's 1992 bestseller, Reinventing Government, was a landmark book that identified ten principles for creating a more efficient government. This essential sequel goes one step further, focusing on strategic levers for changing public systems and organizations on a permanent basis to achieve dynamic increases in effectiveness, efficiency, adaptability, and capacity to innovate. In an age of disillusionment with public service, Banishing Bureaucracy offers inspiring stories of organizations that really work and provides specific recipes for effective change. Here is a road map by which reinventors can actually make "reinvention" work.

• David Osborne, recognized as the pre-eminent public sector reformer, has an intensive speaking schedule throughout the country.
• Named one of the Best Business Books of 1997 by Soundview Executive Book Summaries.
• Over 200,000 copies of Reinventing Government sold in Plume, with backlist pace of 10,000 per year.
Reinventing Government was hailed by Business Week as "the new gospel of government," and was embraced by the Clinton-Gore administration as their blueprint for streamlining government.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Osborne, a consultant to local, state and foreign governments, virtually started a national movement with his 1992 bestseller, Reinventing Government (coauthored with Ted Gaebler). Expanding on that handbook's prescriptions for decentralizing authority, benchmarking performance and competitive public-versus-private bidding on government services, he and Plastrik, a Michigan public-sector consultant, have produced an immensely useful manual for transforming unresponsive government bureaucracies-local, state or national-into entrepreneurial systems open to innovation and change. They amplify their five core strategies-clarifying purpose; creating incentives through markets and competition; improving accountability via customer involvement; redistributing power through the hierarchy; nurturing a new culture-with a wealth of case material ranging from Indianapolis's saving of more than $100 million over seven years to Margaret Thatcher's overhaul of Britain's education, health care, unions and public agencies to kindred programs in Canada, Australia and New Zealand. More ambitiously, the authors set forth a heady vision of community empowerment, whereby citizens organize as residents, neighborhood associations, nonprofits and business groups to run schools, housing developments and planning functions. (Feb.)
Library Journal
In this volume, Osborne, coauthor of Reinventing Government (Addison-Wesley, 1992), and Plastrik, a Michigan political strategist, assess the "reinvention" movement and recommend five strategies to institutionalize the process. Using examples from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand, they recommend clarifying organizational purposes, creating consequences for organizational performance, becoming customer-driven, empowering workers and communities, and developing an "entrepreneurial culture." The authors also respond to the growing criticism of the "reinvention" movement, acknowledging that the term has often been misunderstood and misapplied. Like Reinventing Government, this volume will fuel the debate over government reform. Essential for specialists in public administration, government officials, and informed lay readers.-William L. Waugh, Georgia State Univ., Atlanta
Kirkus Reviews
An upbeat but unpersuasive advertisement for solving the problems of government through public management reform.

Osborne, coauthor of the influential Reinventing Government (1992) and Plastrik (a political journalist and operative in Michigan) promote an entrepreneurial model of government in which agencies offer services, citizens are customers, and the rewards and perils of a marketlike environment improve the performance of traditionally inflexible bureaucrats. Implementation is to occur through five common-sense strategies: Clarify purposes (core), create incentives for employee performance (consequences), obtain feedback from service recipients (customer), empower people to do what is needed (control), and replace old habits with new commitments (culture). The result is a theory that would tempt a cynic to conclude that creating jargon is the key to reinventing government, to wit: As "reinventors . . . uncoupled functions, they used the flexible performance framework metatool to incorporate the consequences and control strategies into their plan." The heart of the volume, however, beats in the numerous examples that introduce some substance into the discussion, and from Indianapolis city government to Minnesota schools, the US Forest Service, and national government in New Zealand, the authors provide real cause for optimism. Unfortunately, they also provide reasons to be skeptical. First, it is strange that they find no disadvantages to reinvention. In a world where trade-offs are more common than miracles, this raises a suspicion that we are not getting the whole story. Second, there is a troubling tendency to measure success in terms of management goals rather than policy outcomes. In Minnesota, for example, the criterion for applauding a voluntary school choice program is proliferation across school districts, not students receiving an improved education.

There will be reason to cheer if transforming bureaucrats into entrepreneurs improves the results of public policy, but this conclusion depends on producing actual benefits to citizens, not enthusiastic cheerleading from management mavens.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780976702603
  • Publisher: Blitzprint Inc
  • Publication date: 6/28/2006

Table of Contents

Introduction: Uphill Battle, USA 1
1 The Five C's: Changing Government's DNA 21
2 Levels of the Game: Targeting the Strategies 49
3 Gut Check: What It Takes to Use the Strategies 67
4 The Core Strategy: Creating Clarity of Purpose 75
5 The Consequences Strategy: Creating Consequences for Performance 115
6 The Customer Strategy: Putting the Customer in the Driver's Seat 157
7 The Control Strategy: Shifting Control Away from the Top and Center 203
8 The Culture Strategy: Creating an Entrepreneurial Culture 241
9 Aligning the Strategies 301
10 The Courage to Reinvent 320
App. A The Principles of Reinventing Government 347
App. B Resources for Reinventors 350
Notes 359
Index 383
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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2007

    A reviewer

    In this sequel to his bestseller, Reinventing Government, David Osborne teams with Peter Plastrik to further explore the process of making public and governmental organizations more entrepreneurial by introducing businesslike practices. The authors focus on five strategies for fundamentally changing the way government works on local, state, regional and national levels, and give plenty of real-life global success stories. This organizational, economic and political tour de force is wonderfully written, and is never dry, academic or reliant on dense government gabble. In fact, it¿s a page-turner. We recommend it to all concerned citizens.

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