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The Blame Game: Spin, Bureaucracy, and Self-Preservation in Government [NOOK Book]

Overview

The blame game, with its finger-pointing and mutual buck-passing, is a familiar feature of politics and organizational life, and blame avoidance pervades government and public organizations at every level. Political and bureaucratic blame games and blame avoidance are more often condemned than analyzed. In The Blame Game, Christopher Hood takes a different approach by showing how blame avoidance shapes the workings of government and public services. Arguing that the blaming phenomenon is not all bad, Hood ...

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The Blame Game: Spin, Bureaucracy, and Self-Preservation in Government

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Overview

The blame game, with its finger-pointing and mutual buck-passing, is a familiar feature of politics and organizational life, and blame avoidance pervades government and public organizations at every level. Political and bureaucratic blame games and blame avoidance are more often condemned than analyzed. In The Blame Game, Christopher Hood takes a different approach by showing how blame avoidance shapes the workings of government and public services. Arguing that the blaming phenomenon is not all bad, Hood demonstrates that it can actually help to pin down responsibility, and he examines different kinds of blame avoidance, both positive and negative. Hood traces how the main forms of blame avoidance manifest themselves in presentational and "spin" activity, the architecture of organizations, and the shaping of standard operating routines. He analyzes the scope and limits of blame avoidance, and he considers how it plays out in old and new areas, such as those offered by the digital age of websites and e-mail. Hood assesses the effects of this behavior, from high-level problems of democratic accountability trails going cold to the frustrations of dealing with organizations whose procedures seem to ensure that no one is responsible for anything. Delving into the inner workings of complex institutions, The Blame Game proves how a better understanding of blame avoidance can improve the quality of modern governance, management, and organizational design.

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Editorial Reviews

Science
In The Blame Game, Christopher Hood identifies one of the most common gripes that citizens have about bureaucracy and government, namely, that no one in either accepts responsibility for making mistakes of omission or commission. In this brief and often illuminating book, Hood explores the diverse and insidious ways in which ducking blame manifests in public life.
Choice
Hood addresses how and why government officials avoid blame when things go wrong. The starting point for this remarkable book is the observation that government decisions sometimes turn out to be harmful, and that the question of responsibility inevitably arises. . . . This highly readable volume will help readers understand some of the more troubling aspects of modern government.
LSE Blog
In taking us through the permutations and definitions of the concept and its actualization in the form of structures, impact and possible outcomes, Hood employs a style and approach that is open and engaging. Certainly it is cerebral and analytical, but he does not shirk from using what at times is a matey almost tabloid style.
— Andrews Massey
LSE Blog - Andrews Massey
In taking us through the permutations and definitions of the concept and its actualization in the form of structures, impact and possible outcomes, Hood employs a style and approach that is open and engaging. Certainly it is cerebral and analytical, but he does not shirk from using what at times is a matey almost tabloid style.
From the Publisher
"In The Blame Game, Christopher Hood identifies one of the most common gripes that citizens have about bureaucracy and government, namely, that no one in either accepts responsibility for making mistakes of omission or commission. In this brief and often illuminating book, Hood explores the diverse and insidious ways in which ducking blame manifests in public life."Science

"Hood addresses how and why government officials avoid blame when things go wrong. The starting point for this remarkable book is the observation that government decisions sometimes turn out to be harmful, and that the question of responsibility inevitably arises. . . . This highly readable volume will help readers understand some of the more troubling aspects of modern government."Choice

"In taking us through the permutations and definitions of the concept and its actualization in the form of structures, impact and possible outcomes, Hood employs a style and approach that is open and engaging. Certainly it is cerebral and analytical, but he does not shirk from using what at times is a matey almost tabloid style."—Andrews Massey, LSE Blog

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781400836819
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 11/15/2010
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: Course Book
  • Pages: 240
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Christopher Hood is the Gladstone Professor of Government at All Souls College, Oxford. His books include "The Limits of Administration", "The Tools of Government", and "The Art of the State".
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations vii
Preface ix

Part One: Blame, Credit, and Trust in Executive Government
Chapter One: Credit Claiming, Blame Avoidance, and Negativity Bias 3
Chapter Two: Players in the Blame Game: Inside the World of Blame Avoidance 24

Part Two: Avoiding Blame: Three Basic Strategies
Chapter Three: Presentational Strategies: Winning the Argument, Drawing a Line, Changing the Subject, and Keeping a Low Profi le 47
Chapter Four: Agency Strategies: Direct or Delegate, Choose or Inherit? 67
Chapter Five: Policy or Operational Strategies 90
Chapter Six: The Institutional Dynamics of Blameworld: A New Tefl on Era? 112

Part Three: Living in a World of Blame Avoidance
Chapter Seven: Mixing and Matching Blame-Avoidance Strategies 135
Chapter Eight: Democracy, Good Governance, and Blame Avoidance 157
Chapter Nine: The Last Word 181

Notes 187
References 201
Index 219

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