The Blame Game: Spin, Bureaucracy, and Self-Preservation in Governmentby Christopher Hood
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/i>
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.
"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
- Princeton University Press
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What People are Saying About This
B. Guy Peters, University of Pittsburgh
Geert Bouckaert, president, European Group for Public Administration
Ted Marmor, professor emeritus of politics and public policy, Yale University
David Levi-Faur, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Alasdair Roberts, author of "The Logic of Discipline"
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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