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What Government Does
How Political Executives Manage
Mark A. Abramson and Paul Lawrence
To understand the challenges of political leadership and how top executives
succeed in accomplishing an Administration’s objectives, business-in-government
experts Paul R. Lawrence and Mark A. Abramson present the findings
of a four-year study of top political appointees in the Obama Administration.
The 42 participants—Deputy Secretaries and agency heads—provide case
studies of how each approaches the management challenges and achieves
the mission of their organization.
Full of behind-the-scenes insights and practical advice from government political
executives on how they face management challenges in real time,
Government Does: How Political Executives Manage
offers indispensable insights
to current and prospective political appointees and everyone interested
in understanding how leaders make government agencies more effective.
The new book, a follow-up to their previous book,
Paths to Making a
Difference: Leading in Government,
presents an insightful framework of what
government does. Instead of thinking about government by policy area, the
authors present an alternative approach in which government executives are
categorized by the type of agency they are managing. The book includes
chapters on Deputy Secretaries, producers, regulators, infrastructors, scientists,
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Size: 6 x 9
978-1-4422-3242-6 • Hardback • February 2014 •
978-1-4422-3243-3 • Paperback • February 2014 •
978-1-4422-3244-0 • eBook • February 2014 •
Political Science / Public Affairs & Administration
Political Science / Political Process / Leadership
Political Science / Intergovernmental Organizations
For access to these
professor use only
then email us at
Paul R. Lawrence
is a partner at Ernst & Young and a leader in the government and public sector practice.
Mark A. Abramson
is president of Leadership, Inc.
Chapter One: Introduction
Chapter Two: The Job of the Political Executive: Running an Agency
Chapter Three: The Deputy Secretaries
Chapter Four: The Producers
Chapter Five: The Regulators
Chapter Six: The Infrastructors
Chapter Seven: The Scientists
Chapter Eight: The Collaborators
Appendix: Dates of Interviews
Index of Profiles by Organization
About the Authors and Contributors
[T]his [is an] important and admirably well-crafted volume. Every American has a stake in what government does and how political executives manage; few Americans, however, have enough of an interest to read through a granular-level, interview-based book on the subject. But more of us should, and I would be delighted . . . to see this fine book top the best-seller lists. . . .With every new administration over the years to come there will be a fresh crop of political executives in dire need—whether they know it or not—of the lessons, cautionary tales, and pep talks from their predecessors assembled here. The rest of us can treasure it now as a reminder of how exquisitely important these jobs are; how lucky we are to have such talented, patriotic people taking up these brutally hard and often thankless tasks; and what a pickle we will be in if public leaders of this caliber ever stop raising their hands to do the difficult work on which our welfare depends.
Political Executives Profiled:
Jonathan S. Adelstein, Daniel M. Ashe, John Berry, Rebecca M. Blank,
Rafael Borras, Michael R. Bromwich, William V. Corr, Patrick D. Gallagher, W.
Scott Gould, Margaret A. Hamburg, Seth D. Harris, David J. Hayes, Allison A.
Hickey, David A. Hinson, Dennis F. Hightower, Pamela S. Hyde, Raymond M.
Jefferson, Maurice Jones, David J. Kappos, Joseph A. Main, Arun Majumdar,
Allison M. Macfarlane, Alejandro Mayorkas, Marcia K. McNutt, Victor M.
Mendez, Kathleen A. Merrigan, Anthony W. Miller, John T. Morton, Richard
G. Newell, Thomas R. Nides, Robert A. Petzel, John S. Pistole, Daniel B.
Poneman, James W. Runcie, David H. Stevens, David L. Strickland, Kathryn
D. Sullivan, Joseph C. Szabo, William J. Taggart, Inez Moore Tenenbaum,
Mary K. Wakefield, Jon Wellinghoff
• Featured in
Sept./Oct. 2014 issue article:
Obama’s Bureaucratic Generals
: Inside the lives of the agency heads who actually run the federal government by
John D. Donahue http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/magazine/septemberoctober_2014/on_political_books/obamas_bureaucratic_generals051746.php?page=all
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