An inspiring, well-organized exposition of ten principles that appear to offer hope for renewal in an era of government decline. Osborne's Laboratories of Democracy (1988) celebrated government innovation at state and local levels; here, the ideas are further developed, with many more examples and a sharper focus. Osborne and Gaebler (the former city manager of Visalia, California) charge that government bureaucracy, created a hundred years ago to combat official corruption, has outlived its usefulness. Since governments are increasingly caught between declining revenues and rising demands for service, the authors call on them to become more ``catalytic,'' ``mission-driven,'' ``customer-driven,'' ``anticipatory,'' ``market-oriented,'' etc. The authors recognize that these terms may have a vaguely threatening ring to many liberals and public employees, but they counter those fears with examples of how the adoption of these principles has resulted in employee empowerment, increased public support, etc. For example, they explain how, when Phoenix forced its trash collectors to compete with private businesses while guaranteeing the collectors' jobs, morale and productivity soared. Most convincing is the way Osborne and Gaebler discuss honestly the most serious potential problems with their proposals--e.g., their refusal to endorse merit pay for individual teachers, which, they admit, may set up cutthroat situations. Analyzing the successful experiments, they provide theory for political scientists to chew on and examples for government officials to consider--e.g., that of Visalia, which uses bonuses to reward groups of employees more often than individuals ``on the theory that individual rewards encourage people to hoard information and compete with one another, while group rewards encourage people to share information and work together.'' Required reading for burned-out civic reformers, and stirring stuff for socially concerned businesspeople. -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
David Osborne, managing partner of The Public Strategies Group, has served as an advisor to Vice President Al Gore, a consultant to America?s public sector managers and a counselor to leaders worldwide. He lives in Essex, Massachusetts.
This book is getting dated, but is a must read for anyone serious about public policy and government. Read morePublished 10 days ago by Edward J. Barton
Because there is a book that we need actually in the politics and it is a very good book. Really.Published 17 months ago by Andrea Rodríguez Zavala
This is excellent source of information for my research project. Book was promptly sent to me when I purchased it through Amazon. Good job and thank youPublished 22 months ago by Isaac A. Arhin
Skeptically I thought "a book written in the Clinton administration?" It's twenty years old how can it speak to social policy in the new millennium? Read morePublished 23 months ago by jsbrns
Every citizen should read this book the week before they go to the polls to vote, then think really carefully about who they want leading whatever level they are voting for. Read morePublished on July 27, 2013 by OceanCruiser13
After starting to read this book, I couldn't even make it past the preface. It's that bad.
First of all, the author writes that he owes significant intellectual debt to... Read more
Osborne and Gaebler have suffered the "tyranny of the times". Using Osborne and Gaebler's ideas a benefit/cost analysis was used to demonstrate for every dollar spent on youth... Read morePublished on June 11, 2012 by economicGPS
I am glad that i bought a replacement copy as the examples are so fresh and relevant for today. Reading again for information to use in my job.Published on January 15, 2012 by Mike Carter