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Reinventing Government: How the Entrepreneurial Spirit is Transforming the Public Sector (Plume) Paperback – February 1, 1993


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Reinventing Government: How the Entrepreneurial Spirit is Transforming the Public Sector (Plume) + Social Welfare: Politics and Public Policy (7th Edition) + Policy Paradox: The Art of Political Decision Making (Third Edition)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Plume (February 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452269423
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452269422
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #178,319 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Kirkus Reviews

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.

About the Author

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.

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Customer Reviews

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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By R. Tomlin on June 4, 2000
Format: Paperback
Many of the innovative approaches undertaken by the various agencies outlined in Osborne and Gaebler's work do provide some inspiration for needed changes in how government operates. Nevertheless, it is important to note that some of the ballyhooed "innovations" described in this arguably important work failed subsequent to the publication date. As such, readers sorely deserve an update. We could learn as much from how some of these innovations have failed as we did from how many of them succeeded.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Craig Marks on January 29, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is a must read for any citizen who is tired of business as usual bureaucracy. However, published in 1992 and not updated, it merely gives us a snapshot of discontent and a few forward thinkers at the beginning of the last decade of the last century. You can not effectively chart the concepts in their book to the trends of today without indepth analysis. Are the politicians really taking notice and "reinventing government" or is it just the usual bait and switch shell game where Washington professes to be turning 180 degrees when in actuality their compass is stuck. With 27 years in the military I still see us doing the same old stupid stuff, with some inovation around the edges. What seems to drive government these days is lack of revenues which forces changes to lesser programs so they can retain the funding for the core "stupid" projects. I also think they underestimate the absolute apathy of a significant majority of Americans. Why change when nobody cares. I am not as optomistic as the authors.
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Tansu Demir on October 1, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book is about "Reinventing Something" as you understand from its caption. I could not surprize much when I finished to read this very popular book because ;
1 The cases included in book to support theory were chosen selectively. I can show a lot of examples in contrary to the framework proposed in Osbornes book but none of negative examples were included. The book is very one-handed and does not project the facts correctly.
2 A distinction were not made in this book between public and private sector organizations and behaved as if both of them have the same principles and context. The relation of Public Management with democratic principles were ignored. Basically, this book is a "public" version of the book of Peters and Waterman - In Search of Excellence -.
3 The principles propesed in this book are accepted universal and thought as time and location-free. Cultural differences among countries were underestimated. Generalizations pervades the book.
4 This book is not based on a decent scientific research and so does not have an academic-quality.
Overall, if you want to read this book because of its popularity, you should read it with other strong resources in the field of public administration and management. Some reference materials are indicated below...
Mark Moore, Creating Public Value ; Norman Flynn, Public Sector Management ; Guy Peters, The Future of Governing
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Paul Peterson on May 31, 2002
Format: Paperback
Firstly, let me say that I agree with most of the other readers when they write that this book was neither academic nor "reinventive". I will say that this was strictly an idea book, a motivator to the masses. So long as one doesn't expect emperical research, evenhanded arguements, or even updated conclusions, they are fine. When reading this book, don't expect, nor should you expect, to be handed ideas on a platter to run with. Rather, they present the optimum view of their vision. Whether it is right, wrong or impossible, they put forth thoughts that could spark change. The change that I am speaking of is not a grand sweeping motion that will forever alter the government, but rather pieces of an idea. Even if these particular ideas are not implemented, the chances of them sparking new ways of approach or implementation are greater.
In reading this book, I didn't take what the writers wrote verbatum, but I did begin to think about what I, as an individual, could do in my organization to make a difference. That is the target audience. These authors didn't write this book for the scholars or for the world of academia, but rather for the practical administrator in the field. Read this recomended book with above information in mind. If anything, it will be an interesting one.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jamal Nazir on October 27, 2000
Format: Paperback
Very interesting approach which makes an endeavor to integrate government and business. The idea this books advocates is to steer rather then rowing. It emphasizes on building up of the community and empowering it so it becomes self-sufficient. I would say that Al Gore and Tony Blair are two very strong supporters of this new approach of running the government.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Lori Kreifel on February 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
Osborne and Gaebler's ideas have been around a long time; don't be misled into thinking this is something new. Particularly objectionable is their use of phrases such as "sluggish pace of bureaucracy" which is designed to feed into the reader's own stereotype. The book feeds upon the fear of the reader, and therefore does not offer much in the way of scholarly reading. One would do better to read some Herbert Simon or Charles Goodsell before embarking on this journey.
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