Monday, April 19, 2010

Rose: A Chief not an Executive

This article is from the 1970s and discusses how a president should lead the bureaucracy and why he makes the choices he does. Rose, the author, states that the president is a chief not an executive; which is how the article got its name.

i. The president is a chief – a leader with unique personal attributes

ii. Staff must look after his personal and political priorities and policy character to keep negative priorities out of spotlight and keep president out of trouble

1. Establish a buffer institution to stand between himself and problem

2. Avoid establishing institutions that will deliver controversy to Oval office.

iii. There are 2 major choices a president can make, organizationally

1. Size of his staff

a. Dictated by the function the president serves

b. The larger the staff the greater aggregate resources the president has to influence the executive branch

c. The larger the staff the less person interaction a president has with each member

2. Clarity with which responsibility is fixed for tasks

a. The more adept a president is at giving instructions to the intuitions, the greater his political impact

b. The greater the clarity he assigns tasks, the greater the economy of time and effort.

c. The greater the clarity with which he assigns tasks, the fewer sources of information the president has about an issue

i. Time is purchased at the cost of knowledge

ii. Overlapping tasks offer multiple views on issues

iii. Too many advisors means being pulled in too many directions.

iv. These result in 4 types of organizations

1. Absolute Monarchy

a. Large staff, clean hierarchy of tasks and responsibilities – not feasible with this size of government

2. Saturation

a. Large staff, overlapping tasks (Johnson/Nixon)

b. Thought behind this: If you throw enough staff at a problem, with enough different attempts, something will stick

c. Assumes that more = better

d. Extra political costs because you have to control in-fighting and internal politics.

3. Rule of Law Feudalism *Seen as an appropriate choice depending on extent president wants to consolidate or extend influence.

a. Clearly defined tasks and small staff 9Eisenhower)

b. A contract between top man and staff details relationship – enforced by common acknowledgment of the rule of law.

c. Feudal model – the president’s power is limited

d. By making fewer claims, the country will be better governed.

e. Even though the president isn’t getting involved, he is still subject to having his alternatives foreclosed by concentrating the channels of power into fewer people

4. Free Enterprise *Seen as an appropriate choice depending on extent president wants to consolidate or extend influence.

a. Overlapping tasks, small staff

b. FDR: master of this type of governance

c. JKF tried to do this too

d. Protects the president from being constrained by the flow of information by having overlapping areas

e. Based on assumption that the constitution does not make the president the sole source of authority within the executive branch – not the sole object of blame.

v. President must use his staff to establish his priorities:

1. Establish reputation

a. Presentation of self

b. When large #s support the president he can get Congress to more easily follow him

c. How effective he is on the hill

d. Housekeeping – hoe the President lives

2. Political priorities: the course of action the president feels the government should take

a. These two are positive priorities, and he needs relatively few resources to meet these

i. Examples: During Eisenhower’s heart attacks and Watergate, the executive branch continued to function without direction from the president, so executive agencies really aren’t his concern.

3. Negative priorities

a. Keeping out of trouble

b. Program implementation

c. Program evaluation

d. Inter-agency coordination (brings problems to president)

e. Inter-governmental coordination (federalism concerns)

i. Can solve these by having a buffer agency to keep the President out of things

ii. He can also engage in abstention

1. Not taking a policy on initiatives he’s not committed too

2. Delaying

Stating views in a vague, non-directive forms

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