"Every once in a while somebody has to get the bureaucracy by the neck and shake it loose and say, 'Stop doing what you're doing.'" —Ronald Reagan
How did senior career civil servants react to Ronald Reagan's attempt to redirect policy and increase presidential control over the bureaucracy? What issues molded their reactions? What motivates civil servants in general? How should they be managed and how do they affect federal policies? To answer these questions, Marissa Martino Golden offers us a glimpse into the world of our federal agencies.
What Motivates Bureaucrats? tells the story of a group of upper-level career civil servants in the Reagan administration at the Environmental Protection Agency, the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, the Food and Nutrition Service, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The book reveals that most career civil servants were usually responsive to executive direction—even with a president attempting to turn agency policy 180 degrees from its past orientation.
By delving deeply into the particular details of Reagan's intervention into the affairs of upper-level career civil servants, Golden also fulfills her broader mission of improving our understanding of bureaucratic behavior in general, explaining why the bureaucracy is controllable and highlighting the limits of that control.