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Perpetual Crisis in Public Management
Ever since the World War II, the American government has severely suffered declining confidence from the public. Most Americans view government as corrupt and evil. They only view the government as a helpful system when national disasters arise. However, people consider private sector, religious institutions, and community organizations as their preferred refuge. The dilemma has been imminent throughout the last century in the American history. The crisis has been dwelt on by Cohen et al. in the book The Effective Public Manager: Achieving Success in Government Organizations.
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Summary of Cohen’s Opinions
Despite significant improvement in the Department of Parks and Recreation Management, the image of government among the American public remains tainted. Confidence of Americans towards government has gradually declined during the last half of this century. According to the opinion poll held in 2012, the confidence and trust in the government is on the lowest point in history. The book by Cohen et al. The Effective Public Manager: Achieving Success in Government Organizations (2013) notes that the government suffers negative publicity because of the media. Cohen et al. outline that the media rarely report good performance of government irrespective of its effort to enhance its performance. As a result, the government is usually depicted as a failure in promoting public wellness. According to Cohen et al. (2013), the emergence of web news platforms has further complicated public perception. Cohen et al. note that it makes the government receive contradicting perceptions. However, Cohen et al. (2013) outline that during safety and security crisis, the public views the government as the only means to its rescue.
In the light of waste reduction campaign spearheaded by President Obama, Cohen et al. describe different reactions by various stakeholders. The campaign aimed at reducing wasteful allocations to the federal agencies and boosting public confidene towards the government (Cohen et al., 2013). However, the campaign did not record the desired outcome because of various practices and failures. Such failures include the Solyndra Failure project and overreliance on the private sector. Cohen et al. further note that media focus much attention on the public program failure rather than on private counterparts. A mishap in the public program attracts more media attention as compared to the private counterparts (Cohen et al., 2013). Cohen et al. further notes that a misfortune in the public sector is more difficult to hide from the public as compared to the private sector. However, private sector redeems its image faster and more effectively than public sector (Cohen et al., 2003). Nonetheless, private sector cannot be assumed flawless.
The book also notes that the role of politicians is in improving or otherwise disrupting the good image of government. Cohen et al. outline how top government offices fail to redeem the lost or tainted image despite high public expectations. According to Cohen et al. (2013), politicians infiltrate the public domain only to further their political agendas. The average American believes that government does not compare favorably with religious or community organizations, which have clearly influenced their lives.
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Government’s Response to Crisis
The government has always tried to defend its image. It has formulated various responsive actions that would resolve the crisis of confidence. The first responsive action has been to reduce the tax spending such as promotion of tax-reducing initiatives in California. The reaction was closely followed by increased defense spending, especially after the 9/11 terror attack. The action aimed at reducing the cost and improving the quality of government services. It would further be aligned with public believe in entrepreneurship and private sector empowerment (Cohen et al., 2013). This action would reinvent the government and facilitate its mandate. The action did not yield significant influence as it faced criticism due to its contradiction to the principles of Americann democracy. However, the failure occurred despite President Bill Clinton and his deputy Al Gore being the key proponents of the action in 1990s (Relyea, Cornejo, & Hogue, 2002).
The second responsive action formulated to curb the dilemma was formation of the National Performance Review. The National Performance Review was done on the basis of the philosophy of reinvention. The major focus of this review was to improve performance in public sector. The effort involved cutting of federal workforce by at least 252,000 heads and reducing the cost by $108 billion in five years, around 1980 (Relyea et al., 2002). The performance review aimed at cutting the red tape and putting the customers first amongst others; though such action yielded mixed results. The government claimed that the effort saved $137 billion in federal funds, but the data were not provable (Cohen et al., 2013). As a result, the effort could not redeem its image effectively.
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The Role of Leadership in Not-for-Profit Organizations
In a non-government institution, it is always recommended to have accountability and responsiveness among the workers. As a leader, I would promote the best practices to stir improvements in the aspect. First, I would be involved in promoting clarity of roles, leadership, and ownership. The approach would reduce the struggles among people due to ambiguous roles. Further, clarity of roles, ownership and leadership plays a significant role in reducing confusion (Koestenbaum & Block, 2001). This action would cultivate autonomy and freedom in work, and would involve creation of an appraisal system that supports and recognizes the best performing constituents. Such incentives would provide an opportunity for all those involved in work towards improvement. Such actions would also encompass monitoring and measuring the accountability extent among the constituents. This step would involve evaluating of performance through meetings and reports (Koestenbaum & Block, 2001). Short-term reports on various key areas of institutional activities can provide a means to the maintenance of accountability.
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