Presidential Power and Management Techniques: The Carter and Reagan Administrations in Historical Perspective

Presidential Power and Management Techniques: The Carter and Reagan Administrations in Historical Perspective

Presidential Power and Management Techniques: The Carter and Reagan Administrations in Historical Perspective

Presidential Power and Management Techniques: The Carter and Reagan Administrations in Historical Perspective

Synopsis

"An evaluation of presidential efforts to achieve greater control over policy implementation by intransigent federal bureaucracies. Benze [asserts] that Ronald Reagan's use of budget cuts and appointment of conservative ideologues tended to enhance presidential power more readily than attempts at bureaucratic reorganization. Based on mail surveys of more than 350 domestic administrators, the author concludes that bureaucratic acceptance of management techniques requires the kind of persuasive political skills Reagan displayed in his first term, but were lacking in the Carter Administration. He cautions that Reagan's managerial initiatives engendered morale problems, and may lack institutional permanency in the absence of constitutional and statutory changes. . . . A useful addition to upper-division and graduate collections." Choice

Excerpt

The internal dimension of presidential power: presidential leadership skills

The analysis of the executives' evaluations of presidential management in the Carter and Reagan administrations indicates that from a bureaucratic perspective, the presidents' management techniques and styles vary in their ability to improve presidential control over policy implementation. Specifically, it seems that the political model of presidential management used by the Reagan administration was much more successful than the administrative model used by Carter. Earlier, it was suggested that administrative techniques are only a single dimension of presidential power (the external dimension). There is also an internal dimension of presidential power consisting of a variety of factors "internal" to the way a president organizes and carries out activities. Among these factors are the president's management style, personal characteristics, and political skills.

The internal and external dimensions of presidential power are interrelated, and both are important for the success of presidential management. Thus, there should be a strong correlation between the internal dimension of power and effective management, as well as between the internal and external dimensions of presidential power or between presidential skills and administrative techniques.

To investigate these relationships, both surveys asked the admin-

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