governance of unprecedented complexity and technicality? And because organizations for various purposes will inevitably overlay mosaics of cultural diversity, how can ethnic differences be reconciled to obtain consensus sufficient to achieve common policy objectives?
Governance at any political level is more than a legal or technical process. This reality is today widely acknowledged in the so-called private sector, and organizational changes are being introduced to allow for sociological, psychological, and biological factors that were largely unrecognized or discounted in the past. Government generally has been slower to respond to the maladaptations of contemporary society and to a growing though insufficient understanding of social behavior.
Organizational structure obviously makes a difference. The skeletal structure of the human body permits erect posture and hands that can manipulate. Organization charts describe the formal structure--the skeleton of an agency or a government. But they no more describe the way an organization operates than does the articulated bony structure of the human body tell us how the human individual functions. Organizations, unlike organisms, may be restructured to better meet new challenges. New organizations may be invented by rational choice free from the relatively slow and random selectivity of organic evolution. But conflicting rationalities may compete in organizational change. Psychosocial factors, such as power, prestige, wealth, individualism, and the values of independence add to a normal human aversion to altering familiar arrangements and relationships.
The multiple city--states of Renaissance Italy may be in many ways seen as a microcosm of the present world of nation-states. The failure of the Italians to devise appropriate institutions for governance resulted in social and political failures for which their high achievements in the arts and humanities and even in economics (e.g., in banking) were unable to compensate. Observing this state of affairs and its disastrous consequences for Italy moved Niccolo Machiavelli--the founder of modern political science--to write:
The ruin of states is caused . . . because they do not modify their institutions to suit the changes of the times. And such changes are more difficult and tardy in republics; for necessarily circumstances will occur that will unsettle the whole state. ( Machiavelli , 1518 )