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

By James G. Benze Jr. | Go to book overview

administrative approach. This approach stresses the twin techniques of coordination and persuasion. These presidents have used their personal authority, their superior bargaining position, and so on to extend their influence over the administrative process in a piecemeal fashion. A second approach has been to ignore domestic policy in order to concentrate on foreign policy, where the president has the advantage of a more clear-cut constitutional authority and power and fewer competing policy elites. 19 As presidents have seen their programs thwarted by the bureaucracy, they have sought greater control. Recent presidents have desired the extension and increase of presidential power in the area of administration--the ability to control policy implementation. One of the methods they have tried is presidential management and the administrative techniques that management entails.

The administrative principles that make up presidential management offer advantages to the president who is interested in increasing his power and control over the bureaucracy. Among these advantages are hierarchy, authority, and greater control over the flow of information in the executive branch. Budgeting techniques such as planned program budgeting systems and zero base budgeting are designed to overcome the decentralized nature of the budget- making process and to increase agencies' responsiveness to presidential direction.

Management techniques also tend to provide for a greater control over the flow of information into the executive office. In a highly technical society, the control of information often equates with political power. 20 The Nixon administration's management by objectives (MBO) program demonstrated this concern with increased control over the flow of information. One of the MBO program's prime goals was to increase the flow of information concerning agency budgetary objectives to the president. Nixon thought that more detailed information about agency objectives would allow him greater control over the budget process. Other presidents felt their management programs would also increase presidential control.


SUMMARY

Modern presidents have been unable to gain control over the bureaucracy and the implementation of policy programs through the use of presidential influence and authority. As domestic policy

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

Table of contents

  • Recent Titles in Contributions in Political Science Series Editor: Bernard K. Johnpoll ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Tables ix
  • Abbreviations xi
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Introduction 1
  • Notes 4
  • 1 - Presidential Power and Presidential Management 5
  • Summary 13
  • Notes 14
  • 2 - The Origins of Presidential Management 17
  • Summary 28
  • Notes 29
  • 3 - The History of Management Techniques 31
  • Summary 50
  • Notes 50
  • 4 - Management in the Carter Administration 55
  • Summary 72
  • SUMMARY 72
  • 5 - Management in the Reagan Administration 77
  • Notes 94
  • 6 - An Empirical Investigation of Presidential Management 97
  • Summary 113
  • Notes 114
  • 7 - The Limits of Management Techniques and the Importance of Presidential Leadership 117
  • Summary 133
  • Notes 134
  • Conclusion: The Future of Presidential Management 137
  • Bibliography 143
  • Notes on Methodology 149
  • Index 153
  • About the Author 159
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