International Encyclopedia of Public Policy and Administration - Vol. 2

By Jay M. Shafritz | Go to book overview

O'Hayre has identified four fears that lead to abstract writing: (1) the fear of leaving something important outabstractions can be interpreted to include everything important and unimportant; (2) the fear of making a clear-cut recommendation-abstract recommendations are simultaneously reversible and irreversible; (3) the fear of not writing one's share to keep the paper flowing, even when there is really nothing to write about; and (4) the fear of not sounding like everyone else, who are viewed to be important.


Remedies for Gobbledygook

O'Hayre gives advice to BLM employees that is useful for any organization. Because vague words can be misleading, misread, and misinterpreted, he urges staff members to make the extra effort to write clearly. Written expression must be simple and down-to-earth. Employees must spell out their ideas cleanly and clearly. They should use shorter sentences. They need to shrink and pare down their writing and use words the reader can handle. They need to be clear, exact, and precise. They should use specific and concrete words wherever they can and general and abstract terms only when necessary. Specific and concrete words must carry general abstract ideas.

J. WALTON BLACKBURN


BIBLIOGRAPHY

Alciere, Rose Mary, 1993. "Avoiding Government Speak". Technical Communication. 2d quarter: 262-264.

Chase, Stuart, 1971. "Gobbledygook", pp. 62-73. In Joseph A. DeVito , ed., Communication-Concepts and Processes. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

D'Angelo, Frank J., 1989. "Fiddle-Faddle, Flapdoodle, and Balderdash: Some Thoughts on Jargon", pp. 120-131. In William Lutz, ed., Beyond Nineteen Eighty-Four. Doublespeak in a Post-Orwellian Age, Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English.

Garnett, James L., 1992. Communicating for Results in Government. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Grolier Incorporated, 1994. The Encyclopedia Americana-International Edition. Danbury, CT: Grolier Incorporated.

Hendrickson, Robert, 1987, Facts on File Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins. New York: Facts on File Publications.

Hudson, Kenneth, 1977. The Dictionary of Diseased English. London: Macmillan.

Mager, N. H, and S. K. Mager, compilers and eds., 1982. The Morrow Book of New Words: 8,500 Terms Not Yet in Standard Dictionaries. New York: William Morrow & Co.

Miller, Don Ethan, 1981. The Book of Jargon: An Essential Guide to the Inside Languages of Today. New York: Macmillan.

Morris, William, and Mary Morris, 1962. Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins. New York: Harper & Row.

O'Hayre, John, and U.S. Bureau of Land Management, 1966. Gobbledygook Has Gotta Go. Washington, DC: GPO.

Partridge, Eric, 1952. Chamber of Horrors; A Glossary of Official Jargon, both English and American. New York: British Book Center.

Shipley, Joseph T, 1977. In Praise of English: The Growth and Use of Language. New York: New York Times Book Company.

GOVERNANCE OF NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS. The term "governance" is defined to mean the strategic leadership of nonprofit organizations. It is therefore important to understand how this use of the term differs from the way it is used in the context of traditional public administration. In the latter context governance usually refers to the process of government policy making, which is intimately related to the political activities of elected officials.

Outside the realm of government, the concept of governance refers to an aspect of the management of a given organization. Indeed, in most dictionaries, the synonyms of governance are words such as management and administration. In current parlance, the term has taken on a more specific meaning as a process for making certain types of management decisions. These are commonly referred to as strategic decisions, which have to do with such matters as setting the organization's mission, establishing the values it wishes to embody, deciding the broad strategy for achieving the mission, and evaluating its effectiveness in meeting its goals.

This concept of governance is rooted in the positivist tradition of social science, which assumes that individuals can rationally choose among alternative actions based on information that is consciously gathered and assessed. These decisions are believed to then determine actual behavior, and the outcomes of such behavior, are thought to modify the subsequent decisions ( Burrell and Morgan 1979). As we shall see, so-called postmodern critical theory takes issue with this concept of governance as an intendedly rational process, preferring instead to see the behavior of organizational members emerging from a much more complex, less-deterministic process.

This brief explication of the governance of nonprofit organizations focuses on problematic issues in the process of making governance decisions and their relationship to organizational effectiveness.


Problematic Issues in Nonprofit Governance

Considering governance as a decisionmaking process, there are two dominant issues of concern to scholars. One issue is who plays, or should play, which roles in the process, or, in practical terms, who is in charge of the organization and to whom is it accountable? The other issue is how governance decisions are, or should be, made.


Who Governs?

The literature on the question of roles in governance decisionmaking tends to be of two distinct types: normative and analytic.

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International Encyclopedia of Public Policy and Administration - Vol. 2
Table of contents

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