The Limitations of Applying Private-Sector Models to Federal Operations

Total quality initiatives in the early 1990s, Vice President Gore’s National Partnership for Reinventing Government, and President G.W. Bush’s President’s Management Agenda each attempted to incorporate private-sector management best practices into federal operations. Now President Obama and Congress see a bloated federal bureaucracy requiring restructuring. Another round of reform initiatives will be no more successful in the critical area of labor cost control than past efforts until government leaders recognize that federal managers operate in a fundamentally different decision-making environment than their private-sector counterparts.

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