Mark Hammer

There is reorganizing that is driven from the bottom up, and makes effective use of front-line knowledge about what impedes efficiency and effectiveness, and reorganization driven from the top down that deals in the abstract without factoring in all of that nit-picky stuff like role clarity within agencies, retraining, disruption of working relationships, moving costs, etc. You know, all that ephemeral stuff that doesn’t really matter when it comes to institutional functionality.

I will just mention in passing that two questions on our own federal employee survey have yielded essentially the same results over the past 9 years of surveying. Negative responses to the statement “The quality of my work is negatively affected by constantly changing priorities” and “The quality of my work is affected by instability in the organization” are consistently predictive of a great many other areas of functioning, worker motivation, inter-unit collaboration, etc. That’s not an argument for leaving things exactly as they are, but it IS an argument for putting a lot more thought into what changes are worth implementing in the grand scheme of things, and how to do it in the least disruptive fashion. If we expect public servants to be dedicated, they have to know what it is they are dedicated to, and have to be able to envision a “commitment trajectory” for themselves. Otherwise, they simply become foster children shuffled from house to house.