Implementing Change in a Clash of Cultures
Chapter 11: Politics and Management: Can they Co-exist?
11. Politics and management: can they co-exist? In most political systems there is a recognisable gulf between Ministers and their immediate circle of advisers and oﬃcials and the senior managers responsible for the government machine. The pattern varies from country to country; senior managers can be anyone from the General in charge of the military to the doctor in charge of public health or a career oﬃcial who has run the same part of the government for years, the President of a university or the chief executive of the Institute of National Heritage. The issues that perplex them will be partly speciﬁc to their country and their role but all of them will talk about budgets, priorities, staﬃng and, above all, about their relationship with the politicians who direct them. Politicians in oﬃce have a similar but not identical list of issues: political priorities, political pressures, what the President wants, what the press are saying, budgets and operational problems that are said to prevent the implementation of policy. Some Ministers have their own answers to the issues and want reassurance that they are right, others are confused and unsure which direction to take or whether anything can be done. For many, their horizons are limited to the problems they are dealing with immediately whether of policy or a serious politically charged system failure. Longer term strategic issues are constantly knocked aside by the immediate pressures. Senior oﬃcials at the Budget ministry, the Health ministry...
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