The "Equalizer" Administration: Managerial Strategies in the Public Sector
Cavalcanti, Bianor Scelza
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The purpose of this dissertation is to understand the managerial â actionâ of public administrators in the management of their organizations within the brazilian context. It seeks to understand the relationships between managers and formal management mechanisms by exploring the complementary nature of the effective managerial action in the face of structural deficiencies and flaws, considering the possibility of overcoming the structuralism-subjectivism dichotomy present in the construction of the Theory of Organizations. Initially, the study provides a review of the literature on organizational design. It highlights the â goodness of fitâ proposition on strategic choice issues concerning the main organizational variables design and organizational goal attainment. It also calls special attention to the emerging interest of designing theorists on interpretivist aproachs to the matter, such that of Karl Weick. A review of the the administrative reforms in Brazil is made from the perspective of the main stream organizational design conceptual framework. It highlights the complex dynamics of a constant search for differenciation and flexibilization subject to patherns of advances and reversals, due to the centrality, streng and pervasiveness of the bureaucratic model. It is concluded that in no single given moment, a public manager and his team, may count on a formal organizational design wich attends the â congruencyâ criteria, devised by organizational design conceptual frameworks, to explain organizational results in different environmental sets. Although this conclusion may explain failure at the public sector, it can not provide understanding on the many instances of significative success attained by government operations in spite of inadequate formal administrative structures. This point calls for a better understanding from the interpretivist aproach, on how public administrators, strongly associated with good organizational results, engage into transformative action, in order to superate administrative structures flaws and disfuncional cultural patherns of conduct, structurally present and constantly reproduced, in vigorous develloping countries, such as Brazil. The dissertation transcribes the testimony of four outstanding public administrators, doing a deep incursion in the managerial real world of public administration, as subjectivelly defined by them and transformed by their engagement into action.Through the thematic version of the Oral History methodology, full segments of the complete enterviews are cathegorized into the thirty two managerial strategies captured wich are presented on a recathegorized manner under eight main strategies: (1) Interchanging Frames of Reference; (2) Exploring the Formal Limits; (3) Playing the Bureaucracy Game; (4) Inducing the Inclusion of Others (5)Promoting Internal Cohesion; (6) Creating Shields against Transgressions; (7) Overcoming Internal Restrictions; (8) Letting the Structures Blossom. Each one of these eight blocks of strategies presented, deserves further reflexive interpretation by the author, on the light of the interpretivist aproach to organizational design. A final effort is made, now on theory building, for improuving understanding on the matter. In order to find a significant meaning underlining all the strategies extracted from the â practical constiounessâ of the enterviweers as revealed in their report, the author resort to a methafor. This methafor helps to: (1) better describe and understand a not adequately treated phenomenon, namely, good results under inadequate structural social and organizational conditions; (2) reveal the logic and the meaning underlining all the strategies adopted to generate results under these unfaithfull conditions; (3) name, accordingly to the nature of the managerial transformative social action envolved, an open ended class of managerial interventions of a pragmatic sort driven by an ethics of results much common to good managers, that is, the concept of â managerial equalizationâ ; and (4) give back to public administrators, represented by the enterviwees, to be incorporated in their â discursive counciousnessâ , something the most effective and experienced public managers already have as tacit knowledge built in their â practical counsciousnessâ , and so, help the education and development of new talents.
- Doctoral Dissertations 
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