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Managing a Complex Public Organization under Resource Dependency: The Case of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) Metrorail System
Hollandsworth, Edgar M.
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This article offers a timely and empirical case study of the effects of political influence from governing stakeholders on the management of a major inter-regional public transportation system in the greater Washington, DC area. It demonstrates the critical importance of intensive cooperation between federal, state, and local authorities for the sustainment and effective delivery of a vital public service, and documents the significant challenges for public managers charged with administering public organizations in an organizational environment characterized by resource dependence, principal-agent conflicts, and dysfunctional governance structures. Solutions recommended include institutional entrepreneurship, lobbying for stronger federal oversight, and greater use of strategic planning and strategic communications to shape public and legislator perspectives.
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