Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Rubin, Irene

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Legacy Department

Department of Political Science


Government competition--United States--21st century


In the context of the federal bureaucracy’s shrinking discretion and the “thinning” of administrative institutions, the implementation of the Bush administration’s competitive sourcing policy, guided by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular No. A-76, offers a venue to explore how bureaucracy adapts to the changing environment and creates space using various strategies and resources. The implementation of this policy showcases the extent to which agencies obey their elected leaders when their organizational capacities are threatened. The Bush administration shifted the long-standing policy of relying on the private sector for the performance of commercial activities to one of mandatory competition between the government and the private sector, where winners were those who promised to perform the job with a lower price tag. This occurred simultaneously with a redefinition of inherently governmental functions that enlarged the share of potentially outsourceable jobs. With this type of competitive sourcing, federal employees had to cope with the pressures of protecting their capacities and defending their worth using a costly and adversarial process. This study examines the unintended consequences for governance of this policy and extends existing organization, implementation, and bureaucratic power theories to an initiative that threatens to shake the bedrock of the federal civil service.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [348]-380).


2 volumes




Northern Illinois University

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