Bridging the bureaucratic divide: Using GPRA and the PMA to enhance the career manager and political appointee relationship

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Political Science


Rogan Kersh


Government Performance and Results Act of 1993, President's Management Agenda, Bureaucratic, Career manager, Political appointee

Subject Categories

Public Administration | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | Social and Behavioral Sciences


The study of bureaucratic politics explicates a dysfunctional relationship between career executives and Senate-confirmed political appointees in the American administrative state. Additionally, a number of natural barriers exist between these two executive actors that can cause tensions, hamper cooperative management and ultimately affect policy outcomes. The Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (GPRA) and the President's Management Agenda (PMA) are two of the latest in a long series of efforts to improve the performance of federal agency management. Although these efforts mandate the use of a number of managerial tools to improve internal agency management, they do little to redress the barriers between political appointees and career managers. This dissertation evaluates just how GPRA and the PMA can help careerists and political appointees overcome these barriers to good management and reduce tensions by evaluating three case study agencies: the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.


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