Abstract: In late September 2009, nine months after he took office, President Barack Obama appointed Shelley Metzenbaum to the position of associate director for performance and personnel management at the U.S. Office of Management and Budget. Metzenbaum's charge was to lead government-wide efforts to improve the performance of federal agencies: in short, to make government work better. To improve performance and public confidence in government, the Obama administration wanted agencies to set ambitious goals focused on improving outcomes. Metzenbaum was the administration's choice for advancing this agenda. Metzenbaum realized she had many options from which to choose, but few resources with which to carry out her charge: she had a tiny staff, strained budget and very little direct influence over the agencies tasked with improving their performance. This case focuses on the challenge facing Metzenbaum as she contemplates each of her choices in her approach to indirect management.
Learning Objective: Effective managers within the federal government are those who are skilled at managing indirectly. Students learn the tools managers can choose from and the trade offs they face when making these choices.
February 06, 2013
Available with Educator Access
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Joseph B. Tompkins, Jr. Fund for Case Study and Research