The war on terrorism has raised profound questions of domestic governance -not primarily about power or policy, but about the capacities of government agencies, their personnel, procedures, work habits and styles, and ability to interface with each other. These are the "workways of governance."
As the aftermath of the tragic events of September 11, 2001, made very clear, shortcomings and defects in the workways of governance are all too often manifested only in times of crisis or scandal -after the damage is done. How much better it would be to design for government a version of the periodic physical examination, where tests of various types, together with the physician's observations and the patient's own testimony, combine to help define the patient's status and prospects.
The Workways of Governance project, sponsored by the Governance Institute, was begun in 1997 in response to a growing concern that institutions of national government have evolved into structures and developed procedures and customs that constrain their workers and hamper their collective effectiveness. A unique feature of the project is the development of a periodic review of the quality of institutional life and work in government. Guidelines for evaluating and monitoring governmental entities will be established, and implemented annually or biennially. The resulting reports consist of both objectively measured data and subjective evaluation, with the ultimate aim of generating positive change toward improving the capacity of government.
In this first volume of analysis arising from the Workways of Governance project, contributors apply these general guidelines to evaluate the leading institutions of the federal government, as listed in the first three articles of the Constitution: the House of Representatives, the Senate, the presidency (focusing on White House organization and staffing), the executive branch (focusing on the civil service), and the federal judiciary.