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Mission Mystique
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Mission Mystique
Belief Systems in Public Agencies



October 2010 | 328 pages | CQ Press

In an era filled with mistrust for big government and big business, Charles Goodsell goes against this grain to draw attention to public agencies admired for what they do and how well they do it. In his groundbreaking new book, Goodsell places renewed focus on organizational mission and its potential to be a strong energizing force in government—one that animates a workforce internally and attracts admiration and talent externally.  He offers a normative template for the mystique that underlies this phenomenon and highlights—in six rich case studies—a driving sense of purpose, a cultural and motivational richness, and a capacity for tolerating dissent while still innovating and learning. Analyzing what works best (and what doesn’t), Goodsell provides a metric through which agency mystique can be evaluated and modeled.

Goodsell’s fresh take on public agencies not only defines good public administration in terms of ethical conduct, constitutional accountability, and performance effectiveness, but argues that the field must add the crucial standard of institutional vitality.


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