Principles of Reinvention

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Entrepreneurial Government. Explanation of Principles of Reinvention of David Osborne and Ted Gaebler. ('92)


According to Osborne and Gaebler, governments don't work well, because they are tall, sluggish, over-centralized, and preoccupied with rules and regulations."We designed public agencies to protect the public against politicians and bureaucrats gaining too much power or misusing public money. In making it difficult to steal the public's money, we made it virtually impossible to manage the public's money... In attempting to control virtually everything, we became so obsessed with dictating how things should be done - regulating the process, controlling the inputs - that we ignored the outcomes, the results". Osborn and Gaebler recommend "Entrepreneurial Government": a government that can compete and must compete with for-profit businesses, nonprofit agencies, and other units of government.


Ten Principles of Reinvention (Osborne and Gaebler)

The Entrepreneurial Government should be:

  1. Catalytic. Steering rather than rowing.

  2. Community-owned. Empowering rather than serving.

  3. Competitive. Injecting competition into service delivery.

  4. Mission-driven. Transforming rule-driven organizations.

  5. Results-oriented. Funding outcomes, not inputs.

  6. Customer-driven. Meeting the needs of the customer, not the bureaucracy.

  7. Enterprising. Earning rather than spending.

  8. Anticipatory. Prevention rather than cure.

  9. Decentralized. From hierarchy towards participation and teamwork.

  10. Market-oriented. Leveraging change through the market.

The model of David Osborne and Ted Gaebler for Entrepreneurial Government has led to the initiation of the National Performance Review (NPR) by Vice president Al Gore in 1994.


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Compare the Principles of Reinvention with other organization culture change approaches:  Fourteen Points of Management  |  Eight Attributes of Management Excellence  |  Five Disciplines  |  Theory XYZ  |  BPR


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