Federal Agency

Radin tells that NHS secretary should well aware or to learn how to manage such an incoherent entity and he should develop all these gestures in the efficient management of the department. According to Radin, as the NHS is based on customary or traditional management system, efficient leadership is vital for the administration of the department. Radin explains the leadership lesson in the NHS as to establish strict priorities and goals and to adhere them. (p. 4). She also later informs that one should be realistic and be flexible. (p. 4). However, how both can be accomplished at the same time is a million dollar question.

She has not given answer for this variance. Radin book offers an excellent panorama of how varied choices and pressures that the secretary of a government department has to counter in administering his department. Radin also makes a word of caution to the future secretaries of NHS by advising them not to mix their personal marks to an organization which is a path-dependent and a highly institutionalized organization and with a high degree of professional independence. Radin feels that secretary of NHS has little power to change the personnel except at the top level as the organisation structure of the NHS has been already established.

Radin feels that career of the civil servant employed in NHS is always end in clashes with the new political appointees that the US government makes whenever there is a change in guard. Thus, secretary of the NHS has the onerous responsibility carrying everyone with him in the course of its administration. Radin feels that federal departments lack strong management team and robust management information systems and as such, secretary of NHS is handicapped in delivering efficient services. Thus, Radin gazes at customary accountability from varied outlooks, including under the conditions of expectations and constraints.

She recognizes various kinds of expectations and constraints, fiscal limitations, legal limitations, efficiency expectations and political limitations. These forms interact with each other constantly though in the real world these forms are discussed separately. For instance, legal restrictions lessen the scope of authority of secretary of NHS by formulating rules and delineating sanctions to forbid him to act outside the parameters of his authority. Thus, legal constraint includes standards, laws, rules, procedures and regulations.

Political constraints can be exercised by citizens, high level administrative bureaucrats and elected officials. Efficiency expectations are consisting of customary accountability means and rest on the conception that government is ineffective and can offer services at still cheaper and faster than they presently do. Thus the title of Radin book itself signifies that top government officials like secretary of NHS juggles many and competing demands and anticipations in terms of delivery of service and performance.

On daily basis, these government top bureaucrats have to juggle the competing and multiple anticipations that warrant them on a day-to-day basis. Thus, top government officials in US are anticipated to be accountable and manage in an atmosphere chiefly influenced by fiscal, legal and political limitations. Radin book is a priceless one as it is underpinning a variety of decisive points pertaining to leadership at the top of a controversial and a complex government agency. It is said that Radin had caricatured Donna Shalala, who was the secretary of NHS during 1995.

Radin attempts to evaluate how a secretary juggles a number of responsibilities, competing values all within the background of very dissimilar, highly professionalized and reasonably independent schemes, divisions and agencies. Radin feels that government officials peruse a compliance approach that doesn’t go to right essence of their work. They are doing their best to keep NHS programs being implemented perfectly and are doing a fine job. It is to be noted that society should respect them for their good job.

However, Congress is attaining more sensitive to this issue. Congress is feeling that they can confront the White House and they can question about Medicare part D, NSA and FEMA. Thus, American Congress instead of exerting political stance is perusing its institutional stance. Radin book offers an exhaustive glimpse into the happenings at the NHS department behind the screen and informs the reader that it is really a tough job for administering a federal department with limited infrastructure.

Though Radin book is not offering any solution to the existing dilemmas in NHS department but offers an insight why there are no clear answers to accountability and management woes at the federal level. Those who want to assume a career as a civil servant and want to lead or work at the top echelons of the federal departments should without fail to go through this astounding book so that they can circumvent the booby trap that so many caught into.


Callahan, Kathe. Elements of Effective governance, measurement, accountability and participation. Boca Raton: CRC Press, 2006. Hall, Thad E. ” The Accountable Juggler: the Art of Leadership in a Federal Agency. (Book Review). ” Political Science Quarterly. (6):2003. Radin, Beryl. The Accountable Juggler. The Art of Leadership in a Federal Agency. Washington D. C: CQ Press, 2002. Stanton, Thomas H & Ginsberg, Benjamin. Making government manageable: executive organization and management in the twenty-first century. Baltimore:JHU Press, 2004.