Finding the Best Way to Get the Job Done

Alternative Structures for Government Organizations

by Michael V. Hynes, Sheila Nataraj Kirby, Jennifer Sloan McCombs

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This research brief describes work documented in A Casebook of Alternative Governance Structures and Organizational Forms (MR-1103-OSD).

Excerpt: Are U.S. government organizations currently structured to perform their missions most effectively? Some federal functions — such as negotiating treaties or providing for the national defense — no doubt can be carried out only through traditional government structures. But a host of other functions are not inherently governmental, and observers within and outside government have speculated that alternative structures — many involving the private sector — may be the key to how government can better perform many of these activities in the future. Researchers from RAND's National Defense Research Institute recently studied this issue for the Department of Defense (DoD) with an eye toward developing a framework that illuminates the range of options available for doing government business. The resulting report, A Casebook of Alternative Governance Structures and Organizational Forms, is designed to help policymakers take the first steps toward reorganization. The framework developed by the research team arrays a variety of alternative organizational structures according to key variables such as ownership and customers. Case studies are also provided for each option. Decisionmakers can use the framework to identify appropriate organizational options suitable for achieving their specific goals.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation research brief series. RAND research briefs present policy-oriented summaries of individual published, peer-reviewed documents or of a body of published work.

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