The United States is one of the largest federalist projects, the administrative system of which is a point of special interest. It is fair to claim that intergovernmental relations define the government policy’s effectiveness on all levels: federal, state, and local. It is vital to understand the key concepts of the problem and realize its influence on public organizations and a policymaker’s career.
To begin with, the author’s main argument appears to be that intra-governmental and intergovernmental competition can be understood as a tool to improve performance. No matter what model it sticks to in a federalist system, there are always shared services and exclusive responsibilities and powers (Holzer & Schwester, 2016). Hence, the author seems to support the concept of intergovernmental relations in the United States as a result-driving factor.
Speaking of the key concepts, there are three to be discussed: layer cake, marble cake, and picket fence models. A layer cake model is a form of federalism with a strict clear division of federal and state authorities’ responsibilities (Holzer & Schwester, 2016). Marble cake federalism works when all authorities have interrelated policy goals (Holzer & Schwester, 2016). Finally, the picket fence model is characterized by close fiscal relationships between governments.
As for public organizations, intergovernmental competition and privatization significantly affect them. As Holzer and Schwester (2016) claim, concurrence “improves organizational efficiency and effectiveness” (p.288). Hence, public organizations have to be encouraged to bid on government contracts (Holzer & Schwester, 2016). If an agency becomes a monopoly, policymakers split it into smaller units (Holzer & Schwester, 2016). Financial and motivational incentives appear to contribute to public organizations’ work directly.
Finally, I could apply this knowledge to my life: it is essential to be aware of power levels in a federal state building a career in administration. For instance, understanding the positive outcomes of shared services like cost savings or improved responsiveness impacts a policymaker’s decisions (Holzer & Schwester, 2016). In other words, awareness of intergovernmental relations is vital for a policymaker.
To conclude, the United States has built a strong and clear federal governance system that guarantees productive intergovernmental communications. Relations between various power levels are claimed to increase the effectiveness of their joint work. Different federalism models: layer cake, marble cake, and picket fence – are supposed to maintain a diverse management vision. Public organizations are motivated by the system, and their understanding is important for policymakers.
Holzer, M., & Schwester, R. (2016). Public administration: An introduction. Routledge.