Title: Managing for results: the US Coast Guard Marine Safety program

Authors: Fred L. Ames

Addresses: Office of the United States Trade Representative, Executive Office of the President, 1724 F Street, NW, Washington, DC 20508, USA

Abstract: Performance-based program management systems were introduced to the US Federal Government over the last 20 years to address a number of management challenges. This research examines performance management issues through a longitudinal qualitative case study of a regulatory program, the US Coast Guard Marine Safety. The study illustrates that there are two diametrically contrasting approaches to the US Federal Government performance management: 1) top-down centrally-mandated methodologies that require standard compliance; 2) voluntary activities to improve decision-making and outcomes. The study argues that it is unreasonable to manage complex federal government programs within an environment of high ambiguity using the former approach. With the latter approach, the Coast Guard Marine Safety program improves safety and environmental outcomes. The study illustrates what is possible apart from the bureaucratic centrally-mandated requirements.

Keywords: USA; US Coast Guard; USCG; marine safety; public administration; program management; performance management; performance-based management; public sector management; federal government performance; total quality management; TQM; Government Performance and Results Act; GPRA.

DOI: 10.1504/IJHRDM.2017.085264

International Journal of Human Resources Development and Management, 2017 Vol.17 No.1/2, pp.89 - 112

Received: 11 Mar 2016
Accepted: 26 Jul 2016

Published online: 19 Jul 2017 *

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