The Ethics Of Dissent : Managing Guerrilla Government

Decent Essays
Georgia Southern University

Book Review : The Ethics of Dissent

Managing Guerrilla Government

Yamini Gollapudi


In its Ethics of Dissent- Managing Guerrilla Government, Rosemary O’Leary provides a sobering description on bureaucratic sabotage in federal government through stories of dissenting public officials named as “guerrillas” or “administrative guerrillas”. Guerrillas are the one who engage in irregular warfare as a member of an independent unit and they are the one who are willing to see the change in the public organizations (pg. 4). Dissatisfaction from the actions of public institutions makes the guerrillas to work against the wishes of superiors or organizational norms either implicitly or explicitly and to make a push back against the management to do what they believe is the right thing which can be termed as “guerrilla government” (p. xi). According to O’Leary majority of the guerrilla governments occur because of the inevitable tension between bureaucracy and democracy that will never go away and they are undetectable because of uninvolving world of bureaucracy (pg. 3, 8). This tension in turn create ethical and management challenges including the harsh realities which all the public servants must learn to steer. To explain these tensions O’Leary uses three lenses: Bureaucratic politics, Organizations and Management and Ethics with the help of three in-depth case studies and 21 mini cases. These case studies involve the
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