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The Forest Ranger: A Study in Administrative Behavior (Rff Press) [Paperback]

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Item description for The Forest Ranger: A Study in Administrative Behavior (Rff Press) by Herbert Kaufman...

It is the rare book that remains in print for nearly fifty years, earning wide acclaim as a classic. The Forest Ranger has been essential reading for generations of professionals and scholars in forestry, public administration, and organizational behavior who are interested in the administration of public lands and how the top managers of a large, dispersed organization with multiple objectives like the Forest Service shape the behavior of its field officers into a coherent, unified program. Published as a special reprint in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the U.S. Forest Service, The Forest Ranger is as relevant and timely today as when it was first issued in 1960.

In addition to the original text, this special reprint of The Forest Ranger includes two new forewords and an afterword that highlight how much we have learned from Herbert Kaufman. The first foreword, by Harold K. (Pete) Steen, former president of the Forest History Society, considers the book's impact on the forestry community and explains its continued relevance in light of changes in the culture and mission of today's Forest Service. The second, by Richard P. Nathan, codirector of the Rockefeller Institute of Government, considers the book's contribution to our understanding of administrative and organizational behavior.

The new afterword by author Herbert Kaufman describes how his landmark study came into being and offers a candid assessment of how his theories about the agency's operations and its future have held up over time. In 1960, the Forest Service had a well-deserved reputation for excellence, and The Forest Ranger was a seminal analysis of the hows and whys of its success. Kaufman also warned, however, that an organization so unified and well adapted to its environment would have difficulties navigating social change. He was right in his concerns: the environmental, civil rights, and women's movements have all presented challenges to the character and purpose of the Forest Service, ultimately changing the organization in subtle and not-so-subtle ways. Now, as then, The Forest Ranger is a striking and prescient case study of how a complex organization operates and evolves over time.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   269
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 5.25" Height: 8"
Weight:   0.9 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 4, 2006
Publisher   RFF Press
ISBN  1933115270  
ISBN13  9781933115276  

Availability  0 units.

More About Herbert Kaufman

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Herbert Kaufman was a professor of political science at Yale University and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. His other books include "The Administrative Behavior of Federal Bureau Chiefs"; "Red Tape: Its Origins, Uses, and Abuses; Are Government Organizations Immortal?"; and "The Limits of Organizational Change".

Herbert Kaufman was born in 1922 and has an academic affiliation as follows - The Brookings Institution.

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Reviews - What do customers think about The Forest Ranger: A Study in Administrative Behavior (Rff Press)?

A Case Study in the Golden Age of PA  Dec 16, 2002
First published in 1960, The Forest Ranger is an impressive study of the United States Forest Service. In the book, Kaufman (1960/1967) case studies the behavior of district rangers in the Forest Service and endeavors for an answer to the question of how policies formulated by policy executives are realized into integrated action by a service whose field personnel operate under varied conditions. "Even in agencies with simple, routine responsibilities, welding the behavior of field personnel into integral patterns is often a trying experience" (p. 25). In an agency which is as much dispersed and heterogeneous as the Forest Service, is it possible to secure an integrated and coherent policy implementation across a great number of the districts? If you believe it is impossible, I strongly recommend you to have a look at The Forest Ranger by Herbert Kaufman.

The readers who are familiar with Herbert Simon should remember his masterpiece "Administrative Behavior" in which the author at "theoretical level" demonstrated what takes for the leaders of administrative agencies to direct, manage, and run largely staffed and complex organizations. Simon (1947/1997) spent his intellectual energy for an inquiry into the decision-making process, and knitted his theory around it by developing an impressive understanding that helped the readers to sense that "integrated policy action" depends on the degree that the leaders can control the "environment" of decision-making so that every individual employee in the organization adjusts his/her decisions to common objectives fashioned by policy makers. Organization design, implicitly, stood out as prerequisite for integrated policy action, with "organization design" serving to bring decision premises and necessary data to the attention and use of decision-makers. Herbert Kaufman (1960/1967), in The Forest Ranger, demonstrates vividly how once a "theory" becomes a reality in the case of the United States Forest Service.

I would not want to summarize the case study with the fear that I am likely to discolor a vivid masterpiece. Suffice to say that at present times in which orthodox public administration theory is being transformed by a new body of knowledge and skills, this case study should present (sometimes poignantly) the assumptions, ideals, weaknesses and strengths of orthodox public administration in its "golden age" that has reached a final stage in our contemporary times.

This classic book is organized into seven major chapters. The first chapter gives a summary of research design, data collection and analysis procedures, and the plan of the book. The second chapter makes the reader familiar with the size and complexity of the Forest Service with accompanying challenges to integrated policy action. The third chapter elucidates the challenges to unity that emanate from internal communication problems, the potential for field officers to be captured by local populations, personal preferences of field officers, and the like. In the fourth chapter, Kaufman (1960/1967) gives detail to the procedural devices used by the service leaders in order to "preform" decisions of individual employees (controlling the environment of decision). The fifth chapter shows how the Forest Service executives detect and discourage deviation from official policies. The sixth chapter explains the means by which the Forest Service leaders develop will and capacity in their employees to conform with the policy expectations. The seventh chapter is a conclusion with final remarks on the success level of policies in the Forest Service and ethical-moral implications.

If you are not comfortable with abstract theoretical constructs and need more concrete examples, skip The Functions of the Executive by Chester Barnard (1938/1968), Administrative Behavior by Herbert Simon (1947/1997), Organizations in Action by James Thompson (1967) or Leadership in Administration by Philip Selznick (1957/1984), and read Herbert Kaufman. Once you read The Forest Ranger can you return to these masterpieces and I believe you are more likely then to digest their theories and understandings.

If you are not very interested in public administration theory, The Forest Ranger is worth reading even due to its excellence as a case study that would help the readers in designing their own case studies for research purposes.

Overall, I highly recommend this classic to the readers.


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