Bowman, Ann O'M.; Snyder, William P.
June 1985
Public Administration Quarterly;Summer85, Vol. 9 Issue 2, p141
Academic Journal
This article examines the organizational adjustments made by Selective Service System (SSS) as a consequence of policy fluctuations in the U.S. Agency survival is enhanced by a constellation of factors. Support networks are critical. For example, the development of large, dispersed but cohesive constituency provides a reservoir of mobilizable support. Reciprocal relationships with congressional committees also contribute to an agency's survival potential. Organizational characteristics also foster agency continuation. The strength of an agency's statutory base, the perceived importance of its mission, the size of the organization, its leadership talents, and its organizational vitality interact to produce persistence. A fractured policy climate was the precipitating factor leading to the decline of the SSS. Public criticism extended from the war to the draft and finally to the SSS itself as attacks grew into frontal assaults. Delegitimation of the protective ideological matrix renders an organization vulnerable. In the case of the SSS, the supportive policy climate in which the agency historically reposed was shattered. Organizational persistence depends on a network of interlocking supports. Weakening of any one support percolates throughout the system, affecting the entire network. As the policy climate shifted, weak points in SSS organization fractured. As outside criticism became stronger, further ruptures in its support network accumulated. The agency was unable to generate the resources necessary to defuse the attacks.


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