Policy is always a tricky beast. It can ossify an organization but without it, an organization can be chaotic and strive for a dozen different goals. Under the best of circumstances, undisciplined initiatives can cause an organization to lose focus. In the worst case, says Drucker, “there is a real danger that speculation be mistaken for initiative.”
I’m currently working on a policy problem that will likely get plenty of objection from a group of independent units that are running of in an entrepreneurial fashion, each trying their hand at the market. The good side of their work is that they are all exploring different opportunities. The obvious drawback is that they are taxing the centralized staff by each using different techniques to solve related problems.
Back to Goldstine. He’s an academic and places grate faith in expertise. During the second world war, he provided technical expertise to the Army, an expertise that was quite rare. (Mathematical ballistics). Yet, expertise can harm an arganization as those with such knowledge tend to look at the activity from only one point of view. “The premium on expert knowledge,” saith Drucker, “contributes substantially to this danger because it puts emphasis on the “professional view” as does the isolated life which the average managerial employee of the large corporation often leads.”