government performance, NASA, bureaucracy
The concept of decline has variously been applied to businesses, organizations, groups, and government (Levine 1978; Lorange and Nelson 1987; Whetten 1980). The term decline has also been used to describe various government agencies such as NASA. It is the theory put forth presently that decline in its traditional form in the literature does not apply to government agencies. Decline has been previously characterized as a time of decreasing or restricted resources, conflict, a decrease in innovativeness, a decrease in organizational size, a decrease in income or profits, and an organization's inability to adapt (Cameron, Whetten, and Kim; Weitzel and Jonsson). These characteristics, however, are not applicable to individual government agencies; an agency's tasks, form, and functions are usually set and defined through legislation, its budget is tied to the budget of the rest of the US government, and policy is usually generated at the top. Because of these pitfalls, I propose a new model of operations at the government level: the government agency decline model. This model posits that an agency's operations are in constant flux depending on the nature of the US economy at any given time and a number of other variables. Pursuant to this, I propose that there is a strong relationship between budget, agency performance, and power; more money in an agency's accounts contributes to bettering their performance, better performance leads to more power, which can lead to an increased budget. Therefore this cycle can begin and be interrupted at the money stage depending on the state of the American economy. Findings show that there are relationships between economy, budgets, performance, and power leading to an enhanced explanation of NASA's yearly budget. Recommendations for further research include examining a wider array of government agencies and developing better ways to measure power.
Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Whitman, Wendy Noel, "After The Moon: A Study Of Governmental Agency Decline And Nasa" (2007). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 3408.