Title page for ETD etd-07092002-182312

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Boyle, Jon
URN etd-07092002-182312
Title Working "Faster, Better, Cheaper": A Federal Research Agency in Transition
Degree PhD
Department Human Development
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Wiswell, Albert K. Committee Chair
Cline, Marvin Gerald Committee Member
Combs, Letitia A. Committee Member
Hoffman, Edward J. Committee Member
Piercy, Fred P. Committee Member
  • Workforce Development
  • Government Reform
  • NASA
  • Grounded Theory
Date of Defense 2002-06-25
Availability unrestricted
This research study explored the theoretical underpinnings of implementing government reform in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), specifically focusing on a management philosophy called Faster, Better, Cheaper (FBC). It is situated within the broader context of Government reform efforts that attempt to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of government organizations in their delivery of products and services to the public.

This study employed the Grounded Theory qualitative research methodology that concentrates on a central phenomenon and generates a theory from a category or construct-oriented approach. The objective is to generate a substantive-level theory that describes the practice of FBC within NASA and is grounded in the data collected from the organization. The following research questions guided this study:

1. What is the meaning of Faster, Better, Cheaper for Public Professionals in the NASA organizational environment?

2. What are the interrelationships between concepts of faster, better, and cheaper?

3. How does the technical and cultural structure of NASA influence the implementation of Faster, Better, Cheaper?

4. What are the required workforce capabilities to perform Faster, Better, Cheaper in NASA?

The theoretical sample for this study consisted of interviews scheduled with NASA personnel involved in Faster, Better, Cheaper projects. NASA documents and reports were analyzed to saturate the initial 29 provisional categories. A representation of the phenomenon of FBC was developed following the data analysis, including causal conditions, strategies, environmental conditions and context, and consequences. Several findings addressed the meaning of FBC, the interrelationships between the concepts, the impact of organizational infrastructure, and required workforce capabilities. Topics for future research are the nature of risk in public organizations, tools for aligning and measuring public policy alignment and implementation, leadership of public sector teams, and generalizing the findings to other organizations.

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