Public Administration ETDs

Publication Date



The matter of interagency cooperation and coordination among Federal agencies in the field is an important task, assigned to several groups, including Federal Executive Boards (FEBs). This study is directed at the FEB system: a review of their history and development, an inquiry into various obstacles alleged to be limiting their success, and the design of a "blueprint" for action on the part of the Boards. The hypothesis of this study is that effective attainment of the objectives of the FEB system will rest on the ability of the Boards to overcome a number of specific obstacles. These obstacles are related to both the participants in the organization and the organization itself. This study closely examines each of these obstacles and suggests solutions for overcoming them. The methodology consisted of posing questions directly to the participants in the FEB system: Chairmen, members, Executive Assistants, and officials from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). An FEB Opinion Questionnaire was mailed to a sample of FEB members and Chairmen. In addition, extensive interviews and discussions were held with the participants in the system. Access to many documents relating to FEBs and their operation, as well as personal experience in the Board system, was also of benefit. The findings of this study support the hypothesis. Since the sample of participants includes representatives from across the country, the findings may be considered to apply to the entire FEB system. Recommendations include a number of general suggestions for consideration in removing the obstacles, enabling Boards better to accomplish their objectives. A blueprint for FEB action is also included in this study. It is proposed as a means for directing and focusing these interagency mechanisms toward additional worthwhile tasks. The current arrangement of FEBs is intended to facilitate improved coordination among Federal agencies and between the Federal sector and other levels of government, without the creation of an additional bureaucratic layer. The problems inherent in a voluntary organization are evident in the FEB system. A lack of commitment to interagency coordination usually results in little support given to FEBs. Other structural problems also contribute to the Boards' status as potentially powerful, but moderately successful organizations. The creation of Federal Executive Boards by President Kennedy in 1961, and their subsequent reemphasis and support given by Presidents Johnson and Nixon, indicates that support of interagency coordination is bipartisan. The Boards represent an excellent potential for facilitating better communications between Washington and the field and among agencies in the field. They also represent a forum that consists of all Federal executives in a given area that can provide a coordinated response to the President's call for action. They facilitate these actions without the additional expenditure of significant amounts of funds. As the obstacles that limit their success are discovered and removed, this study suggests that they will contribute measurably toward a more effective and responsive government.

Degree Name

Public Administration

Level of Degree


Department Name

School of Public Administration

First Committee Member (Chair)

Donald Winston Smithburg

Second Committee Member

Edwin F. Connerley

Third Committee Member

Albert H. Rosenthal



Document Type