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The Ethics of Dissent
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The Ethics of Dissent
Managing Guerrilla Government

Third Edition


March 2019 | 216 pages | CQ Press

“Rosemary O’Leary’s The Ethics of Dissent offers a novel take on rule breakers and whistle-blowers in the federal government. Finding a book that elegantly interweaves theory, case detail, and practice in a way useful to students and researching proves challenging. O’Leary achieves those aims.”
 —Randall Davis, Southern Illinois University  

From “constructive contributors”" to “deviant destroyers,” government guerrillas work clandestinely against the best wishes of their superiors. These public servants are dissatisfied with the actions of the organizations for which they work, but often choose not to go public with their concerns. In her Third Edition of The Ethics of Dissent, Rosemary O’Leary shows that the majority of guerrilla government cases are the manifestation of inevitable tensions between bureaucracy and democracy, which yield immense ethical and organizational challenges that all public managers must learn to navigate.    

New to the Third Edition:  

  • New examples of guerrilla government showcase the power of public servants as well as their ethical obligations. Key concepts are connected to real examples, such as Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who refused to sign the marriage certificates of gay couples, and Kevin Chmielewski, the deputy chief of staff for operations at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) who led environmental groups to the wrong doings of EPA Administrator Scott Prewitt.  
  • A new section on the creation of “alt” Twitter accounts designed to counter and even sabotage the policies of President Donald Trump highlights the power of social media in guerrilla government activities.  
  • A new section on the U.S. Department of State “dissent channel” provides readers with a positive example of the right way to dissent as a public servant.  
  • A new chapter on Edward Snowden demonstrates the practical relevance and contemporary importance of the world’s largest security breach.  
  • A new profile of U.S. Department of State diplomat Mary A. Wright illustrates how she used her resignation to dissent about U.S. policies in Iraq.
 
Foreword
 
Preface
 
Acknowledgments
 
About the Author
 
PRELUDE
 
Chapter 1 • Guerrilla What?
Bureaucratic Politics

 
Organizations and Management

 
Ethics

 
Looking Ahead

 
 
FIRST INTERLUDE: ROGUE TWITTER ACCOUNTS USED AS TOOLS OF DISSENT AGAINST THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION
Examples of Rogue Twitter Accounts

 
Examples of Dissenting Tweets

 
 
Chapter 2 • Guerrilla Government and the Nevada Wetlands
Making the Deserts Bloom

 
Attack from the Outside

 
Marketing Their Cause

 
National Wetlands Policy

 
A Crisis Emerges

 
Lobbying Strategy

 
Fund-Raising

 
Embarrassing the Government

 
Network Management

 
Risk Taking

 
Scientific Knowledge

 
Downside

 
Epilogue

 
 
SECOND INTERLUDE: MORE STORIES OF GUERRILLA GOVERNMENT
Guerrilla Government in the Medical Field

 
Preventing Guerrilla Government in a National Health Insurance Organization

 
Guerrilla Government in Radar Support

 
Guerrilla Government in Regulation Promulgation

 
 
Chapter 3 • Guerrilla Government in the EPA’s Seattle Regional Office
John Spencer and the Reign of Terror, 1981–1983

 
Ernesta Barnes, 1983–1986: Guerrilla Activity Wanes

 
Robie Russell, 1986–1990: Guerrilla Government Is Triggered Again

 
Epilogue

 
 
THIRD INTERLUDE: CASE STUDIES OF GUERRILLA GOVERNMENT
Guerrilla Government in County Planning

 
Guerrilla Government in the Legal Services Organization

 
Guerrilla Government in Job Corps

 
Guerrilla Government in the Department of Labor

 
 
Chapter 4 • A Government Guerrilla Sues His Own Agency: Off-Road Vehicles in the Hoosier National Forest
Ferguson Decides to Sue the Forest Service

 
Will Ferguson Be Transferred?

 
The ORV Court Case Continues

 
Epilogue

 
 
FOURTH INTERLUDE: MORE STORIES OF GUERRILLA GOVERNMENT
Guerrilla Government in the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency

 
Guerrilla Government in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

 
Guerrilla Government in the Quest to Protect Schoolchildren from Pests and Pesticides

 
Guerrilla Government in the U.S. Army

 
Guerrilla Government in a State Department of Transportation

 
More Guerrilla Government at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

 
 
Chapter 5 • WikiLeaks and Guerrilla Government: The Case of Private Manning
Manning E-Mails Another Hacker

 
Reactions Vary

 
Impact of Leaked Information

 
Charges Are Filed; Manning Pleads Guilty to Ten Counts

 
Epilogue

 
 
FIFTH INTERLUDE: THE “DISSENT CHANNEL”
Excerpts from U.S. Department of State’s Dissent Channel Policy

 
 
Chapter 6 • Edward Snowden and the National Security Agency: The World’s Largest Security Breach
NSA Ramps Up Surveillance

 
Snowden Leaks 1.7 Million Files

 
Reactions to Leaked Information

 
Epilogue

 
 
SIXTH INTERLUDE: RESIGNATION AS DISSENT
Mary A. Wright’s Letter of Dissent

 
 
Chapter 7 • Managing Guerrilla Government: Ethical Crusaders or Insubordinate Renegades?
Harsh Realities of Guerrilla Government

 
Advice from the Pros

 
Conclusion

 
 
POSTLUDE: ARE THERE LESSONS?
In General

 
Chapter 2: Guerrilla Government and the Nevada Wetlands

 
Chapter 3: Guerrilla Government in the EPA’s Seattle Regional Office

 
Chapter 4: A Government Guerrilla Sues His Own Agency

 
Chapter 5: WikiLeaks and Guerrilla Government: The Case of Private Manning

 
Chapter 6: Edward Snowden and the NSA— The World’s Largest Security Breach

 
 
References
 
Index

“At a time of moral and political challenge, this updated classic masterfully examines the existential reality of the lives of public service. Rosemary O’Leary’s elegant and thoughtful prose presents balanced and thorough assessments of six major and myriad shorter cases of officials seeking to work through moral and legal obligations in very difficult circumstances. The book opens a gateway into honest and deep reflection on the multiple obligations committed public officials daily face. The open-ended and multifaceted cases invite hard thought and teaching around the obligations of office and individual integrity; the new cases involving Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning’s leaking of government document troves are exemplars of how to present open cases that generate profound deliberation.”

J. Patrick Dobel
University of Washington

“Rosemary O’Leary’s The Ethics of Dissent offers a novel take on rule breakers and whistle-blowers in the federal government. Finding a book that elegantly interweaves theory, case detail, and practice in a way useful to students and researching proves challenging. O’Leary achieves those aims.”

Randall Davis
Southern Illinois University

“This text is a must-read for all professors and adult learners. I would encourage the inclusion of this book in all administrative programs.”

Charles E. Moreland
Barry University

Sample Materials & Chapters

Ch. 1: Guerrilla What

Ch. 7: Managing Guerrilla Government


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