Thinking Government: Public-Sector Management in Canada


664 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
ISBN 1-55111-319-8
DDC 351.71





Reviewed by Joseph Garcea

Joseph Garcea is a professor of political Studies at the University of


The title of this book contains an interesting double-entendre (which
the author alludes to in the introductory chapter) as to whether we have
government that thinks or whether we should do more thinking about
government. The book addresses both of those matters in that it provides
readers with some important insights into how government is thinking
today and at the same time stimulates our thinking about government.

Johnson deals with issues and options related to the functions that
governments perform, how they perform them, and their level of ethical
conduct and accountability to legislatures and the public. He provides a
detailed analysis of the following aspects of governance, management,
and administration today: the paradoxical love/hate relationship that
citizens have with their government; the ideological perspectives that
are influencing people’s views on what is right and wrong with
government and the means for preserving what is good and improving what
is not; the changing structures and power relations within the federal
government; and the issues and options generated by the application of
organizational theory to government. An array of issues and options
related to financial and personnel management, service delivery,
administrative law, ethics, accountability, and leadership are presented
as well.

This is an interesting and important book. Unfortunately, its somewhat
intimidating length (600-plus pages) means that it will likely not get
the mass readership that parts of it deserve.


Johnson, David., “Thinking Government: Public-Sector Management in Canada,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 14, 2024,