Good Essay On Evaluation Of CIA Through Seven Schools Of Administration

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Politics, Intelligence, Workplace, Policy, Organization, Decision, Human Resource Management, Government

Pages: 7

Words: 1925

Published: 2020/11/08

Introduction of agency

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is the foremost organization that counters terrorism, gathers intelligence with global impact and functions independent of the civilian Government that funds it. The CIA masterminds some of history’s most impactful operations; taking down ruthless dictators, fascist governments and international terrorists. All the goals of the CIA revolve around the common objective to keep the US’s interests secure.

Reason for Selection

The CIA is a genuine public organization that employs over 20,000 Americans and several hundred covert operatives overseas. It also receives its share of criticism in handling assassinations, involuntary experiments, torture-laced interrogations and nurture of militants who eventually kill non-combatant civilians; for example the Taliban in Afghanistan. This organization, with its highs and lows provides ample opportunity and the availability of operational source that allow the seven school methodology to be embodied.

Evaluation of the CIA through Severn Schools of Administration

1. Formalism

Pyramid Structure of the CIA

The CIA has state level offices that are headed by an Executive office. The CIA also operates under four directorates; Directorate of Intelligence, National Clandestine Service, Directorate of Support and the Directorate of Science and Technology.
Apart from these four main directorates, there are other departments including Human resources, General Counsel, Public affairs, Congressional affairs, Military affairs and the office of the Inspector General.

Finance and Budgeting

The CIA’s actual fiscal budget for 2014-15 is classified. However, the budget for the preceding year was $14 billion. In its entirety, this is almost twice the budget of the NSA (National Security Agency).
(, “Program and Budget”)
HUMINT is the acronym for Human Intelligence. SIGINT is the acronym for Signal Intelligence.
The Central Intelligence Agency has clearly defined goals, a hierarchy of roles that specialize in the gathering and interpretation of intelligence, direction from the US president and a progressive vision. It is the largest and most sophisticated civilian intelligence gathering agency in the world.

Line and staff conflict

The CIA has a variety of services in different streams of intelligence gathering such as Signal Intelligence, Human Intelligence, Covert Ops, Special operations and Political Action. These departments not only contribute to the intelligence gathering capabilities, they also cause line and staff conflict in the CIA. Public Affairs and human resources often clash with the line divisions over equal employment opportunity and selection of recruits. These conflicts often result in hostility between line department supervisors and staff administration. Moreover the independence the CIA has from the direct intervention of the government in its activities aggravates an already fragile and pressure ridden agency. The line operatives are known to ignore complaints raised against them by staff.
Two administrative departments that manage the day-to-day routines of the CIA are the Department of Support and Human resources. These departments are collectively responsible for enforcing labor laws, sexual harassment policies, equal opportunity employment practices and providing logistical support to running daily operations smoothly.
The CIA is no different to organizations even in following formal bureaucracies. Although it is funded by an elected civilian government, it is operated independently within the confines of National Intelligence. This permits the agency to indulge in a bureaucratized decision making process that is both unique and controversial.
According to Leonard D. White, process of change and adaptation is often characterized by excesses, failure, false starts, and confusion of objectives. Hence, there is an absolute need for a structured organization (White 406).

Organizational Structure of the CIA

2. Managerial Ideology
The CIA strives for the highest levels of integrity and performance from all its operatives; be it the analysts of the Clandestine Service or the recruiters of Human Resources. They have very rigid policies that facilitate for overseeing supervisors to implement performance enhancement training through motivation, training and coordination. According to Max Weber, an organization that strived on these aspects of performance enhancement form a dominant force due to its reliance on commitment of its staff to achieve goals effectively. Weber also predicts that such organization will control significant power in the society (Weber 81, 60, 327). The CIA is structured based on Luther Gulick and Lyndall Urwick’s paper on administrative management theory. The process is known as “POSDCORB”; Acronym for Planning, Organizing, Staffing, Directing, Co-Ordinating, Reporting and Budgeting (Gulick and Urwick 8).

The organization is Type X

All the points for the CIA focus on Theory X predominantly. Unlike a private organization, the CIA decrees its own policies; hence, the workforce could lose motivation unless they have a genuine zeal for their work. The authority of the CIA is centralized and there is little room for innovation by staff members. It is the primary intelligence gathering agency and hence, there is very little room available for a relaxed work atmosphere.
Although there is a certain aspect of power that appeals to the workforce, a majority of them have to be motivated through rewards, recognitions and promotions.
The reason why the CIA leans towards Theory X in general is due to its controversial decision making. For example, a covert ops agent might have difficulty shielding a known militant leader from the possibility of assassination owing to some of the militant group’s activities. Since the CIA has been known for creating, aiding and reaping negative consequences of such activities more than once, the morale is expected to be low for veteran operatives. However, the morale of new recruits would be high due to the sheer excitement to be on the rolls of the coveted agency.

My Preference

A careful balance between Theories X and Y would be my preference. Although Theory Y promotes a healthy work atmosphere that is both relaxing and effective; the CIA is an intelligence agency. Irrespective of the happy workplace principles, any slip up on the CIA’s part can result in catastrophes on a global scale.


The CIA bestows rewards, promotions and recognitions on its employees for their distinguished performance. Unlike other high profile government agencies, the CIA is controlled by civilians. Hence there is always room for a bit of excitement and team enhancement activities; also the prides of working in the CIA are motivational factors.


The sharing an analyzing of signals, ciphers and codes at the CIA provide the United States of America to protect her interests both in the domestic and foreign arena. In addition, support teams that provide logistic and infrastructural assistance are important factors that allow line departments to focus on the core work on and off shore.
3. Decision making
All decision making is based on the analysis by Graham Allison on the Cuba missile crisis. The decision making within the CIA is complex and requires levels of approval. The final approval needs to come from the US congress. Although the CIA is independent of demands by the US Congress, it is still funded under the blanket of the defense budget. Hence, certain special missions such as the takedown of Osama Bin Laden required approval from the White House.

Micro level decision-making

The decision-making process followed at a staff department’s level adheres to the Carnegie’s model of decision-making; members of the staff do not have authority to make decisions that affect the progressive improvement of the agency’s methods or its political image (Carnegie Decision Model, 2009). The individual directors heading each directorate make the decisions at the observation that operational decisions cannot be made at lower levels of the agency. Unit supervisors have limited decision making authority however this is subject to adherence of the structures raised around the mission/operational role.

Macro level decision-making

The Lindblom model of decision-making is working in the company at the macro level. The group of elite people for holding the higher position, such as for the position of CEO, is struggling very hard, which generate competence among them results in the company’s development. In addition, the directors of the company approve all decision. The monarchy of the owner is obvious.

Example of “a-rational” decision making

The decisions made by the CIA have the potential to either prevent or cause global catastrophe. Moreover, any intelligence report is screened by multiple layers of analysts and is subject to thorough scrutiny for loopholes. They are also tested for possible outcomes before there is a decision on whether or not to act upon it.
4. Social systems

Dynamics, behavior, and process

Mary Parker Follett states that centripetal self-developing is equivalent of power in social organizations. The CIA derives its vital intelligence from sources imbedded within social systems. The CIA has in its employment a multiracial, multilingual and multicultural workforce. This social grouping is essential to the smooth operations of the CIA’s work towards achieving its goals (Follett 193). The CIA implements a diverse workforce to counter any anti-covert operation and effectively overcoming cultural barriers.

How the organization is like small town

The support and human resource teams provide supply chain, medical assistance, financial stability, facilities, security and adequate staffing (, “Support to Mission” and “Human Resource”). The science and technology department looks at simplifying existing tasks and research the possibility of upgrading capabilities at all times. This is similar to a sheriff’s department that modernizes its force to prevent crime. The Clandestine Service deploys informants who provide valuable information that ultimately culminate into major government policy shifts or direct action. All these departments form the branches of a larger purpose and coordinated by a Director (like a mayor in a small town). The group dynamics of these departments translates into the organizational success of the CIA.
5. Political


The control of the CIA rests with the Director of National Intelligence. The directors of each directorate also hold decision making authority within the confines of set protocols. Any decision that threatens the integrity of the protocols or core goals of the CIA would require approval from the Director of National Intelligence who has the option to present the case before the Congress and the US President. However the CIA has been known for running operations without any Congressional or Presidential approvals.

Insecurity of Bureaucracy

In the book, Double Down: Game Change, Mark Halperin analyzes the misinterpretation of policy that resulted in the humiliating exit of Sarah Palin from the presidency race. There is probably no organization in the United States which is more politically operated than the CIA despite its totalitarian independence off the nation’s policy makers. In any organization, achieving certain goals require likeminded individuals. Similarly, the leadership of the CIA has politically inclined grouping; especially when running covert operations. This is another piece in the morale puzzle. Morale conflicts directly when there are politically motivated promotions or transfers. Moreover, the autonomous privileges enjoyed by the CIA allow an unprecedentedly long leash without repercussions for overseers.

How the organization is a political institution externally?

The CIA also serves in foreign missions and with foreign intelligence agencies. The relationships built through these circles are mandated by policies. Moreover, agents with politically sound proficiency would be preferred over otherwise eligible candidates for overseas duties. These agents operate on foreign soil under the guise of providing logistic support to mission offices. Their primary role is to ascertain the political climate of the country and take necessary action to protect the interests of the US and the CIA.

How the organization is a political institution internally?

Bureaucratic dominance is prominent in the CIA. Although it is a civilian agency, following orders with precision determines the rate of success in operations. Hence, the CIA operates its staff and line operatives on a need-to-know basis.
6. Policy Studies
Federal government policies are changed without warning. Subsequently, policies are amended systematically at the CIA. These changes arise due to political shifts both domestic and foreign. These decisions are constituted by the analysis conducted by Bryan D. Jones on Policy Dynamics. Jones was influential in ironing out the inconsistencies in policy making.
However, every change is examined for any negative impacts according to Theodore J. Lowi. For example, the militants groomed in Afghanistan during the Soviet Union’s invasion of the country in the early 1970s returned as the Taliban which was eventually fought by the United States after 9/11. This is a time consuming exercise however, there are always lives at stake if the policy change has adverse effects.

Negative Externalities and Sub-Optimization.

The negative externalities are nothing new for the CIA. A majority of the operations during the 1950s to the early 1970s when Richard Nixon became the President of the United States ended up as negative externalities. The most prominent are the Vietnam War, Invasion of the Bay of Pigs, Overthrowing of the Iranian Government and the Cuban missile crisis.

Different steps of policy making through Intelligence processing

All intelligence requirements of the CIA’s consumers; which include US defense forces, Foreign Governments, US Federal and State Governments, Federal agencies such as the FBI and NASA. The following diagram describes the process for intelligence analysis in the CIA.
The CIA’s successful intelligence processing efforts often result in policy changes as per the potency of the intelligence report prepared. Once the product is delivered, the following steps are taken up towards amending policies.

Policy Review

Recommended changes discussed with Congress, Joint Chiefs of Staff and President.
Formulating the policy.
Tabling the policy.
Receiving approval of Congress and implementation.
How are different kinds of policies handled differently?
The CIA holds policies towards each of its directorates and additionally for support units such as Mission support and Human Resources. Human Resources have employment, attrition, performance enhancement, sexual harassment, equal opportunity and other intrinsic policies that are common place in an organization.
7. Comparative/contextual/environmental school

Organizational Culture

The organizational culture is unique for the CIA. It is most likely the only organization that is run by a civilian administration and yet bureaucratically intrinsic. Its workforce is diverse and even accommodates non-US citizens into service. It is predominantly process and policy driven however, deviations have been tolerated either to solve or cover up important shifts in the nation’s policy.

Challenge of changes

John M. Gaus intrinsic work on modulating the forceful shocks of change in contemporary life paved the way to emulate the general environment for administrators. The CIA in its entirety is almost a semi-private agency. However private contractors have been deployed by the CIA for intelligence gathering and providing logistical support. This allows a unique opportunity to take a comparison between the two. Private contractors hired by the CIA especially during the Iraq War in the mid to late 2000s were better paid, better equipped and enjoyed better benefits while compared to their CIA counterparts. The CIA with all its independence is still a government funded non-profit organization. However, private contractors are profit oriented organizations. Moreover, private contractors are bound by employment and labor laws stringently. They prove to be superior as in the case with comparisons for all social and private organizations.


The CIA was examined through the eyes of the Seven School principle. The CIA is the country’s only civilian intelligence gathering agency. Although it is funded by the Federal government, it scarcely respects the latter’s authority even in critical junctures. The workforce of the CIA is largely based out of the United States and comprises of a diverse people. It should utilize technology that is available either on its facilities or other agencies and reduce the negative externalities. There should also be an internal movement plan that encourages employees from staff to actively participate in the agency’s growth and development.
The outcome recommends additional employee centric programs that allow opportunity for uplifting morale and conforming to existing laws. Moreover, the government should exert more control over the premier intelligence agency.


Follett, Mary P. Creative Experience. Bristol, U.K.: Thoemmes. [1924] 2001. Print.
Weber, Max. Political Writings. Cambridge University Press, 1994.
Allison, Graham and Zelikow, Phillip. Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis. 2ed. Longman.1999.
Lowi, Theodore J. American Government: Incomplete Conquest. New York Press.1981.
Jones, Bryan D. Agendas and instability in American politics. University of Chicago Press. 2010.
Gaus, John M.. The Ecology of Public Administration. University of Alabama Press. 1947.
Gulick, Luther and Urwick, Lyndall. Administrative management theory. 1937.
White, Leonard D. The Republican Era, 1869-1901: A Study in Administrative History. MacMillan. 1958.
Carnegie Decision Model. 2009. Web. 11 Feb 2015. Retrieved from
Lindblom, Charles E. Still muddling, not yet through "Public Administration Review", 1979.pp. 517–526
CIA. Leadership. 2015. Web. 6 Feb 2015. Retrieved from
Halperin, Mark and Heilemann, John. Double Down: Game Change 2012. Penguin Press.

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