Presidents, Chiefs of Staff, and White House Organizational Behavior: Survey Evidence from the Reagan and Bush Administrations



    1. Assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Akron. His research on executive politics has been published in American Politics Quarterly, Congress & the Presidency, Presidential Studies Quarterly, and Southeastern Political Review. His primary areas of interest are executive politics, Congress, and U.S. foreign policy making.
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    1. Associate professor of political science in the Department of Government and International Studies at the University of South Carolina. He is the author of A Two-Way Street: The Institutional Dynamics of the Modern Administrative State (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1999) and of articles in journals including the American Journal of Political Science, the Journal of Politics, the British Journal of Political Science, Political Analysis, Public Choice, and Legislative Studies Quarterly.
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  • AUTHORS' NOTE: Equal authorship. The authors' names are listed in alphabetical order. We thank George Edwards and Brad Gomez for their many helpful comments on an earlier version of this article. All statistical analysis was performed using EVIEWS (version 3.1).


The authors set forth a behavioral model of the White Home's organizational structure by taking into account the management styles employed by both the president and chiefs of staff, as well as how well they work together. Using survey data drawn from both Reagan and Bush administration elites, the statistical results show that these factors are important in explaining the White House's organizational structure. The authors also obtain evidence that presidential management style's effect on White House organizational structure does vary across the Reagan and Bush presidencies, but not within each administration across different chiefs of staff. Although chiefs of staff have their own unique way in shaping the organizational structure of the White House, it fails to translate into altering the effect of presidential management style on the White House's organizational structure.