Please pardon our dust! The SEA website and membership database are under construction until mid-May due to some exciting changes that are in progress. Until then, we will not be issuing any new member identification numbers. Please email any membership inquiries to Also, SEA Headquarters has a new address. Going forward, please send all USPS correspondence to 7918 Jones Branch Drive, Suite 300, McLean, VA 22102. We look forward to unveiling a brand new SEA website in mid-May which will greatly enhance your membership experience. Stay tuned and thank you for your patience!

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Confronting the culture of fear in government

It is a common view among observers of the operations of the federal government that agencies are often hobbled by a culture of fear. 

Civil servants are terrified that if they ever make a mistake, the boom will be lowered on them (the words “get fired” are often used), while success doesn’t garner corresponding rewards. In such an environment, even prudent risk-taking is shunned, since taking a risk will sometimes produce failure. The government, and citizens, suffer from the inability to reap the benefits of innovation.

I have sometimes thought that this widespread view to some extent involves government folks being afraid of their own shadows. Government is not exactly known for draconian accountability – people are hardly fired all the time, to put it mildly – and it is legitimate to ask whether there are any significant penalties for failure in government organizations. Having thought about it, though, I have drawn the conclusion that what drives fear is not tangible punishments but rather the dread of being publicly humiliated for being dumb, lazy or venal.

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Article from FCW


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Tags: human resources, civil service reform

Ten Considerations For Civi Service Modernization

Summary: The Senior Executives Association (SEA) and the Hoover Institution hosted three Civil Service Modernization Dialogues in the summer and fall of 2018 that had a goal of developing a consensus around general themes and concepts that a diverse group of organizations could support. Those Dialogues were organized around three general themes:

  • Civil Service Workforce Modernization
  • Civil Service Administrative Modernization
  • Civil Service Regulatory Modernization
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