The quality movement that transformed American businesses in the past two decades did not completely bypass government. Pockets of excellence appeared in nearly every agency, inspired by visionary civil servants. The Federal Quality Institute was created to promote the principles of quality management.
A great contest began: On one side were those who espouse the benefits of central planning and control, economies of scale, uniformity, and stability. On the other were the advocates of competition, of enthusiasm, of the mental prowess of the laborer, of the powerof freedom and incentives. In simpler terms, on one side were those who were trying to make sure nothing ever went wrong; on the other, those who were trying to get things done.