Teodoro explains the systems that foster or frustrate entrepreneurship among public executives. Through case studies and quantitative analysis of original data, he shows how psychological motives and career opportunities shape administrators’ decisions, and he reveals the consequences these choices have for innovation and democratic governance. Tracing the career paths and political behavior of agency executives, Teodoro finds that, when advancement involves moving across agencies, ambitious bureaucrats have strong incentives for entrepreneurship. Where career advancement occurs vertically within a single organization, ambitious bureaucrats have less incentive for innovation, but perhaps greater accountability.

  Herbert A. Simon Book Award, American Political Science Association

  Public Administration Research Best Book Award, American Society for Public Administration

Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011

david la france, american water works association

To better understand how innovative leaders come to power and why utilities select their leaders, you must read Bureaucratic Ambition by Manuel Teodoro. Teodoro explores what motivates water utility general managers to be innovative and which utility-business environments allow innovation to be successful. His research has far-reaching implications and provides important new insights for job seekers and employers alike.

Teodoro offers a whole new way of thinking about the motivations of policy entrepreneurs, tying the  urge to innovate with career ambition.

michael mintrom

monash university

robert maranto, university of arkansas

Teodoro uses sensible theorizing, compelling case studies, and unique data to show that two masters—current employers and future employers—influence how and whether administrators innovate. Bureaucratic Ambition is among the most important books on bureaucracy in recent years.

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