Through the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA), Congress has sought to improve federal management and instill a greater focus on results. Congress and the executive branch recognize, however, that performance improvements do not take place merely because a set of management requirements has been put in place. In 1997 and 2000, GAO surveyed agencies' progress towards establishing a focus on results. GAO found that progress has been uneven in building the organizational cultures to create and sustain a focus on results governmentwide. A significantly higher percentage of managers in 2000 than in 1997 reported that their agencies had provided, arranged, or paid for training that would help them accomplish two results-oriented management-related tasks: setting performance goals and implementing the requirements of GPRA. Overall, the survey results show that, in some keys areas, agencies may be losing ground in their efforts towards building organizational cultures that support a focus on results. In GAO's view, the Senate confirmation process must ensure that political nominees have the appropriate management and leadership skills needed to continue to transform federal agencies into high-performing organizations.
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