Manipulating the Machine gets behind some of the closed doors of Whitehall to explain how central government shapes and reshapes its own machinery. It offers practising administrators and students of British government a fresh perspective on the rising and falling fortunes of different departments. It describes the emergence of the giant departments, the often successful rearguard action of the older ministries and all the subtle changes of emphasis and direction from the Macmiilan' administration to the beginning of Thatcher's second term.The author, once a Whitehall administrator himself, bases his interpretation on both documentary study and extensive interviews with many of the prime ministers, ministers and senior officials most directly concerned. He identifies a small elite of 'machinery-of-government decision-makers' and goes on to show how they have been able to preserve and exercise their freedom of action through many changes of political and organizational fashion. The largely ineffectual role of Parliament and pressure groups is analyzed, explained and set in context. Finally, there is a review of the theories both of academics and of practitioners concerning organizational form and its relation to the policy process, and an appraisal of the state of our understanding of the far-reaching consequences of departmental reorganization.In his conclusions Dr Pollitt shows how much uncertainty remains concerning the consequences of reorganization, and how fragile and untested are many of the official claims made for their beneficial effects.