Within These Walls: A Study of Communication Between Presidents and Their Senior Staffs

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Filling a crucial gap in research on the presidency and presidential communication, Within These Walls goes beyond the study of presidential speeches and examines the organizational structure, systems of information flow, and communication styles in the administrations of Franklin Roosevelt through Ronald Reagan. Focusing principally on the post-Watergate presidents, this book illustrates that a primary dimension of presidential communication is not that which is spoken during public addresses but that which takes place between the chief executive and his senior staff. Patricia Witherspoon's exhaustive research includes archival material from the Ford and Carter presidential libraries as well as information obtained from interviews with President Ford and several former senior aides in the Ford, Carter, and Reagan White Houses. Applying organizational theory to her study of the modern presidency, Witherspoon reveals that the White House, as we know it today, began its evolution into a modern organization during the FDR administration. It shares a variety of characteristics common to other organizations, including formal and emergent structures, formal and informal systems of information flow, and decision-making processes and managerial and communication styles selected and/or assumed by the organizational leader (the president). Students and scholars of political communication, political science, history, management and public policy, or any informed reader concerned with the modern presidency will find Within These Walls a source of valuable insight.