Skip to main content

Orienting (Operational Skill)

Go Search
New Atlas
Atlas, A-Z
Atlas Maps
MPP/MPA Programs
Core Topics
Illustrative Courses
Topic Encyclopedia
Concept Dictionary
Career Tips
Best Practices Project

PPGPortal > Home > Concept Dictionary > N, O > Orienting (Operational Skill)

Orienting (Operational Skill)  

Orienting is the matter of locating oneself in a specific professional setting in relation to formal and informal structures of an organization.

(Richard E. Neustadt. “Operational Skills: A memorandum to students at JFK Kennedy School of Government.” 1971.)


“Orienting” was identified by Richard Neustadt as an “operational skill” that public servants must develop in order to be effective professionals. Neustadt describes Orienting as:.

“[The] matter of locating yourself, on the job, in relation to the “organization chart” formal and informal, the distribution of authority and influence (and over what), the twists and turns of action-channels (and for what), the operating styles of your associates, the network of their interpersonal relations, the expectations centering upon your job and you (if any) – all as relevant to your responsibilities, objectives and pet projects, in whatever detail these warrant.”


Important Notices
© University of Toronto 2008
School of Public Policy and Governance