To meet our objectives, we asked officials at five agencies to identify initiatives they had that empowered or involved employees. From the inventories of the initiatives they developed in response to our request, we asked agency officials to identify those agency components and initiatives that, in their view, had successfully involved and empowered employees. We sought to identify practices that were commonly implemented by the agencies within the past 5 years. In some cases, agencies focused our attention on practices that began earlier.
We interviewed agency executives, managers, supervisors, front-line employees, and union representatives to discuss how agencies had implemented these practices to empower and involve employees, and we analyzed related documents and information they provided. We did not attempt to verify the performance data that agencies provided.
We included FAA in our review because it has certain exemptions from the Federal Acquisition Regulations designed to facilitate delegating procurement authorities to lower levels. We included IRS and OPM in our review, given IRS' exemption from certain title 5 personnel provisions and OPM's human capital leadership role in the federal government. FEMA and VBA were selected because a literature review of relevant articles indicated that front-line employees from those agencies had been empowered or involved in key agency decisions or operations.
Because we were seeking to review initiatives that had successfully empowered and involved employees, we asked headquarters officials to identify organizational components for our review. Our FAA work was concentrated at the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center in Oklahoma City, OK. Our FEMA work was done at the National Security Affairs Office, the Response and Recovery Directorate, and the Operations Support Directorate within FEMA headquarters in Washington, D.C., and at FEMA's U.S. Fire Administration in Emmitsburg, MD. Our work at IRS was done at the Wage and Investment Division in IRS' headquarters in Washington, D.C., and at the Accounts Management, Submissions Processing, and Compliance branches at the Ogden, UT, Service Center. Our OPM work was conducted at its Retirement and Insurance Service locations in Washington, D.C., and Boyers, PA. Our VBA work was conducted at VBA's regional offices in Los Angeles, CA; Muskogee, OK; and Phoenix, AZ. Our selection process was not designed to provide examples that could be considered representative of all the employee empowerment and involvement initiatives at the agencies reviewed or the federal government in general.
We conducted our work from October 2000 through August 2001 in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards.