This article examines analytical and historical relationships between the topics of state capacity building and public management policy change. It does so by presenting an instrumental case study of Brazil in Action, a program that became the hallmark of the first presidential term of Fernando Henrique Cardoso. The development of the program is explained on the basis of institutional processual meta-theories of policy and organizational change. The operation of the program is considered in terms of the clinical analysis of organizational practices. Implications for research on innovative administrative practice, public management policy change, and state capacity building are considered
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