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Rethinking The Identity Of Public Administration

1168 words - 5 pages

RETHINKING THE IDENTITY OF
PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION:
INTERDISCIPLINARY REFLECTIONS

The world of government and public administration has traveled far since the early days of its struggle for disciplinary independence. Lately, there has been talk of the advent of a new spirit in the public sector, or at least expectations of its coming. Some say that such a spirit is already here. Others aver we are witnessing only the tip of change. The world wide globalization process supported by stronger orientations towards open markets, open highways of information, growing levels of organizational learning and interdisciplinarity in the social sciences have also made their impact on the study of our ...view middle of the document...

How many governments’ actions been improved? How many public administration’s services been revitalized? Can bureaucracies respond to challenges and changes ahead, and with what tools? What is the impact of a high-technology environment on our public agencies? How may the (im)possible goal of effective integration between citizens and governments in an ultra-dynamic society be reached? What are the implications of such transitions on democratic governments, their stability, and legitimization in the eyes of citizens? These questions, as well as others, are among the core issues of this book, which tries to provide a critical analysis of a field in transition. We expect that such an analysis will show the way forward for public administration and will stimulate new viable thinking that may lead to change in the old type of bureaucracies.

The central assumption of this book is that slowly and gradually, but constantly and extensively, a change is being nurtured in public systems and in the attitudes of public managers, politicians, and citizens to the conservative role of public institutions. These transformations carry many challenges, as well as risks, that citizens, governments, an administrator of the future will have to confront and address. They all represent new alternatives for the evolvement of public administration as an art, perhaps also as a science and as a profession (Lynn, 1996). The present volume, which is part of a long-standing series on Public Administration and Public Policy (edited by Professor Jack Rabin, University of Pennsylvania) published by Marcel Dekker offers comprehensive interdisciplinary reading for scholars, students, and practitioners in the field. It combines theoretical, empirical, and comparative critical essays from a variety of disciplines, all focused on exploration of fresh directions for such an evolution. Our mission, as stemming from such a perspective, is to understand better the changes ahead, which have the potential of building bridges into the future of modern democracies.

During the last century modern societies accomplished remarkable achievements in different fields, many of them thanks to an advanced public sector. At the dawn of the new millennium, however, various new social problems still await the consideration and attention of the state and its administrative system. To overcome these problems and create effective remedies for the new type of state ills there is a need to increase cooperation and collaboration and to share information and knowledge. An interdisciplinary critical perspective on the state of contemporary public administration, as adopted here, is essential. It suggests a multi-level, multi-method, and multi-system analysis of current developments with a look to the future. Leading and long-influential experts, as well...

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