The Global Public Service: Taking on the Challenges of the 21st Century

13 Pages Posted: 29 Aug 2008 Last revised: 26 Jun 2009

Date Written: August 18, 2008


This paper's first goal is to evaluate the evolution and state of scholarship in public administration. It begins with a question: How far have public administration theory and research advanced since 1940, when the self-aware study of public administration, as a field if not a discipline, took root in the United States? This paper argues that scholars of public administration in the U.S. and abroad continuously advance the scientific rigor of research and are cognizant of the real-world challenges faced by policymakers and public servants of all sorts. Nonetheless, it is further argued, there remains room for improving our scientific understanding of the public service in the twenty-first century. Turning to practice, the second section identifies how we might better link our scientific findings to the lessons we provide in the classroom. Finally, the paper concludes with a discussion on preparing the public service of the twenty-first century and beyond to manage some of the considerable challenges it will encounter.

Keywords: public administration, public management, public service, future, history, scholarship, theory, training

JEL Classification: D73, H10, H11, H77, L30, L31, L32, L33, N40

Suggested Citation

Smith, Daniel L., The Global Public Service: Taking on the Challenges of the 21st Century (August 18, 2008). Available at SSRN: or

Daniel L. Smith (Contact Author)

New York University ( email )

The Puck Building
295 Lafayette Street, Second Floor
New York, NY 10012
United States
212-998-7400 (Phone)


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