Public Administration in Dark Times: Some Questions for the Future of the Field
Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Vol. 21, pp. 29-43, 2011
Posted: 11 Dec 2012
Date Written: 2011
This essay identiﬁes two problems that impede the ability of public administration to govern effectively in dark times. First, public administration has failed to adequately acknowledge itself as an arbiter of political conﬂict and as a discipline responsible for shaping societal affairs. Second, the ﬁeld is entrenched in a bureaucratic pathology that limits its capacity to address complex policy problems. We argue that these issues show a clear need for the reinvigoration of democratic ethos as the foundation for public administration. Building on the ideas of some Minnowbrook III working groups, we pose questions to help begin discussions about both democratic ethos and the ability of public administration to govern in dark times.
Keywords: public management, bureaucracy and democracy, dark times, Minnowbrook
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