Bridging Levels of Public Administration: How Macro Shapes Meso and Micro
Roberts, Alasdair (2020). Bridging Levels of Public Administration: How Macro Shapes Meso and Micro. Administration & Society 52(4): 631-656.
41 Pages Posted: 18 Dec 2018 Last revised: 17 Mar 2020
Date Written: July 12, 2019
Scholars in public administration now recognize three levels of analysis: macro, meso and micro. But there is uncertainty about the relationship between levels and concern about a "schism" in research. However, linkages between levels can be demonstrated easily. At the macro-level, leaders develop an overall strategy for pursuing national priorities, which determines the broad architecture of the state. Institutions must be built, renovated or managed to give effect to these strategies: this is the meso-level of public administration. Overall strategies also shape the micro-level relationship between people who rule and people who are ruled. This is done by categorizing people -- as subjects or citizens, for example -- and by redefining categories. Macro-level strategies evolve, with consequences for the agenda at the meso- and micro-levels. Experience at lower levels also shapes strategy at the macro-level. The interaction among levels is illustrated by comparison of three eras in modern American history.
Keywords: public administration, levels of analysis, administrative history, behavioral public administration
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