What are the apparent research and methodological trends in PAR’s content over the past decade? From the perspective of the journal’s 70‐year history, with its aim to “mesh” practitioner and academic knowledge creation, topical coverage since 2000 reflects striking continuity, emphasizing many of the “bread and butter” administrative issues such as planning, human resources, budgeting, and public management. A marked increase in coverage is apparent in the application of more sophisticated quantitative statistical methodology, as well as in the number of female authors, while the number of practitioner authors declined sharply. Throughout the first turbulent decade of the twenty‐first century, three intellectual themes stood out: evaluations of New Public Management, connections between practitioners and academicians, and responsiveness to immediate social, economic, and political challenges. Given the constant demand for usable knowledge, scholars seem to have marginalized attention to the historical context and epistemological foundations of the study. The central challenge in the years ahead will be to effectively use research methods in response to the big questions of government and society that defy measurement.
Since many [empiricists], especially the younger, do not know very much about epistemology, they tend to be quite dogmatic about the one set of canons that dominate them.
—C. Wright Mills, 1959
In this article a conceptual map of the identity of the study of public administration is developed that encompasses its theoretical diversity and richness. It organizes public administration scholarship into four main intellectual traditions: practical wisdom, practical experience, scientific knowledge and relativist perspectives. The objective is to outline the study’s fundamental heterodoxy and interdisciplinarity. While the study clearly has strong national components everywhere, the four main intellectual traditions go across and beyond national traditions of government and of its study.
What should be done to advance the study of public administration? A strong argument is advanced by outgoing PAR managing editor Jos C. N. Raadschelders that the fi eld benefi ts signifi cantly from greater attention to ontology and epistemology. To be sure, empirical, evidence-based research has its place, but its basis and the meaning of fi ndings seldom are questioned. Why? Many public administration scholars seek "scientifi cness" through a disciplinary type of methodology. However, working within an inherently interdisciplinary fi eld, public administration scholars cannot reduce the complex, wicked problems of society and government to mere empirical measurement. Th e author lays out fi ve critical challenges confronting today's public administration-both its study and research-requiring the fi eld's urgent attention in order to meet the comprehensive and rapidly expanding needs of specialists and generalists, practitioners and academicians, as well as the general public.Education has two purposes: on the one hand to form the mind, on the other to train the citizen. Th e Athenians concentrated on the former, the Spartans on the latter. Th e Spartans won, but the Athenians were remembered. -Bertrand Russell, Th e Scientifi c Outlook, 1931 [Th e] materialistic basis [of science] has directed attention to things as opposed to values. -Alfred North Whitehead, Science and the Modern World, 1925
Political‐administrative relations became an issue once politicians and administrators came to be considered as distinct actors in the public realm. This happened in the late eighteenth century, and several authors since then explored the nature of this relationship in normative and/or juridical terms. But it took almost two centuries before it became an object of systematic empirical study in a comparative perspective: Aberbach, Putnam, and Rockman (APR 1981). The APR study was the first to use survey methods and to advance empirically based theory. In this article we discuss the intellectual attention for this topic since the early nineteenth century, APR's findings and impact and—given APR's influence upon methods—some intriguing problems with the framework that they developed. Finally we list some potential new avenues of research.
The study of public administration in the United States is large in terms of the number of academic programmes, the range of journal publications, and the number of scholars. Its scholarship attracts attention from all over the globe. At the same time it is a public administration that is clearly embedded in a specific national culture, just as anywhere else. Three of the main challenges include the strong increase of quantitative‐statistical methods, the decline of practitioner authors, and substantive specialization to the extent that generalists' perspectives are losing ground.
Although certainly not mainstream to the study of public administration, administrative history in the United States has quite a tradition. In this article, the development of the study of the history of American government is traced in five phases and discussed against the background of political and social change in society. The various studies are evaluated in terms of the themes, the nature, and the approach. Combining the “history as history” and the “history as advocacy” approaches would clarify why administrative history ought to be a standard element in our research and teaching.
This article examines the influence of empowering leadership practices on police officers' job performance, perceptions of managerial effectiveness, and unit performance. These relationships are examined using multisource survey data collected from 100 law enforcement managers, 446 of their subordinates, and 98 of their direct supervisors. The analysis shows that empowering leadership contributes positively to subordinate officers' job performance and unit effectiveness. Empowering leadership is also positively associated with subordinate but not with supervisor ratings of managerial effectiveness. Task‐oriented leadership, however, is positively associated with both subordinate and supervisor ratings of managerial effectiveness. Implications of these results for managerial leadership in law enforcement organizations are discussed.
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