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Rethinking the Identity of Public Administration: Interdisciplinary Reflections and Thoughts on Managerial Reconstruction

PAM, Vol. 8 No. 1, (2003)

Public administration is in a state of identity distress. Whereas for many years the
questions of politics and policy were those which unconditionally ruled the discipline, at
present public administration as a science, art, and profession is undergoing far-reaching
transformations. Two major forces of rectification have increasingly augmented the
conservative ones to create a more interdisciplinary orientation of the field. These are
cultural and social inputs and organizational, managerial, and economical influences.
This merger began many years ago, but only recently has it attained sufficient critical
mass to direct the public sector through various necessary changes. This paper
accordingly suggests a revision of the evolution of public administration in the modern
era, and argues that interdisciplinary reflections may be beneficial for the healthy
development of the field in the years to come. Based on relevant literature the paper
explains how a multi-level, multi-method, and multi-system approach may revitalize our
understanding of a scholarly domain that is currently in a state of some perplexity and in
search of the way forward

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