David H. Rosenbloom

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David H. Rosenbloom (born 1943) is a well-known scholar in the field of Public Administration. He is the Distinguished Professor of Public Administration at the School of Public Affairs at American University in Washington, DC, and is currently servng as Chair Professor of Public Management, City University of Hong Kong.[1] A noted authority on issues related to administrative law and public sector personnel policies, Rosenbloom is widely known for his approach to the field which stresses understanding American public administration from three perspectives mirroring the constitutional separation of powers: law, politics and management. In pursuit of that view, he has become a leading advocate for establishing "constitutional competence" as a basic standard for public service professionals.


Rosenbloom earned a BA in Political Science at Marietta College in 1964. He holds a Master of Arts (1966) and in PhD (1969) in political science, both at the University of Chicago. His master’s thesis was titled “Individual Liberty versus National Security: A Critical Analysis of the Opinions of Judges E. Barrett Prettyman and Henry W. Edgerton on the Loyalty Program for Federal Civil Servants.” His Ph.D dissertation, "The Relationship Between the Citizen and the State In Public Employment in America,” was the basis for his first book, Federal Service and the Constitution: The Development of the Public Employment Relationship (1971). He received an honorary doctorate of law in 1994, also from Marietta College.


Rosenbloom has served as an assistant professor in Political Science at the University of Kansas from 1970 to 1971. From 1971 to 1973, he visited Tel Aviv University, where he guest lectured in the field of Political Science. From 1973 to 1978, he was an associate professor of Political Science at the University of Vermont. From 1978 to 1990, he attended The Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, where he held a number of titles. He was Professor of Public Administration from 1979 to 1988. Additionally, he was appointed as Professor of Political Science from 1987 to 1990. He was also an adjunct professor of Law from 1985 to 1989. Lastly at the Maxwell School, he was Distinguished Professor of Public Administration from 1988 to 1990. Presently, in addition to being a Distinguished Professor at American University, he is the Chair Professor of Public Management in the Department of Public and Social Administration, at the City University of Hong Kong (visiting).


David H. Rosenbloom is perhaps best known for coming up with three approaches that define the American foundation of Public Administration: the managerial, political, and legal.

  • Managerial- The Managerial foundation is used to manage the performance of organizations so that they will be successful. Key areas include administrative decision-making, managerial techniques, leaders, and employee contributions. By these elements working together, organizations are able to operate successfully.
  • Political- The Political approach discusses how the political officials oversee the different administrative decisions. Politicians have the final say on the laws that public administrators are tasked with executing. Within Rosenbloom’s editorial "Have an Administrative Rx? Don't Forget the Politics!" he writes about the Politics/Administration Dichotomy - a principle stating that politics and administration should remain separate in the public sector which was developed by the Civil Service Reforms of the 1870s and the 1880s. According to this article, the idea that public administration can be separated from politics is strange. He believes that if politics and public administration were separate, this approach would not work, emphasizing their inevitable interconnection.
  • Legal- The Legal approach was, according to Rosenbloom, the most crucial. The Rule of Law involves orderliness, comprehension, and spells out when and how tasks will be completed. Rosenbloom argues that in order to carry out their tasks, public administrators must be competent in their legal and constitutional obligations and restrictions.

Rosenbloom’s argument is that to understand public administration, it is not sufficient enough to use just one of the approaches, but to think of all three at the same time. Rosenbloom documents that in 1946, by making major reforms, Congress became the central authority in how public administration operated in the federal government, incorporating all three approaches. Rosenbloom argues that public administration at other levels should operate in the same way.


  • Stream Leader, Public Policy and Management, Department of Public and Social Administration, City University of Hong Kong, 2009–2010.
  • He was the acting chair of the Department of Public Administration and Policy at American University from 2005 to 2006.
  • He was the chair of the American University Faculty Senate, from 2004 to 2005.
  • He was on the board of trustees at Marietta College from 2003 to 2009, and was a life associate Trustee in 2009.
  • He has been a member of the Academic Advisory Board of Partnership for Public Service since 2003.
  • He was a member of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Graduate Scholarship Program Review Panel from 2003 to 2008.
  • He was an Appointed Member of the Clinton-Gore Transition U.S. Presidential Transition, from 1992 to 1993.
  • He received a fellow from the Government Operations Cluster for U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
  • He was elected to the National Academy of Public Administration in 1986.

Awards and honors[edit]

Rosenbloom has been the recipient of many awards during his career. In 2009, he earned the Scholarship in Public Sector Human Resources, Section on Personnel Administration and Labor Relations, from the American Society for Public Administration.

In 2008, he received the Mosher Award for Best Article by an Academician, which is in the Public Administration Review for "Reinventing Administrative Prescriptions: The Case for Democratic-Constitutional Impact Statements and Scorecards.”

In 2007, he was Visiting Professor at the Department of Public and Social Administration at the City University of Hong Kong from June–July. Also during this year, he was listed in Who's Who in American Education, 7th Addition.

In 2006, he received the Best Article Award, American Review of Public Administration for the journal "Outsourcing the Constitution and Administrative Law Norms. It was Co-authored with Suzanne Piotrowski.

In 2005, he received a Guest Professorship which, according to Rosenbloom’s CV, “is a faculty status enabling one to teach courses for credit.” It was at Northwest University in Xi'an, PRC.* Additionally, he gave Outstanding Service to the University Community at the School of Public Affairs at American University in Washington, DC.

In 2004, he received the Excellence in Teaching Award at the First Annual American University School of Public Affairs Ph.D. Students' for Outstanding Contributions to PhD Students.

In 2003, he received a guest professorship at People's University of China, in Beijing, PRC. From 2002 to 2009, he was listed in Who's Who in America

In 2001,he received the National Academy of Public Administration Louis Brownlow Award, which is the highest annual award issued for excellence in public administration literature, to Building A Legislative-Centered Public Administration: Congress and the Administrative State, 1946–1999. Also in 2001, He received the John Gaus Award for Exemplary Scholarship in the Joint Tradition of Political Science and Public Administration, from the American Political Science Association, as well as being named Scholar/Teacher of the Year at the School of Public Affairs.

In the year 2000, he received an outstanding scholarship in research and other professional contributions from the School of Public Affairs.

In 1999, he received the Dwight Waldo Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Literature and Leadership of Public Administration Through an Extended Career. Also in 1999, he received the Outstanding Service Award from the School of Public Affairs. From 1998 to 1999, from 2006 to 2008, and from 2009 to 2010, he was listed in Who'sWho in American Law.

In 1996, he was the recipient of the Thomas Dye Award for Outstanding Service from the Policy Studies Organization.

In 1994, He received an Honorary Doctor of Laws at Marietta College. Additionally, in 1994, he was an outstanding scholar at the School of Public Affairs.

In 1993, he received the Charles H. Levine Award for Excellence in Public Administration from the American Society for Public Administration/National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration.

In 1992, he received the Distinguished Research Award from the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration/American Society for Public Administration.

In 1988, he was appointed first Distinguished Professor in the history of the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University.

In 1986, he received the Syracuse University Chancellor's Citation for Exceptional Academic Achievement.


Rosenbloom has written extensively on the role of management practices, politics and political oversight, and administrative and constitutional law in public administration.

Authored and Coauthored Books[edit]

  • Public Administration: Understanding Management, Politics, and Law in the Public Sector, Seventh Edition (NY: McGraw Hill, 2009 [published in April 2008]), 580 pp. Coauthors: Robert Kravchuk and Richard Clerkin.

Sixth Edition, 2005, 590 pp. Coauthor: Robert S. Kravchuk. Also published by Peking University Press, PRC, with Chinese annotation.

Fifth Edition, 2002. 622 pp. Coauthor: Robert S. Kravchuk; this and all previous editions with the assistance of Deborah Goldman (Rosenbloom). Translated into Chinese, Taiwan: Pro-Ed Publishing/McGraw Hill, 2002 Translated into Chinese, Beijing: Renmin University, 2003.

Fourth Edition, 1998, 596 pp. Translated into Chinese, Taiwan: Pro-Ed Publishing/McGraw Hill, 2000.

Third Edition, 1993, 573 pp.

Second Edition, 1989, 517 pp.

First Edition, 1986, 511 pp.


  • Personnel Management in Government, Sixth Edition. Boca Raton, FL: Taylor & Francis, 2007. 600 pp. Contributing coauthor, with Jay Shafritz; Katherine Naff and Norma Riccucci Norma M. Riccucci, principal authors.

Fifth Edition. NY: Marcel Dekker, 2001. 587 pp. Coauthors: Jay Shafritz, Katherine Naff, Norma M. Riccucci, Albert Hyde. Fourth Edition, 1992, 553 pp. Coauthors, Shafritz, Hyde, and Norma M. Riccucci.

Translated into Chinese as Guo Wai Xing Zheng Xue Jing Dian Yi Cong. Beijing,: J.D. Publishers, 1997.

Third Edition, 1986, 476 pp. Coauthors on this and earlier editions, Shafritz and Hyde.

Second Edition, 1981, 436 pp.

First Edition, 1978, 307 pp.


  • A Reasonable Public Servant: Legal Challenges of American Public Service Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe 2005. 299 pp. Authorship: Yong S. Lee, senior author, in collaboration with David H. Rosenbloom
  • Constitutional Competence for Public Managers: Cases and Commentary. Itasca, Illinois: F.E. Peacock, 2000. 221 pp. Coauthors: James Carroll, Jonathan Carroll. (This is a thorough revision, major expansion, and updating of Toward Constitutional Competence, 1990, listed below.)

Translated into Chinese, Beijing: Renmin University Press, 2006.


  • Public Administration and Law: Bench and Bureau in the American Administrative State, Second Edition, NY: Marcel Dekker, 1997, 344 pp. Coauthor: Rosemary O'Leary.

Translated into Chinese: Zhogshan University Press, Guangzhou, PRC (2007).

First Edition, 1983. 236 pp. (Sole author.)

  • Bureaucratic Culture: Citizens and Administrators in Israel London and New York: Croom Helm and St. Martin's Press, 1978. Coauthor: David Nachmias. 212 pp.


  • The United States Civil Service Commission's Role in the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Program, 1965–1970. Washington: U.S. Civil Service Commission, 1970. Principal Author. 69 pp.
  • Core Competencies for Federal Facilities Asset Management Through 2020: Transformational Strategies. Committee on Core Competencies for Federal Facilities Asset Management, 2005–2020, National Research Council of the National Academies. Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 2008. Committee member. 121 pp.


  • Rosenbloom, D. (2001). “Whose Bureaucracy is This, Anyway?” Congress’ 1946 answer. PS: Political Science and Politics, 44(4), 773–777. http://www.jstor.org/stable/1350265
  • Rosenbloom, D. (2000). Retrofitting the Administrative State to the Constitution: Congress and the Judiciary's Twentieth-Century Progress. Public Administration Review, 60(1), 39–46. http://www.jstor.org/stable/977412
  • Rosenbloom, D. (1993). Editorial: Have an Administrative Rx? Don't Forget the Politics! Public Administration Review, 53(6), 503–507. http://www.jstor.org/stable/977359
  • Rosenbloom, D. (1971). Some Political Implications of the Drift toward a Liberation of Federal Employees. Public Administration Review, 31(4), 420–426. http://www.jstor.org/stable/975020

External links[edit]