Talk:Public administration

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Silly and wordy photo caption[edit]

Unlike what everyone under 25 would like to think...paper is alive and well. Yes, unreliable but true paper is still being used in even regular offices. Nobody has their full office on their crackkberry yet

"Even in the digital age, public servants tend to work with both paper documents and computer files (pictured here is Stephen C. Dunn, Deputy Comptroller for the US Navy"Starbwoy (talk) 22:05, 2 June 2011 (UTC)

Some Notable Public Administrators (in alphabetical order) is silly[edit]

Dropping the list. Every person ever elected to public office, or assuming it through other means, in the history of mankind could go on the list. List is therefore silly. -James Howard (talk/web) 22:51, 15 May 2006 (UTC)

Well it's referring to scholars, not administrators themselves. But I agree that the list should be dropped. ChrisKennedy(talk) 17:25, 22 May 2006 (UTC)

I disagree. It is important to mention notable public administration and bureaucracy Scholars in this article. I have added some European scholars, as the list was very American centric. So I recommend to keep the list. RaF, 22 May 2006 (UTC)

I am not familiar with this field, but as a general principle I think it is better if people (and institutions) are mentioned in context rather than just listed. For a list, one would at least want years of birth and death and some brief description of what people have done to make them important. Uppland 21:11, 23 May 2006 (UTC)
  • This section is odd and has little use (particularly given how much of the article is dominated by this list). I propose creating a new page with the list of notable PAs and relocating the content from this page. Thoughts? Thanks, Hu Gadarn 15:51, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

Why is Max Weber mentioned only once, in the list of notable scholars? His work is incredibly influential in modern studies of public administration, and our understanding of the nature of bureaucracy. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:31, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

Given that the article divides up the development of Public Administration into five generations, rather than listing the scholars in alphabetical order, breaking up the list into the five generations of development, and then within each generation alphabetically would seem to be more useful. If no one objects, it might be an interesting thing for me to do between semesters (I'm currently working on an MPA, so it's something I probably should learn about.) Unfortunately, I'm working on a bit of original research, so I might not have the time. If someone else wants to do it.... Fredrik Coulter (talk) 00:23, 20 July 2008 (UTC)


How about moving the list to its own page? Perhaps mentioning the really significant institutions in the text, and in the context of the development of the discipline and various schools of thought, would be better than a complete list right here. BTW, aren't there some "doctorate-granting institutions in public administration or public policy" outside the United States? Uppland 17:41, 22 May 2006 (UTC)

I don't think it even needs its own page given that a category for schools of public administration already exists Category:Public_administration_schools - ChrisKennedy(talk) 19:32, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
That will only work where the programme in public administration is actually organized as its own "school" rather than just being part of a university faculty of Social sciences or Law. We can't possibly add every university to every possible category that corresponds to every single one of its programmes of education. Uppland 20:50, 22 May 2006 (UTC)

A Merger seems to be flawed. As a Student of Public Administration I agree that Public Administration and Public Management are simular and can cover simular issues, however Public management in Tangable different, and is merely a theorietical; concept within Public Administration. As such Public Administration extends beyond this insular view. Therefore both topics warrent their own pages, albeit linked, as otherwise an oversimplification of the topic is risked.

Public administration is not merely limited to the study of policy. Public administration, as an academic discipline, describes the study of government institutions - how they are organized, how they use resources (financial, human, etc.), how they respond to public needs and demands. It is also the study of how public policy is made, why it is made, and the many factors that influence policy-making. Using models of policy systems, public administration students can assess the broad impact that a certain type of policy may (or may not) have on the general population, the target group, the bureaucratic system, the political system, etc. It is important to note that public administration takes into account the various theories of public management (among many others) in the context of the entire system - ie. the public, the politics and the bureaucracy. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 19:58, 4 August 2006

Merge public management with 'societal management' and leave public administration as it stands

The problem with the use of the term 'public' is that it has an antonym 'private'. What would be private administration or private management? No doubt, there is considerable amount of literature that use the word 'public' in a broader sense to cover issues concering both government and society. However, the social issues covered by both public administration and public management domains are limited to areas where the government has a role to play. Perhaps, it would be ideal to rechristen 'public management' as 'societal management' to cover issues relating to all types of social institutions including the government. The phrase 'public management' does lack definitional stability. While in 'public administration' 'public' means clearly the government and citizens, there is no such clarity in the case of public management. This discussion must recognize the hierarchical differences. Societal or public management belongs to a super domain. Both public administration and business management could then fall under it at the next level in the hierarchy.


I don't know who, but there were a bunch of "I.P. Freely" type "funny names" in the list of scholars. That is vandalism. Ticks me off. Everyone keep an eye on this one, to make sure it doesn't happen again. Ilikenwf 18:27, 19 October 2006 (UTC)

Academic bias to page?[edit]

Good day. I've noticed what seems to be an academic bias to the page. For example, the writing on the history of PA begins with Ancient Greek, etc. thinkers - yet I'm pretty sure that PA existed before this time (i.e. civilization did not begin w/ the ancient Greeks). Why does the "hisotry of PA" section not start with the history of PA? Also, what is a "pre-generation"? This is nonsensical except perhaps to academics. Fianlly, the page began by describing PA as the "study and implementation of government policy...". I've corrected this to read "implementation and study...". The purpose of PA is not academic - it is implementation. Am I off the mark of does anyone else agree? Thanks, Hu Gadarn 15:44, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

Dig up some sources and expand the article..I agree there should be more on pre-Grecian civilizations.[edit]

untitled comments[edit]

what is public administration? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

There are boundaries that are problematic in the study of government, governance, politics, and bureaucracy. Public administration is a term of convenience to address these contested areas. It used to mean the study of government bureaucracy. In my opinion, such a usage is now least highly contested. Ryan Lanham 00:35, 24 April 2006 (UTC)

Managing a bureaucracy is not the same as understanding it. Understanding how a bureaucracy does in no way make an individual competent at managing a specific agency. Public Management is no different from private. Encouraging people to accomplish the organisational goal is management not public administration. Would you classify a MBA as a management degree OR is it designed to encourage individuals how to develop organisations and furthermore understand how administration of a private company can aid the organisation in its overall goal, either making money, or providing services (in the case of Government). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Public management is no different than private. Hmmm. Profit? Public good? Seems different to me. Ryan Lanham 20:49, 8 May 2006 (UTC)

You are talking about the end result. NOT the process. How an individual process a passport application in the State Department is no different from how a processor for MBNA processes a credit card application. Certain criteria must be fulfilled in order that either are issued. A process is set up and within that standard operating procedure for both examples (and there are THOUSANDS more) action is taken. You are looking at the completely wrong aspect. The mission of a public bureaucracy is to provide a service, albeit one of public good. Managing the process has little actual difference. You are still managing people. A degree in public affairs is more geared towards the ETHICAL aspects of bureaucracy rather than the administrative end of it. GO look up any public affairs program and you will find the following authors:

  • Stone
  • Simon
  • Goodsell
  • Kuhn

All of those represent a more ethical consideration rather than dealing with how to move paper around an office. The process is no different. The ethical considerations are fundamentally different.

Don't merge with public management. –wiki-vr 09:30, 13 May 2006 (UTC)

Public administration and Public management are in contemporary use usually seen in opposition. The distinction needs to be maintained (don't merge), and both articles need cleanup to reflect this opposition. --Chewy m 14:46, 21 June 2006 (UTC)

Opening summary[edit]

The opening paragraph on public administration is problematic. Public administration is about much more that 'policy'. In the second sentence, what does 'linked' mean? This sentence also has a contestable implication - that public admin contributes to the public good. Many critical theorists would disagree or claim the story is much more complex. The final sentence suggests that NGOs may be included within the ambit of public admin if they are not motivated by self interest. If one accepts the assumptions public choice theory, then conventional governmental agencies are also motivated by self interest - are they excluded from the public admin category? This is a strange criterion on which to determine membership of this category. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:39, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

Proposed removal of list of academics[edit]

  • Yes - the list adds no value. This is an article about Public Adminsitration, not the teachiong of public administration, not academics interested in PA, but PA itself. Delete list. Thanks, Hu Gadarn (talk) 16:02, 21 May 2008 (UTC)

six "generations[edit]

Is the "six generations" breakdown of the history of Public Administration something which is broadly used? If so it needs to be cited; if not, it would seem to be classifiable as original research, or at least NPOV. babbage (talk) 04:55, 8 July 2008 (UTC)

I must agree that "six generations" interpretation must be substantiated. It is highly conceptual and I'm not sure it can be applied oustide the Anglo-saxon tradition of thought in the field. Yet I find it elegant and atractive as a means of explaining certain aspects of Public administration. So it would be great for the article to cite some research on the subject. ~~Mantas~~ —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:34, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

But even if it were substantiated, it's presented in the article as if it "were" public administration, or as if it had some sort of widespread acceptance throughout the discipline. I've just read a bit on the field, so I'm completely unqualified to try to change the article; but it seems to me that anyone who read this article as-is would come away with a very biased understanding. babbage (talk) 23:38, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

critique of NPA[edit]

The usual standard in Wikipedia entries is to include the critique of the exposed subject matter or point of view. In the case of public administration – and especially the modern variation to the theme, NPA – is astonishingly absent. This should be corrected, especially since NPA has proved far less successful in practice than its proponents tend to admit. ˜˜˜˜ —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:55, 4 August 2008 (UTC)

Relocate empty sections here[edit]

Hi, I have no objection to sections that sit empty for a few days while an editor is adding material, but these have been empty for weeks, even months.OnBeyondZebrax (talk) 22:04, 11 May 2009 (UTC)

Rational choice[edit]

Herbert Simon's satisficing[edit]


Game theory[edit]

Public Administration dichotomies[edit]

Wilson's Politics-Administration Dichotomy[edit]

Fact-Value Dichotomy[edit]

Leonard White[edit]

Paul Appleby[edit]

Luther Gulick[edit]

Photographs and POV[edit]

  1. The photographs currently on this article currently leave much to be desired.
  2. I just removed this caption as non-neutral: "Even in the digital age, public servants tend to work with both paper documents and computer files"Andrew (talk) 19:31, 15 December 2012 (UTC)

From Public Management Merge[edit]


made some minor edits. Still think it goes on too long about international monetary system. 01:03, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

This is a very long and weird entry. I've taken out references to international Jewish bankers "owning" the Federal Reserve -- and a lumping of Henry Kissinger with Hitler and Stalin -- but I fear much of this entry should be revised. I lack the expertise to do so myself, but invite someone else to! ConDissenter 20:59, 29 April 2007 (UTC)

I agree. Writer(s) seem to get lost and wander into some ideological reasoning. I96danma 14:22, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

I also agree, most of this article is very politicaly loaded and fails to inform one of what "Public Management" really is. Instead the author of this article bounces from tangent to tangent. The author also needlessly policisises the article and the very subject of Public Management. I would recoment a complete re-writing of this article.--Discott (talk) 12:53, 1 June 2008 (UTC)

Severe NPOV[edit]

I removed most of the sections that bore little relation to the topic of "Public Management". Criticisms of fractional reserve banking, international capitalism, transnationalism, central banking, corporations or democracy belongs on other pages, not this one. Given that the great majority of the page was this unrelated "criticism", it seems there was very little directly related to the presumptive topic of the page, and needs fleshing out. PJayC (talk) 00:18, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

Agreed. While I am not totally unsympathetic to some of the author's contentions (specifically, wealthy and powerful business interests corrupting democratic governance), I haven't seen an entry this severely POV in a while. Worse yet, much of it bears little actual relevance to the actual topic at hand! This article needs a major overhaul. --Eastlaw talk ⁄ contribs 07:00, 13 June 2009 (UTC)

Self reference[edit]

I removed this as self reference:

It is notable that there is, at present, no Wikipedia entry on public management via the marketplace and that it is debatable whether the entries on Smith and Hayek adequately discuss their reasons for advocating the market mechanism and how it was/is supposed to work.


This article is hopeless in its current state and seems to have been more or less like this for a while (although much of the more egregious parts of the entry have been removed or modified). Perhaps there could be a collective effort to revise this with a concentration on important theorists such as Herbert Simon. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:36, 16 August 2009 (UTC)


I removed a long section that just seemed to POV to be fixed other than by rewriting. To see the prev version check the history at [1]. This now gives us a short article that can be expanded and a long list of references. And I removed the POV and clenaup tags. RJFJR (talk) 20:57, 5 September 2009 (UTC)

if there are no objections ...[edit]

... I will redact and merge this into Public Administration as the same-named § after a suitable period. Lycurgus (talk) 08:41, 1 January 2015 (UTC)

There being none, will proceed with straight forward merge of all the front and back content here as last 1st level § in the merge target. Will deploy to mainspace when complete. Lycurgus (talk) 13:58, 25 January 2015 (UTC)


Completed without loss of content, requested grammar redact performed. Lycurgus (talk) 04:21, 28 January 2015 (UTC)