Images and Identities in Public Administration

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Henry Kass, Bayard Catron
SAGE Publications, Apr 1, 1990 - Political Science - 266 pages
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The role and legitimacy of public administration in the United States has always been problematical. While Americans have recognized the need for an administrative establishment since revolutionary times, they have feared the potential power of an administrative elite to undermine cherished individual freedoms. This volume brings together respected scholars who explore alternative bases upon which to legitimate public administration in the American system of government. Utilizing Gareth Morgan's concept of "imaginization," this volume attempts to redefine and develop legitimating concepts for public administration in order to reshape the field. The contributors conclude that the legitimacy of American public administration rests on the legitimacy of the political community itself and the administrators' ability to serve and represent that community. Various issues are examined, including pluralism, ethical issues of justice and welfare, and the narrow, technical-instrumental role in which public administrators have often been cast. In this volume, the contributors first identify the historical roots and conceptual branches of public administration; describe the major institutional roles public administration has played in government; and, analyze the future of American public administration. An important and innovative addition to the literature on public administration theory, this volume will be of interest to academics and professionals in public administration, political science, management, and organizational studies. "All students and practitioners of public administration should find this book stimulating reading. Not only does it challenge many of our traditional assumptions about, and approaches to, the field, it also stimulates one to think of the field as a dynamic and changing one. Clearly, the images or metaphors presented in the book do not exhaust the possibilities for conceptualizing public administration or public administrators. What the book should do is stimulate others to articulate and examine their own images of this field." --The American Review of Public Administration "An excellent review of a battery of past and present approaches to US public administration seldom found within one cover." --Political Studies "A well-organized and edited collection. . .It avoids the ills of edited proceedings by a quite illuminating Prologue (Kass) and Epilogue (Catron and Hammond), and disciplined attention to a common point of departure--the use of 'imaginization' (Morgan, 1986) to develop alternative metaphors. . . . Were the notions aired in this collection to become a cornerstone of American PA teaching and practitioner orientation, it would represent a major change in schools of public administration and their relations with the profession and the strategic and tactical behavior of public administrators." --Public Administration Review

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