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Historical and epistemological trends in public administration

Laurent Dobuzinskis (Department of Political Science, Simon Fraser University, Canada)

Journal of Management History (Archive)

ISSN: 1355-252X

Article publication date: 1 December 1997


Begins with a brief overview of how public administration emerged as the positivist theory and technocratic practice of the modern administrative state. The question then becomes: To what extent has public administration been affected by the societal shift toward postmodernism? The author argues that public administration has moved some distance away from its positivist origins; however, the transformation of public administration is still incomplete. The author concludes that public administration should pay more attention to the recent developments of post‐positivist methods of analysis rather than attempting to adopt all the tenets of postmodernism. Large bureaucratic organizations remain typically modern, but they should not be either conceptualized or managed as small machines.



Dobuzinskis, L. (1997), "Historical and epistemological trends in public administration", Journal of Management History (Archive), Vol. 3 No. 4, pp. 298-316.




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