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Comparative public administration is a branch of public administration. As an approach, it considers the workings of government in different socio-economic and cultural…
Comparative public administration is a branch of public administration. As an approach, it considers the workings of government in different socio-economic and cultural settings. Much like public administration, comparative administration covers a wide variety of activities. Scholars employing the comparative approach focus on a wide variety of issues including public policy making and implementation in both the developed and developing areas. Comparative administration seeks to strengthen our understanding of broader public administrative processes by trying to expand the empirical basis of the field. By taking a keen look at administrative processes in all socio-economic and ecological settings, we have a more holistic view of the larger field.
Bidhya Bowornwathana is associate professor at the Department of Public Administration, Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand. His research interests are on governance and administrative reform. His writings appear in journals such as Governance: An International Journal of Policy and Administration, Public Administration and Development, Australian Journal of Public Administration, Asian Survey, Public Administration Quarterly, Public Administration: An International Quarterly, Asia Pacific Journal of Public Administration, Asian Review of Public Administration, and Asian Journal of Political Science. He has written several books in Thai on administrative reform and public administration. He co-edited a book with John P. Burns on Civil Services Systems in Asia (Edward Elgar, 2001). He also has chapters in recent books such as in Christopher Pollitt and Colin Talbot, eds., Unbundled Government (Taylor and Francis, 2004), Ron Hodges, ed., Governance and the Public Sector (Edward Elgar, 2005), Eric E. Otenyo and Nancy S. Lind, eds., Comparative Public Administration: The Essential Readings (Elsevier, 2006), and Kuno Schedler and Isabella Proeller, eds., Cultural Aspects of Public Management Reform (Elsevier, 2007). He was Chairman of Department of Pubic Administration, Chulalongkorn University. He has served several times as member and secretary of the national administrative reform commissions appointed by Thai governments.
Comparative public administration is a branch of public administration that focuses on comparative analysis of administrative processes and institutions. The comparative…
Comparative public administration is a branch of public administration that focuses on comparative analysis of administrative processes and institutions. The comparative approach has been around since the inception of government. As a specialized field of interest, the significance of comparison cannot be accurately traced to a single event or country. What we know is that early scholarly work in the parent field drew upon knowledge and perspectives with cross-national origins. For example, Ferrel Heady reminds us that pioneers in the study of American public administration, including Woodrow Wilson and Frank Goodnow, made full use of lens’ provided in European scholarship (Heady, 2001, p. 6). Likewise, past and recent non-western scholarship has drawn substantial inspiration from European and American models. The reasons for this are easy to discern. At least three can be advanced. First is the colonial experience – with most countries in the southern hemisphere having derived a large part of their bureaucratic structures from their former colonizers, the importance of comparative approaches cannot be overemphasized. Second is the increased flow of information worldwide has made it easier for scholars to compare notes on administrative systems in different countries. Third are domino effects of human development, including deliberate attempts by various international bodies to encourage development via adoption of institutional and administrative models that have proven to enhance the quality of life. In fact, coincidentally, sustained comparative analysis in public administration occurred at the end of the World War II when many organizations with a global outreach emerged.
Perhaps the increased use of technologies is the hallmark of the new global managerial dispensation. Worldwide, the tendency to use especially information technologies is…
Perhaps the increased use of technologies is the hallmark of the new global managerial dispensation. Worldwide, the tendency to use especially information technologies is legend. By far the most widespread use of ITs has been for governments to post information about themselves on the internet. Literally all governments have web sites with information about government structures, foreign embassies, and tourism and investment opportunities.
Nearly three decades have passed since the “heyday” of development administration. Huddleston (1984, p. 177) among others distinguished development administration from…
Nearly three decades have passed since the “heyday” of development administration. Huddleston (1984, p. 177) among others distinguished development administration from mainstream public administration at the practitioner level. He considered it as an area of comparative administration that focuses on the special problems and possibilities of countries of the Third World. Accordingly, it was an attempt to upgrade or develop administration in these countries. It also entailed the creation of unique administrative systems where none existed. The field was a product of its distinctive zietgeist and reflected the age of pronounced confidence in big government (Esman, 1988; Fried, 1990). Then, development theory scholars assumed incorrectly that progress would be linear with societies aiming toward a “take-off” stage. From there, development processes would be self-sustaining. Public administration was considered a vital tool for managing the economic growth and development process. Successive U.S. administrations from Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, and John Kennedy promoted the doctrine of development assistance (aid) to the developing areas. Aid provided the academy with opportunities to study such issues as development economics, community development, development education, and finally, development administration (Weidner, 1962, p. 97).
The collection includes work on planning and decentralization because these are all tied together in the broad attempt at enhancing rural and community administration…
The collection includes work on planning and decentralization because these are all tied together in the broad attempt at enhancing rural and community administration theory. Planning is a decision-making activity. It is also a process of control because it involves gathering information and marshalling resources “in a sequential priority framework in order to maximize agreed-upon objectives” (Murray, 1975, p. 369). Although planning is an integral part of development administration, its origins are not hard to find in western administrative thought. In fact, American public administration students can easily trace planning to classical works of Frederick W. Taylor and Luther Gulick. The former articulated the process in his design for work practices in corporations. For his part, Gulick's principles included a statement to the effect that planning was a central managerial role. Arguably, the American planning variant had more to do with the business world as opposed to the public sector. It was also largely decentralized and not comprehensive. This is in sharp contrast with the vast majority of countries, especially in the 1960s and 1970s. The planning discourse then assumed ideological proportions. This was in part due to the association of planning with command-type Communist Soviet administrative styles. Ironically, centralized planning achieved some limited success and was considered a useful tool for promoting development and industrialization.