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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2017

Michael W. Spicer

While many warn about the failures of politics, this article argues that politics serves to resolve conflicts of interests and values among us in a manner that limits the…

Abstract

While many warn about the failures of politics, this article argues that politics serves to resolve conflicts of interests and values among us in a manner that limits the use of violence and also protects and fosters value pluralism and freedom. Public administration scholars often look to science to improve governance but science cannot resolve our many conflicting ends and values, nor can it take proper account of the freedom and resulting sheer unpredictability that we have come to experience within our own tradition of politics. It is argued that the practice of politics requires not a science of governance, but simply a certain kind of toleration, namely a willingness to hear the other side and to engage in practices of adversary argument. Implications for the "politics of fear" are also discussed.

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International Journal of Organization Theory & Behavior, vol. 17 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1093-4537

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2010

Michael W. Spicer

Drawing on the ideas of Stuart Hampshire, this paper argues that American constitutionalism, thought of as a set of practices for resolving conflict, may be especially…

Abstract

Drawing on the ideas of Stuart Hampshire, this paper argues that American constitutionalism, thought of as a set of practices for resolving conflict, may be especially helpful in the postmodern condition because it encourages the resolution of conflict among different cultural conceptions of the good by practices of adversarial argument and procedural justice, rather than simply by force and violence. Consequently, a constitutional approach to American public administration has merit in directing our attention towards our particular practices for resolving value conflict. However, a constitutional approach cannot provide universal standards for the fair resolution of conflict. Also, any attempt to legitimate public administration in our constitutional practices is always potentially problematic because such practices, themselves, are always contestable.

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International Journal of Organization Theory & Behavior, vol. 13 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1093-4537

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2003

Michael W. Spicer

This paper examines the ideas of David Hume and their importance to American public administration writing and practice. Hume’s ideas on empiricism, scepticism, and…

Abstract

This paper examines the ideas of David Hume and their importance to American public administration writing and practice. Hume’s ideas on empiricism, scepticism, and constitutionalism have indirectly, via their impact on modern philosophy, encouraged both support for and criticism of empiricist approaches in public administration. Also, Hume’s ideas on constitutionalism, because of their influence on the Founders' writings and design, provide an important legacy for the practice of public administration. The paper argues that Hume’s notion of mitigated scepticism, as well as his constitutional ideas, have continuing relevance for the study and practice of contemporary public administration. This paper examines the ideas of David Hume and their importance to American public administration writing and practice. Hume’s ideas on empiricism, scepticism, and constitutionalism have indirectly, via their impact on modern philosophy, encouraged both support for and criticism of empiricist approaches in public administration. Also, Hume’s ideas on constitutionalism, because of their influence on the Founders' writings and design, provide an important legacy for the practice of public administration. The paper argues that Hume’s notion of mitigated scepticism, as well as his constitutional ideas, have continuing relevance for the study and practice of contemporary public administration. This paper examines the ideas of David Hume and their importance to American public administration writing and practice. Hume’s ideas on empiricism, scepticism, and constitutionalism have indirectly, via their impact on modern philosophy, encouraged both support for and criticism of empiricist approaches in public administration. Also, Hume’s ideas on constitutionalism, because of their influence on the Founders' writings and design, provide an important legacy for the practice of public administration. The paper argues that Hume’s notion of mitigated scepticism, as well as his constitutional ideas, have continuing relevance for the study and practice of contemporary public administration. This paper examines the ideas of David Hume and their importance to American public administration writing and practice. Hume’s ideas on empiricism, scepticism, and constitutionalism have indirectly, via their impact on modern philosophy, encouraged both support for and criticism of empiricist approaches in public administration. Also, Hume’s ideas on constitutionalism, because of their influence on the Founders' writings and design, provide an important legacy for the practice of public administration. The paper argues that Hume’s notion of mitigated scepticism, as well as his constitutional ideas, have continuing relevance for the study and practice of contemporary public administration.

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International Journal of Organization Theory & Behavior, vol. 6 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1093-4537

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Article
Publication date: 1 September 1998

Michael W. Spicer

Cameralism, as a set if ideas, refers to a system of “sciences” whose professors, during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, recorded and attempted to extend and…

Abstract

Cameralism, as a set if ideas, refers to a system of “sciences” whose professors, during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, recorded and attempted to extend and improve administrative practices to serve the absolutist monarchs of Germany and Austria. This article examines some of the major themes of cameralist political and social thought. Particular attention is paid here to cameralist writings about the nature of the state, the value of science, and the power of the executive. It is concluded here that the cameralists sounded themes that continue to resonate in much of modern American public administration, but that these themes may not be as relevant to a constitutional republic as they were to the absolutist regimes of Germany and Austria.

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Journal of Management History, vol. 4 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1355-252X

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Article
Publication date: 1 September 1997

Michael W. Spicer

This article examines the influence of David Hume’s ideas on American public administration. Hume’s ideas have indirectly, via their impact on modern philosophy…

Abstract

This article examines the influence of David Hume’s ideas on American public administration. Hume’s ideas have indirectly, via their impact on modern philosophy, encouraged both support for and criticism of empiricist approaches in public administration. Also Hume’s ideas on constitutionalism, because of their influence on the writings and designs of the founders of the Constitution, provide what is arguably his most important legacy for the practice of public administration.

Details

Journal of Management History, vol. 3 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1355-252X

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2010

Dragan M. Staniševski

Approaching anti-essentialism from the perspective of multiculturalism this article reexamines the value of tolerance in dealing with inter-cultural conflicts and in…

Abstract

Approaching anti-essentialism from the perspective of multiculturalism this article reexamines the value of tolerance in dealing with inter-cultural conflicts and in facilitation of multicultural discourses. It asserts that tolerance can be a potentially useful practice in specific local contexts, but it is not an ideal in itself. The article questions the role of public administration in building tolerance for cultural diversity and argues that providing visible forms of public recognition of cultural practices could be one possible role for government agencies.

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International Journal of Organization Theory & Behavior, vol. 13 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1093-4537

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2009

Anthony DeForest Molina

This article argues that the field of public administration, academics and practitioners alike, would benefit by more explicitly addressing the role that values play in…

Abstract

This article argues that the field of public administration, academics and practitioners alike, would benefit by more explicitly addressing the role that values play in administrative behavior and decision making. It reflects on the extent to which values are embedded in the work of public administrators, and their role in serving as normative criteria for action. Because the values associated with democracy and bureaucracy are often in competition, though, the challenge for administrators is to arrive at a workable balance consistent with our constitutional tradition. To that end, the insights offered by an organizational culture perspective are helpful in understanding how particular values can be promoted in organizations. This article concludes with a brief discussion of some implications that such an approach has for how we study, teach, and practice public administration.

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International Journal of Organization Theory & Behavior, vol. 12 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1093-4537

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2003

Akhlaque Haque

Sparked by the September 11 event, ethnic and religious diversity in the American culture has opened a new dialogue about tolerance to foreign cultures and religions…

Abstract

Sparked by the September 11 event, ethnic and religious diversity in the American culture has opened a new dialogue about tolerance to foreign cultures and religions. Using Burke’s views about morality and religious tolerance, this paper argues how ethical guidelines of public administrators ought to be sought from a universal moral law derived from natural principles and constitutional values of the regime. The argument focuses on Burkean prudence as a practical application of moral law and a guide for public administrators in a diverse global environment. Furthermore, it argues civil law to be inadequate in situations where the majority favors a particular opinion against a minority population. By acknowledging a universal moral law, public administrators can play a dual role as individuals building human relations in a diverse culture, and as public servants upholding Constitutional values to preserve the integrity of public institutions

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International Journal of Organization Theory & Behavior, vol. 6 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1093-4537

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2006

R. McGreggor Cawley

This essay emerges from the author’s ongoing attempts to explore the implications of the postmodern condition on the activity called public administration. The approach…

Abstract

This essay emerges from the author’s ongoing attempts to explore the implications of the postmodern condition on the activity called public administration. The approach is unorthodox; mixing current international events with history of science, administrative theory, and ending with an intriguing science fiction novel. The central theme of the essay is the myth of progress connected with Michael Spicer’s excellent analysis of competing theories of state. Whatever else might be said of the essay, the argument comes full circle. It begins with the idea that governing is hard work and ends on the same note.

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International Journal of Organization Theory & Behavior, vol. 9 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1093-4537

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Book part
Publication date: 12 January 2021

Michael Lounsbury, Deborah A. Anderson and Paul Spee

Volumes 70 and 71 of Research in the Sociology of Organizations combine to comprise cutting edge theory and empirical scholarship at the interface of practice and…

Abstract

Volumes 70 and 71 of Research in the Sociology of Organizations combine to comprise cutting edge theory and empirical scholarship at the interface of practice and institution in organization studies. As we highlight, this interface has spurred particularly generative conversations with many open questions, and much to explore. We provide a review of scholarly developments in practice theory and organizational institutionalism that have given rise to this interest in building a bridge between scholarly communities. As signaled by recent efforts to construct a practice-driven institutionalism, we highlight how connecting practice theory with the institutional logics perspective provides a particularly attractive focal point for scholarship at this interface due to a variety of shared ontological and epistemological commitments, including the constitution of actors and their behavior. Collectively, the papers assembled unlock exciting opportunities to connect distinct, but related scholarly communities on practice and institution, seeding scholarship that can advance our understanding of organizational and societal dynamics.

Details

On Practice and Institution: New Empirical Directions
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80043-416-5

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