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Blue Team “ A significant motivation of comparative PA is to discover regularities through the human experiences, irrespective of place and time.” – Jreisat 2002, 5 ‘Golden Oldies’ Woodrow Wilson (1887): administrative-politics dichotomy

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Blue Team

“ A significant motivation of comparative PA is to discover regularities through the human experiences, irrespective of place and time.”

– Jreisat 2002, 5

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‘Golden Oldies’

  • Woodrow Wilson (1887): administrative-politics dichotomy

    • Administration is “government in action” (14); it is the executive, the operative, the most visible part side of government (14)

    • Who shall make law, and what shall that law be (politics)?

    • How law should be administered (administration)?

    • Administration lies “outside the sphere of politics” (20)

    • Politics is state activity “in things great and universal” versus administration as“the activity of the state in individual and small things”

    • General plans (politics) versus special means (administration) (21)

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‘Golden Oldies’

  • Max Weber (1922; Gerth/Mills translation 1946): ideal type of bureaucracy

    • Principle of fixed and official jurisdictional areas

    • Office hierarchy and of levels of graded authority

    • Management based on written documents

    • Specialized office through expert training

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‘Golden Oldies’

  • Kharasch

    • Develops three axioms that lead to his “institutional imperative”

      • Action by the institution constitutes the internal dynamics of the institution

      • Institution must function continuously if it is to stay in existence

      • What the institution does is its purpose

    • Institutional imperative: “every action or decision of an institution must be intended to keep the institutional machinery working” (49)

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‘Golden Oldies’

  • James Thurber

    • Cynical description of reality in politics through death of an invented public hero

    • Depicting a completely acceptable character of the “hero”; death of “the greatest man”

    • “Perilous heights of fame (126); “a accidental death of its most illustrious and spectacular figure” (128)

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Comparative Pubic Administration: Towards a synthesis

  • Origins and development of the field

  • Conceptualizing comparative public administration and methodology

  • Cross-cutting topics

    • Corruption

    • Culture

    • Implementation

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Origins and development of field

  • Emergence of field of public administration

  • Politics - administration dichotomy (Wilson 1887)

  • “Ideal type” of bureaucracy (Weber 1922)

  • Comparative public administration: move away from US-centered PA

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Origins and development of field

  • 1960s-early ‘70s: ‘New’ public administration

    • Obligations of PA to society: activism, ethics, solution to problems

  • Development administration

    • The administration of development programs, to the methods used by large scale organizations to implement policies and plans to meet their development objectives (Riggs 1971)

    • Away from Western-centered; unique challenges, contexts

    • CAG; Ford Foundation; Riggs

  • Postmodernism: Movement away from rationality as answer

  • New Public Management

    • ‘reinventing government’: decentralization, contracting, privatization, performance-based evaluation

  • Governance

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  • What is CPA?

    • “comparative study of institutions, processes, and behaviors in many contexts” (Jreisat , 2002)

  • Objective of CP

    • The discovery of patterns and regularities of administrative action and behavior across cultures in order to produce new knowledge and to affirm or refine existing information (1)

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  • Why we compare?

    • Increasingly globalized, interdependent world

    • Expand our knowledge and understanding of phenomena

    • What works: characteristics of successful/unsuccessful administrative performance; best practices

    • Insight for practitioners of various political contexts and impact on administration

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Comparative methodology

  • A focus for comparison

    • Bureaucracy as a focus

    • Organizational setting

    • The ecology of administration

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Comparative methodology

  • Functionalist

    • Interest articulation, interest aggregation, rule-making, rule application, rule adjudication, communication

  • Neo-institutionalist

    • Attention to structure

  • Peters’ perspective

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Cross-cutting topics

  • Corruption

    • What is it? (Heidenheimer et al. 1990)

      • Many different meanings, but in social sciences often focus on:

        • Public-office centered, market-centered, and public interest-centered

        • Friedrich: “behavior which deviates from the norm actually prevalent . . . [and is] deviant behavior associated with . . . private gain at public expense” (15)

    • Why is it a problem?

      • Challenges for developing countries

      • “Man is conceived in sin and born in corruption” (Warren 1946, 223, All the king’s men); “Brant seized the greatest man in the world and pushed him out the window” (Thurber 1991, 138-146)

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Cross-cutting topics

  • Culture

    • Riggs: “prismatic model pertaining to the ecology of administration in a type of society” (Heady 2001, 96)

    • Almond and Verba: civic culture, types of political culture

    • Picard: historical, and contemporary political (and bureaucratic) structures and processes (2); authoritarian political culture (5); inherited authoritarian patterns of government (6)

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Cross-cutting topics

  • Implementation: intersection of public policy and administration

    • Errors of third type (EIII) (Dunn 2007, 84)

    • Problem structuring in policy analysis (81)

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Development (CAG)

Almond/ Verba



Guy Peters


Policy Implementation


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  • Wilson, Woodrow, “The study of administration,” in Shafritz, Jay M., and Albert C. Hyde. 2007. Classics of public administration. 6th ed. Boston: Thomson Wadsworth.

  • Weber, Max, “Bureaucracy,” in Shafritz, Jay M., and Albert C. Hyde. 2007. Classics of public administration. 6th ed. Boston: Thomson Wadsworth.

  • Thurber, James, “The greatest men in the world,” in Archer, Jeffrey, and Simon Bainbridge. 1991. Fools, knaves, and heroes: great political short stories. 1st American ed. New York: Norton.

  • Kharasch, Robert N. 1973. The institutional imperative; how to understand the United States Government and other bulky objects. New York,: Charterhouse Books.

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  • Picard, Louis A. 2005. The state of the state: institutional transformation, capacity and political change in South Africa. Johannesburg: Wits University Press.

  • Heady, Ferrel. 2001. Public administration: a comparative perspective. 6th ed. New York: Marcel Dekker.

  • Jreisat, Jamil E. 2002. Comparative public administration and policy. Boulder, Colo. Oxford: Westview.

  • Baker, Randall. 1994. Comparative public management : putting U.S. public policy and implementation in context. Westport, Conn.: Praeger.

  • Bekke, A. J. G. M., James L. Perry, and T. A. J. Toonen. 1996. Civil service systems in comparative perspective. Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press.