organization theory and public administration


Via – a paper by Johan Olsen (frequent collaborator with Jim March) titled (pdf): Organization theory, public administration, democratic governance. Some discussion of randomness, rationality, reason, rules, roles (and other R’s), and, democracy and community.


Written by teppo

March 28, 2007 at 3:34 pm

7 Responses

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  1. An interesting passage from this paper that addresses some of the issues raised in the Ferraro, Pfeffer, and Sutton paper referred to in the previous post:

    Education, training and socialization take place in a variety of organized settings, for example in administrative agencies as part of on-the-job experience and selective exposure to information, in democratic institutions of government and civil society, and in educational institutions. Therefore, it becomes important to explore in which organizational settings actors learn to become self-seeking calculating egoists, and in what settings they learn empathy, to become law-abiding democrats, and consensus and compromise-seeking citizens and officials. At issue is what kinds of actors are needed for political community and good governance; and what morals, interests, intelligence, and resources are vested in administrative-political institutions in order to fashion democratic citizens and officials and make them voluntary comply with laws and policies? (p. 18-19).

    This seems to me like a much more productive path to take rather than sky is falling broadsides as to how economics is taken over the world in its hegemonic attempt to make everybody into egoists. That simply does not square with economists self-perception that they are losing the battle to influence policy to management itself and other disciplines purportedly hijacked by economists (i.e. political scientists), unless economists think that they are losing the battle to themselves.



    March 28, 2007 at 5:54 pm

  2. Also, from the references, I chased down another interesting working paper by Olsen that might be of interest to orgheads entitled “Maybe it is time to rediscover bureaucracy?” I might be wrong, but I’m guessing he thinks the answer is yes.



    March 28, 2007 at 6:03 pm

  3. In his now classic paper on forms of social organization Tribes Institutions Markets Networks RAND’s David Ronfeldt lays the foundation for further discussion on the dynamics of conflict over such values extended in his and John Arquilla’s paper Networks and Netwars which is also the title of an anthology edited by them that considers the implications of some of the questions you posit, like how civil society networks can effectively contain, curb, or overcome the criminal or anti-democratic behaviors of the other social actors.

    Perhaps of further interest to the discussion are questions of how the moral and ethical lessons learned within the structures of family, clan, tribe, and (ethnic) nation can be applied in negotiating such remedies as autonomy, sovereignty, and power-sharing within the modern state and multi-state institutions. Dr. Rudolph Ryser’s paper Toward the Coexistence of Nations and States is probably the most enlightening in that regard.


    Spartacus O'Neal

    March 29, 2007 at 3:11 am

  4. question; public administration is part of administration. Discuss.



    March 30, 2007 at 4:16 pm

  5. Or to better paraphrase Linda Richman: I’m a little verklempt. Talk amongst yourselves…I’ll give you a topic: Public Administration is neither public nor administrative.




    March 30, 2007 at 4:54 pm

  6. hi i have just started working on Indian Military organization reforms particularly through the lens of organizational theory. Can any one suggest books and articles pertinent to my research?



    June 26, 2009 at 11:23 am

  7. hi am iameck a student at Makerere university may you help me with the various theories used in public administration,and how can we help public administration to change their attitudes towards positive provision of services to the public


    opida lameck

    March 25, 2011 at 11:39 am

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