Public Policy (Public Administration) An Interdisciplinary Critical Analysis

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Public Policy (Public Administration) An Interdisciplinary Critical Analysis

Eran Vigoda

Public administration is a discipline in transition. In fact, it has always been in continuous movement, but not always in the same direction. Contrary to the heavy, formal, and inflexible image of bureaucracies, public sector bodies in America, Europe, and elsewhere have been in a rapidly intensifying transition since the early 1990s. During the last century, public administration underwent significant changes resulting from crises, as well as breakthroughs in an ultradynamic environment. Some 30 years ago, Waldo (1968) noted that these ongoing transformations reflected an identity crisis of a science in formation. They also signaled a struggle for the recognition and legitimacy of public administration as an art, a body of knowledge, and a profession (Lynn, 1996). It seems that today, at the beginning of the 21st century, the formation of public administration is still unfinished business. It is a subject for debate among academics and practitioners across the world who seek higher and more extensive scientific recognition, more accurate self-definition, and better applicability of the field to rapid changes in modern life. This process presents new challenges for public administration. Perhaps the most important is to integrate more widely existing knowledge of the social sciences with efficient public action and with quality governmental operation. In the coming years public administration will be evaluated by higher standards of theory cohesiveness and by more comprehensive performance indicators rooted in a variety of scientific fields. The exploration of new interdisciplinary horizons for public administration is thus essential and inevitable for the successful passage of the field into the third millennium.

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