Public Administration and Epistemology
Experience, Power, and Agency
Knowledge does not happen in a vacuum, yet scholars and other professionals tend to engage in management scholarship focused on their specific niche often without knowing if or how their work might relate to other research streams. Further exacerbating things, people within specific disciplines, including management, tend not to communicate regularly outside of their relatively homogeneous audiences. If we were able to bridge communication among these groups, scholars, and practitioners, we might be able to better understand one another in a way that is contextually informed by each other’s experiences.
Sementelli argues that understanding concepts of power, agency, and experience can provide such tools to orient management theories and practices relative to one another. Using critical management thought to frame a discussion of ontology and how knowledge emerges from it enables the development of an orienting "sandbox" that works both practically and intellectually. Such a "sandbox" enables us not just to communicate one’s organizational priorities but also reveal some underlying reasons for those priorities and areas of inquiry. This monograph focuses on public administration in particular as a special case of critical management research.
This book also examines the complexity of experiences (of being) using Karl Jaspers as a basis. The sandbox that emerges can be used as a way to organize and orient management thought, especially in the public sector. It contributes both to administrative thought and applied inquiry into philosophy and will be of interest to researchers, academics, and students in the fields of critical management studies, organizational studies, and public administration.
Table of Contents
Part 1: The Frame. 1. A question of experience: Jaspers and Key Concepts. 2. A Matter of Agency. 3. A Matter of Power. 4. The Sandbox. Part 2: Archetypes: The Powerless. 5. Infantilization. 6. Alienation. 7. Resistance. 8. Asceticism. Part 3: Archetypes: The Powerful. 9. Domination. 10. Radicals. 11. Statesmanship. 12. Maieutics. Part 4: Implications and Limits. 13. Toward an Existential understanding of Administration
Arthur J. Sementelli is Professor and Ph.D. Program Coordinator in the School of Public Administration at Florida Atlantic University, USA.