The Public Administration Theory Primer explores how the science and art of public administration is definable, describable, replicable, and cumulative. The authors survey a broad range of theories and analytical approaches—from public institutional theory to theories of governance—and consider which are the most promising, influential, and important for the field. This book paints a full picture of how these theories contribute to, and explain, what we know about public administration today.
The third edition is fully revised and updated to reflect the latest developments and research in the field including more coverage of governments and governance, feminist theory, emotional labor theory, and grounded research methodology. Expanded chapter conclusions and a brand-new online supplement with sample comprehensive exam questions and summary tables make this an even more valuable resource for all public administration students.
1. Introduction: The Possibilities of Theory
2. Theories of Political Control of Bureaucracy
3. Theories of Bureaucratic Politics
4. Public Institutional Theory
5. Theories of Public Management
6. Postmodern Theory
7. Decision Theory
8. Rational Choice Theory and Irrational Behavior
9. Theories of Governance
10. Conclusion: A Bright Future for Theory?
Praise for previous editions:
"The Public Administration Theory Primer is a succinct, clearly written text that engages thematically with historical and contemporary developments within public administration. It leaves readers with a clear understanding of how and why theoretical lenses emerged, and leads to critical thinking regarding the applicability of some theoretical foundations today." – Staci M. Zavattaro, Mississippi State University
"I have not found any other work that comes close to competing with this book for its purpose, which is to integrate in one volume the intellectual development of the field of public administration. I strongly encourage you to consider the primer if you are a serious student of the interconnectedness of public administration." – Alejandro Rodriguez, University of Texas, Arlington
"In all honesty, I revere this book. Many graduate students refer to the text as their "bible." It is an intellectual treasure, headed by a masterful scholar." – Casey LaFrance, Western Illinois University