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Proceeding from Henry’s (1975) reflections, it is possible to identify six paradigmatic clusters that have historically defined the development of the public administration discipline. The importance of public administration is further underscored by the growing interest among the non-governmental actors, including corporate entities, to this discipline’s opportunities.
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Therefore, it is necessary to reach a conclusion on the importance and core principles of modern public administration. In so doing, the claim by Henry (1975) on codependence of ‘independent’ and ‘purposeful’ public administration paradigms warrants a special discussion.
Following Henry (1975) and Kartasasmita (2010), one may discern the following mode of paradigmatic succession in PA studies: from the politics/administration dichotomy (1900-1970), with a focus on the issues of administrative bodies’ synergy, efficient public works organization, and scientific management, to the “reinventing the government” (Kartasasmita, 2010) paradigm in which the main emphasis was placed on public-private partnership and the elimination of excessive bureaucracy.
Whereas previously the PA strategies were oriented towards rational and centralized regulation of social life, modern forms of the discipline are focusing on such sub-fields as administrative ethics, public service culture and/or electronic governance (Holzer & Schwester, 2011). By shifting its efforts from social engineering to public services’ delivery, the PA has become both more business-oriented, finding common ground with corporate governance studies, and human-centered, eschewing standard forms of organizational rigidity.
Thus, the modern PA demonstrates that it is both self-sufficient, as attested by the development of the new directions in the discipline, and coterminous with the private sector-oriented forms of organizational science. This conclusion would enable one to assert that Henry’s (1975) thesis has been validated by the PA studies’ development.
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