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Edmund C. Stazyk and H. George Frederickson

Since its inception, the aim of this Handbook has been three-fold. We have sought, first and foremost, to assemble a unique collection of chapters that offers our readers a broad yet comprehensive scholarly overview of US public administration theory and practice—to be sure, a daunting task. United States public administration is vast in its domains, covering considerable intellectual terrain. For example, Dimock and colleagues have characterized merely the study of public administration in the following manner. [P]ublic administration examines every aspect of government’s efforts to discharge the laws and to give effect to public policy; as a process, it is all the steps taken between the time an enforcement agency assumes a jurisdiction and the last brick is placed (but includes also the agency’s participation, if any, in the formulation of the programme in the first place); and, as a vocation, it is organizing and directing the activities of others in a public agency. (Dimock et al. 1958, pp. 11–12)

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Edmund C. Stazyk and H. George Frederickson

In our introduction, we noted that our aim in this Handbook was to assemble a group of established and emerging scholars - experts in their respective areas of research - to assess the current state of US public administration theory and practice. We also asked our contributors to share their thoughts on the future direction of the field - how, in their minds, the field should or must evolve and grow in coming decades. In addition, our introduction characterized the intellectual universe of US public administration as vast in its domains, covering a widely diverse set of issues and topics that are each significant in their own right. So, what have we learned about the current state and future aims of US public administration of theory and practice from the contributions found in this Handbook?