Analyzing the USA, Germany and France
Chapter 8: Lessons learned: making administrative theory more realistic and administrative practice more successful
The book has shown how ideas travel and under what conditions recipient traditions adapt and change. However, change is not a dichotomous concept and adaptation is best understood as incremental learning, eventually leading to gradual change rather than a full turnaround. The implications of these findings are threefold. First, our study strongly indicates a prudent treatment of administrative traditions as an explanatory variable in comparative Public Administration. Second, the core conditions for adoption of transferred ideas in administrative practice are threefold: demand for novel ideas, supportive actor networks and the institutionalization of the new idea. Finally, relevant Public Administration must thus keep in touch with public administrative practice. New concepts may fail in administrative practice. The inductive study of new theories has the important potential of preventing frustration when this happens. We therefore claim a concrete practical relevance of the historical study of administrative theory.
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