A Research Agenda for Public Administration
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A Research Agenda for Public Administration

Edited by Andrew Massey

This book addresses salient current issues in public administration research. It seeks to suggest where future research may or indeed ought to be focussed. To advocate the future routes for the development of research, this book is divided into themes, with a clear overlap between different approaches. The book has contributions that will assist students of public administration/public sector management and public policy, especially new PhD students, but will also be a useful resource for more established researchers to understand the major emerging issues within the field.
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Chapter 4: To what extent can we frame questions that deliver useful answers for policymakers and practitioners?

David Walker


The impact of public administration as a body of studies is assessed in relation to New Public Management (NPM) and the ideological attack on the state and reductions in its size and staffing over the past 40 years. Did the discipline support or oppose NPM or, paradoxically, flourish even as practical public administration declined? Perhaps public administration practice and studies exist solipsistically, in non-communication. A precondition of ‘impact’ is speech and mutual intelligibility. A sustainable account of what happens in public administration cannot use classification and descriptions that make no sense to public managers, officials and policymakers.It cannot be given – either – only in terms familiar to those actors. The future of public administration as a discipline lies in negotiating the semantic space in between.

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