Edited by Andrew Massey
Chapter 4: To what extent can we frame questions that deliver useful answers for policymakers and practitioners?
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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