Exorcising Our Demons: Comments on a New Direction for Public Administration Theory

Bruce D. McDonald, III


The field of public administration has grown accustomed to the presence of an identity crisis. In his opus, Dubnick (2018) addresses the existence of this crisis, noting where we are as a field and highlighting some of the debate that got us there. In response to Dubnick, I argue that our position as a profession rather than a discipline relates to the failure of the field to pay attention to our history. Giving consideration to our history, we find that public administration as a discipline contains those who study public administration, and a profession or practice of those who are public administrators. As a field, the conversation should move beyond the study or the practice and accept the duality that is a sign a mature subject area.


Bureau of Municipal Research; Discipline; Profession; Public Administration Theory

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.20899/jpna.4.1.116-120


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