Reframing public administration: a systems-methodological analysis of governance and the role of public administration

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Virginia Tech

Despite repeated attempts, no normative theory of public administration has emerged that fully and satisfactorily answers questions about the role of public administration, and public administrators, in the process of governance. This dissertation argues that such questions are unresolvable because they are framed in terms of overly simplistic systems metaphors relating to machines and organisms. When theories are framed in terms of these metaphors, they lead inexorably to dichotomies between politics and administration, policy and implementation, and between the society and its government. The dissertation attempts to "reframe" our concept of governance in terms of another metaphor that supports a view of governance as a process that is deeply interrelated and interconnected with its social environment.