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One Big Weekend in the Adirondacks: The Future of Public Administration | Maxwell School
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Forgot your username? This article and the book of the same title presents the best of Minnowbrook III, held in late Phase One, a pre-conference workshop that included fifty-five participants at the original Minnowbrook site on Blue Mountain Lake, New York , was for scholars who had completed their PhD programmes within the previous ten years.
A total of scholars and practitioners from thirteen countries participated in Minnowbrook III. The Minnowbrook III conference was the most demographically and internationally diverse gathering of public administration scholars of the three meetings over the last forty years. Little doubt existed among those in attendance that the next gathering, to be held in , would be even more diverse and internationally representative.
The outcomes of both phases of Minnowbrook III involved analyses of the current state and future direction of the field. The two phases of the Minnowbrook III experience provide a useful analytical heuristic for understanding the evolution of the scholarly side of the field, as well as a set of benchmarks against which to measure the relevance of public administration scholarship in the future.
Minnowbrook III participants recognised a need to evaluate what works and what does not, before offering broad, untested theories and recommendations. The future, as represented by Minnowbrook III participants, clearly lies in a more global approach to thinking about institutions and the work of public administrators.
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Public Administration Going Global. The most prevalent and important issue addressed at Minnowbrook III was the impact of globalisation on the field. Public administration as a field of academic study has gone through several stages since its inception; globalisation has posed unprecedented challenges, and it is not an exaggeration to say that globalisation has caused a revolution in public administration in terms of increased studies in comparative public management, more public policy research that crosses international boundaries, and the increased role of international organisations in governance.
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Minnowbrook III participants illustrate concrete examples concerning how comparative public administration research and practice have responded, and continue to respond, to the challenges of globalisation. Some authors propose the integration of a global perspective in public administration scholarship. Other authors contribute to the volume by analysing a growing number of international organisations and regional networks of public administration that influence more comparative studies on good governance, government effectiveness, the New Public Management, government reforms and transparency in developed and developing countries.
And a number of scholars underscored the demand for scholarship that emphasises comparative public administration with a global perspective for the twenty-first century.
ISBN 10: 1589017110
The insights and analyses presented by these academics call for scholars in public administration to engage in critical dialogue on issues concerning the development of rigorous research methods for comparative studies with a global perspective. This, of course, is nothing new. What is new is how far-reaching the global perspective has become in the field. It is difficult to find a public administration scholar anywhere in the world today who does not have some sort of comparative experience or perspective.
Evolving from Government to Governance.
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Discussions and debates at Minnowbrook III centred on the fact that governance in many countries is changing from hierarchical and stovepiped orientations with government as the dominant actor to more networked forms of governance. In the latter form, government is an important institutional actor, but not the only or most important one.
Governance forms and functions are evolving and they manifest themselves and their connectedness to others through networks, contracts and a range of information technology innovations. At the same time, scholars of public administration are examining new and complex questions about authority, responsibility, the rule of law and citizen engagement. These are representative of current inquiry. What these new forms of governance suggest is that collaboration is the required norm, and that power is becoming diffused through a number of institutional mechanisms and policy instruments.
Accordingly, a different type of professional training and education will be needed to prepare public administrators to work with a range of institutional and individual actors and across governance domains and sectoral boundaries. Emerging from these governance changes is a field of public administration practice that is becoming more professionalised than in the past in terms of systems, processes and tools. Professionalisation, however, does not connote increased democratisation.
Rather, governance is taking shape across political forms, philosophies, cultures and citizenship. Some of those forms seek more active citizen engagement and participation, while others are evolving toward that state in only the most incremental of steps. This is one indication that while governance has become more global, diverse, and represented by complex governing arrangements and values, it is also a departure from the long dominant norms embedded in Western notions of democratic governance.
These changes will require more research and engagement between scholars and with practitioners and fundamental changes to teaching the next generation of leaders: They may very well be topics on the agenda at the Minnowbrook IV Conference in Looking Forward. The Future of Public Administration Around the World: The Minnowbrook Perspective is organised into six parts containing twenty-seven chapters written by seventeen seasoned scholars and twenty new scholars. The chapters in part I focus on the public organisations of the future.