“ A significant motivation of comparative PA is to discover regularities
through the human experiences, irrespective of place and time.”
– Jreisat 2002, 5
Woodrow Wilson (1887): administrative-politics dichotomy
Administration is “government in action” (14); it is the executive,
the operative, the most visible part side of government (14)
Who shall make law, and what shall that law be (politics)?
How law should be administered (administration)?
Administration lies “outside the sphere of politics” (20)
Politics is state activity “in things great and universal”
versus administration as“the activity of the state in
individual and small things”
General plans (politics) versus special means
Max Weber (1922; Gerth/Mills translation 1946):
ideal type of bureaucracy
Principle of fixed and official jurisdictional areas
Office hierarchy and of levels of graded authority
Management based on written documents
Specialized office through expert training
Develops three axioms that lead to his “institutional
Action by the institution constitutes the internal dynamics of the
Institution must function continuously if it is to stay in existence
What the institution does is its purpose
Institutional imperative: “every action or decision of an
institution must be intended to keep the institutional
machinery working” (49)
Cynical description of reality in politics through death
of an invented public hero
Depicting a completely acceptable character of the
“hero”; death of “the greatest man”
“Perilous heights of fame (126); “a accidental death of its
most illustrious and spectacular figure” (128)
Comparative Pubic Administration:
Towards a synthesis
Origins and development of the field
Conceptualizing comparative public administration
Origins and development of field
Emergence of field of public administration
Politics - administration dichotomy (Wilson 1887)
“Ideal type” of bureaucracy (Weber 1922)
Comparative public administration: move away from
Origins and development of field
1960s-early ‘70s: ‘New’ public administration
Obligations of PA to society: activism, ethics, solution to
The administration of development programs, to the methods used by
large scale organizations to implement policies and plans to meet their
development objectives (Riggs 1971)
Away from Western-centered; unique challenges, contexts
CAG; Ford Foundation; Riggs
Postmodernism: Movement away from rationality as answer
New Public Management
‘reinventing government’: decentralization, contracting, privatization,
What is CPA?
“comparative study of institutions, processes, and
behaviors in many contexts” (Jreisat , 2002)
Objective of CP
The discovery of patterns and regularities of administrat
ive action and behavior across cultures in order to produ
ce new knowledge and to affirm or refine existing inform
Why we compare?
Increasingly globalized, interdependent world
Expand our knowledge and understanding of
What works: characteristics of
performance; best practices
Insight for practitioners of various political
contexts and impact on administration
What is it? (Heidenheimer et al. 1990)
Many different meanings, but in social sciences often focus on:
Public-office centered, market-centered, and public interest-centered
Friedrich: “behavior which deviates from the norm actually prevalent .
. . [and is] deviant behavior associated with . . . private gain at public
Why is it a problem?
Challenges for developing countries
“Man is conceived in sin and born in corruption” (Warren 1946,
223, All the king’s men); “Brant seized the greatest man in the
world and pushed him out the window” (Thurber 1991, 138-146)
Riggs: “prismatic model pertaining to the
ecology of administration in a type of society”
(Heady 2001, 96)
Almond and Verba: civic culture, types of
Picard: historical, and contemporary political
(and bureaucratic) structures and processes (2);
authoritarian political culture (5); inherited
authoritarian patterns of government (6)
Wilson, Woodrow, “The study of administration,” in Shafritz, Jay M.,
and Albert C. Hyde. 2007. Classics of public administration. 6th ed.
Boston: Thomson Wadsworth.
Weber, Max, “Bureaucracy,” in Shafritz, Jay M., and Albert C. Hyde.
2007. Classics of public administration. 6th ed. Boston: Thomson
Thurber, James, “The greatest men in the world,” in Archer, Jeffrey, and
Simon Bainbridge. 1991. Fools, knaves, and heroes: great political short
stories. 1st American ed. New York: Norton.
Kharasch, Robert N. 1973. The institutional imperative; how to
understand the United States Government and other bulky objects. New
York,: Charterhouse Books.
Picard, Louis A. 2005. The state of the state: institutional
transformation, capacity and political change in South Africa.
Johannesburg: Wits University Press.
Heady, Ferrel. 2001. Public administration: a comparative perspective.
6th ed. New York: Marcel Dekker.
Jreisat, Jamil E. 2002. Comparative public administration and policy.
Boulder, Colo. Oxford: Westview.
Baker, Randall. 1994. Comparative public management : putting U.S.
public policy and implementation in context. Westport, Conn.: Praeger.
Bekke, A. J. G. M., James L. Perry, and T. A. J. Toonen. 1996. Civil service
systems in comparative perspective. Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana