Project

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The normative-analytical divide in 20th century public administration thought. A history of ideas of US-American and Continental European administrative science

English title The normative-analytical divide in 20th century public administration thought. A history of ideas of US-American and Continental European administrative science
Applicant Sager Fritz
Number 119458
Funding scheme ProDoc
Research institution Institut für Politikwissenschaft Universität Bern
Institution of higher education University of Berne - BE
Main discipline Political science
Start/End 01.10.2008 - 30.04.2012
Approved amount 501'045.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Political science
General history (without pre-and early history)

Keywords (7)

history of ideas; USA; Germany; France; knowledge transfer; 20th century; theory of Public Administration

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary
Project Title: The Normative-Analytical Divide in 20th Century Administration Thought. A History of US-American and Continental European Administrative Science

Lead: Prof. Fritz Sager (University of Berne) and Prof. Andreas Ladner (IDHEAP Lausanne)

Theoretical Approach/Method: History of Ideas (Cambridge School); Discourse Theoretical Approach; Hermeneutic Textual Comparison (qualitative and quantitative)

Abstract: The proposed research project will investigate in the traditions in 20th century public administrative thought in Europe and the USA and their mutual perception. Public administration research takes on different forms in Europe and the USA. As Stillman (1997: 337) argues, Public Administration as both theory and praxis can only be understood within the peculiar nation-state context: "Continental Europeans deduce Public Administration from reason of state whereas America's missing sense of state forces us [i.e. US-American administrative scientists] to induce state from Public Administration. This fundamental difference, a deductive vs. an inductive way of thinking about the field, stands as a great divide separating the two sides of the Atlantic. It can be a source of considerable confusion and misunderstanding. Neither side quite knows how to make sense out of the other's administrative sciences." In our project, we take Stillman's analysis to derive the hypothesis that due to their differing roots and nation-state contexts, US-American administrative science has a fundamentally normative and prescriptive orientation towards betterment of public administration throughout the various concepts it produced in the 20th century, while the European focus is primarily analytical, i.e. oriented towards better understanding of public administration. The aim of our research is to test this guiding hypothesis in a historical perspective from the beginning of the American study of public administration and the German Verwaltungsrecht as scientific disciplines at the end of the 19th century until today (Raadschelders 2000: 504; Stillman 1991: 9; Stolleis 1992: 229) In order to do so, we take advantage of the fact that there has been interaction between and mutual reading of the two sides and their approaches. Our research design consists of the analysis of the mutual perception of administrative research in and from the USA and Europe. The project is split up in three sub-projects guided by the same main question: Do authors referring to literature from the other side of the Atlantic re-interpret this literature in accordance with the dominant orientation of the respective public administrative science tradition? Are there changes in the perception over time, i.e. do we find convergence or not?
The three dissertation projects will analyze (1) the perception of German and French literature in US-American administrative science, (2) the perception of US-American literature in German administrative science, and (3) the perception of US-American literature in French administrative science. Projects No 1 and 2 will be located at the University of Bern, No 3 at the IDHEAP. All three dissertations are planned to take three years from 2008 to 2011.
The proposed study builds upon existing research undertaken at the University of Bern on the convergence between Woodrow Wilson and Max Weber, the two dominant exponents of early US-American and European administrative science respectively (Sager/Rosser 2007). The relevance of the project is twofold: First, the mutual perception of US-American and Continental European administrative science so far constitutes a major research gap in the history of administrative thought. Second, the research will contribute to a body of basic knowledge about administrative ideas that can serve as a profound theoretical foundation for Swiss administrative science in general, and the doctoral school specifically.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Die Geschichte der Verwaltungswissenschaften in der Schweiz
Sager Fritz, Hurni Pascal (2013), Die Geschichte der Verwaltungswissenschaften in der Schweiz, in Ladner Andreas, et al. (ed.), 61-74.
Examining Frank J. Goodnow’s Hegelian Heritage: A Contribution to Understanding Progressive Administrative Theory
Rosser Christian (2013), Examining Frank J. Goodnow’s Hegelian Heritage: A Contribution to Understanding Progressive Administrative Theory, in Administration and Society, 45(9), 1063-1094.
Histoire des sciences administratives en Suisse
Sager Fritz, Hurni Pascal (2013), Histoire des sciences administratives en Suisse, in Ladner Andreas, et al. (ed.), PPUR, Lausanne, 47-62.
Woodrow Wilson's Administrative Thought and German Political Theory
Rosser C (2010), Woodrow Wilson's Administrative Thought and German Political Theory, in PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION REVIEW, 70(4), 547-556.
Weber, Wilson, and Hegel: Theories of Modern Bureaucracy
Sager F, Rosser C (2009), Weber, Wilson, and Hegel: Theories of Modern Bureaucracy, in PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION REVIEW, 69(6), 1136-1147.
How Traditional Are the American, the French, and the German Traditions of Public Administration? A Research Agenda
Sager Fritz, Rosser Christian, Hurni Pascal Y., Mavrot Céline, How Traditional Are the American, the French, and the German Traditions of Public Administration? A Research Agenda, in Public Administration.
Johann Caspar Bluntschli’s Organic Theory of State and Public Administration
Rosser Christian, Johann Caspar Bluntschli’s Organic Theory of State and Public Administration, in Administrative Theory & Praxis, 36(1).
Prelude to Public Administration: Essential Early German and Dutch Thinking on Administration
Sager Fritz, Rutgers Mark (ed.), Prelude to Public Administration: Essential Early German and Dutch Thinking on Administration, Administrative Theory and Praxis, 36(1).
The European Public Servant: A Shared Administrative Identity?
Sager Fritz, Overeem Patrick (ed.), The European Public Servant: A Shared Administrative Identity?, ECPR Press, Colchester.
The Value of Early Thinkers
Sager Fritz, Rutgers Mark, The Value of Early Thinkers, in Administrative Theory & Praxis , 36(1), 25-31.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Universität Leiden Netherlands (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Université de Toulouse Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Universität Amsterdam Netherlands (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
5th Annual Conference of the Cluster of Excellence "Asia and Europe in a Global Context": “Managing Empires. Cooperation, Competition, Conflict” Talk given at a conference 09.10.2013 Heidelberg, Germany Sager Fritz;
Berlin Public Management and Governance Research Colloquium an der Hertie School of Government in Berlin Individual talk 04.10.2011 Berlin, Germany Sager Fritz;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
Workshops “The European Public Servant: A Shared Administrative Identity?” (zusammen mit Prof. Patrick Overeem, Universiteit Leiden) an den ECPR Joint Sessions 2012 in Antwerpen 10.04.2012 Antwerpen, Belgium
Tagung „Öffentliche Verwaltung im Wandel. Verwaltungsreformen in der Schweiz im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert“ im Schweizerischen Bundesarchiv 16.09.2011 Bern, Switzerland
Max Weber Forum at EGPA Conference, Bukarest, Rumänien 08.09.2011 Bukarest, Romania
Qualitatives Forschungsseminars „Der Transfer staatstheoretischer und verwaltungswissenschaftlicher Ideen im 20. Jahrhundert“ 20.09.2010 Bern, Switzerland
Panel 16 “A Prelude to Public Administration: Essential early European authors on Administration” at the International Research Society for Public Management (IRSPM) 2010 conference in Bern 08.04.2010 Bern, Switzerland
Workshop on the History of Administrative Ideas in the 20th Century 10.02.2009 Bern, Switzerland

Awards

Title Year
Aufnahme des Aufsatzes SAGER, Fritz, and Christian ROSSER (2013). "Weber, Wilson, and Hegel: Theories of Modern Bureaucracy", in die Anthologie Massey, Andrew (ed.). Public Sector Reform. Volume I: The Historical Perspective of Reform. London: Sage, pp.65-90. [Reprint from Public Administration Review 69(6): 1136-1147] 2013
Marshall E. Dimock Award for the best lead article in Public Administration Review during the volume 2010

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