Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Urban Studies and Public Affairs


Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs

First Advisor

William Bowen, PhD

Subject Headings

Public Administration


In The Administrative State, Dwight Waldo challenges the discipline of Public Administration to remember the purpose of or meaning behind the discipline. In response to Waldo’s question “efficiency for what?”, this dissertation interprets the motivating values of the calls for reform to the process of governance at the turn of the twentieth century in Chicago. The research uses a narrative analysis of archived and published texts of Progressive reformers from the City of Chicago. Philip Selznick’s concept of the process of institutionalization, or to infuse with value, merged with Anthony Giddens’s concept of contextuality guides the interpretation of the actions of the reformers. The concept of institution as a process that infuses a social structure with values at a specific time in a specific place allows for an interpretation of the motivating values of reformers within a physical environment or community. The motivating values of reformers reflect the meaning of the calls for reforms in Chicago.