Political Science and Public Administration: A Necessary Cleft?

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Public Administration Review


This article comments on an article about public administration and political science in the U.S. by Marcia Lynn Whicker, Ruth Ann Strickland and Dorothy Olshfski, published in the November/December 1993 issue of "Public Administration Review." In their thoughtful piece, they call for mutual and amicable work at the common interface that focuses on questions that target concepts and variables of common interest. For them, the advantages of working at the common interface is an increase in knowledge about how the political system converts inputs into outputs. Furthermore, they would expect the field of public administration to become more rigorous from the interaction. For them, public administration lacks the scientific rigor necessary to answer questions with which public managers must cope. The lack of rigor is best rectified by political scientists and public administrationists working at the common interface. We applaud their contribution to the ongoing debate about political science and public administration but find their call for work at the interface troublesome. In making their arguments, the authors appear unaware of on-going and important controversies within the field of public administration.



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