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Toward a Relevant Agenda for a Responsive Public Administration
Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory (2007)
  • Thomas A Bryer, University of Central Florida

The relevance of the concept "bureaucratic responsiveness" has been questioned in recent years. One reason for the questioned relevance is the apparent environmental changes that are occurring in public administration. Globalization and devolution have infiltrated the halls of bureaucracies. Public agencies are being asked to collaborate with actors in other sectors of society, including, and especially, citizens and citizen associations. In addition to these environmental changes, administrators are being confronted with potentially competing ethical obligations that make decisions regarding responsiveness challenging. This article uses these evolving environments and competing ethical obligations to formulate a set of six variants of bureaucratic responsiveness: dictated, constrained, purposive, entrepreneurial, collaborative, and negotiated. It is argued that to be relevant, writers and researchers in public administration need to consider each of these variants and how they potentially collide with each other to shape administrator thought and behavior, particularly in the collaborative context. In conclusion, it is suggested that calls for the abandonment of "responsiveness" as a central concept in public administration are premature, and emerging research questions are offered.

  • bureaucratic responsiveness,
  • ethics
Publication Date
Citation Information
Thomas A Bryer. "Toward a Relevant Agenda for a Responsive Public Administration" Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory Vol. 17 Iss. 3 (2007)
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