Importance of Woodrow Wilson's essay in Public Administration

The essay of Woodrow Wilson the study of administration was the most important document in the development of PA. Comment.
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A systematic treatise on subject matter is indispensable for not only presenting the author’s view points but also establishing the subject as a distinct discipline in some cases. Woodrow Wilson’s seminal 1987 treatise ‘The study of administration’, achieved both these purposes.
Till 1887, PA was not identified as a distinct discipline, a coherent subject having its characteristic identity which could separate it from other disciplines. ‘The study of administration’ established the subject matter in coherent manner.

The purpose of Wilson in doing so was manifold; he wanted to approach the study of administration from a scientific perspective, taking help from comparative analysis from different disciplines and regions. He was a thinker who recognized the importance of subsequent ‘comparative administration’ which was till now unrecognized and unthought of. He tried to de-link politics and administration, and emphasized on administration as containing elements distinct from that of politics and political science (a subject that had gained significance till then).

In fact the relevance of the essay is evident from the fact that genesis of PA as a distinct discipline which is divided into six phases, originate from the year 1887 itself. His study emphasizing administration as science, distinct discipline having characteristics subject matter, emphasis on comparative analysis, politics-administration dichotomy (which is a controversial thought) has been subsequently revised and understood better because of later developments. Immediate consequence was the emergence of the scientific management and classical theorists, for whom he provided a launch pad.

Inspite of the fact that some of his thoughts were not too clear, chiefly the politics-administration dichotomy and his continuous revision of his draft of ‘study of administration’, we can say that genesis of PA as a distinct discipline can be traced from his essay and hence his work is the most important document in the development of the subject.

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Some Appreciation Please!

  Posted on Saturday, August 15th, 2015 at 1:26 PM under   Polity