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The Textbooks’ Codification

THE main elements of this codification of 1926-27 may be very briefly summarized: i. The politics-administration dichotomy was assumed both as a self-evident truth and as a desirable goal; administration was perceived as a self-contained world of its own, with its own separate values, rules, and methods. 2. Organization theory was stated in “scientific management” terms; that is, it was seen largely as a problem in organization technology-the necessities of hierarchy, the uses of staff agencies, a limited span of control, subdivision of work by such “scientific” principles as purpose, process, place, or clientele. 3. The executive budget was emphasized as an instrument of rationality, of coordination, planning, and control. 4. Personnel management was stressed as an additional element of rationality (jobs were to be described “scientifically,” employees were to be selected, paid, advanced by “scientific” methods). 5. A “neutral” or “impartial” career service was required to insure competence, expertise, rationality. 6. A body of administrative law was needed to prescribe standards of due process in administrative conduct. In these pioneer texts the responsibility of administrative agencies to popular control was a value taken-for-granted; the responsiveness of administrators and bureaucrats was not seen as a problem because everyone then understood that politics and policy were separate from administration, which was concerned exclusively with the execution of assignments handed down from the realm of politics. The events of the 1930’s-depression, New Deal, the rise of Big Government-served at first to confirm the premises of the texts. The expansion of government, especially the great growth in the size, complexity, and discretionary power of administrative agencies, was regarded as making all the more relevant and urgent the tools of rationality which public administration offered to the practitioners in the new and expanded agencies of the executive branch. Many of the teachers and the students of public administration themselves became practitioners. The Report of the President’s Committee on Administrative Management and its literary companion-piece, the Gulick and Urwick Papers on the Science of Administration (Institute of Public Administration, Columbia University), both appearing in 1937, represent the high noon of orthodoxy in public administration theory in the United States. In the Gulick and Urwick Papers were brought together eleven essays constituting the classic statements then available in the United States and Europe, in business and public administration, of the elements believed to be embodied in the science of administration. (It is perhaps worth noting that of the ten authors only Gulick wrote as a political scientist.) The Report of the President’s Committee, for its part, set forth in eloquent language the prescriptions of public administration made orthodox by the texts of 1926-27. The significant and impressive managerial changes in the executive branch of the national government which were made as a result of the Report strengthened the prestige of public administration as a body of precepts.

Post-War Dissent

BUT the high noon of orthodoxy had a brief hour of prominence. World War II interrupted the further development of public administration research and literature, and at the close of the war the resumption took the form of dissent and heterodoxy. Prewar orthodoxy, it is true, was reasserted in the Reports of the two Hoover Commissions, in most of the textbooks, and in the rash of post-war administrative surveys at state and local government levels. There was, however, a strong ferment of dissent in the monographic literature, in the journals, and elsewhere. The dissent took three main lines: . The assault upon the politics-administration dichotomy. This keystone of pre-war orthodox public administration had always been viewed with some skepticism by a considerable number of political scientists (particularly by those mainly concerned with political theory or with the political process); to them, all administrative agencies and their staffs seemed to be involved in politics. This view was now to recruit strong support from within the public administration fraternity itself. The first textbook to appear after the war-Fritz Morstein Marx (editor), The Elements of Public Administration (Prentice-Hall, 1946), with 14 political scientists among its contributors-brought a new, if still mild, emphasis upon the involvement of administrators and administrative agencies in policy formation, in the use of discretionary power, and in the general political process. In 1949 Paul H. Appleby’s influential monograph, Policy and Administration (University of Alabama Press), boldly and persuasively described administration as “the eighth political process.” In 1950 the second post-war text-Herbert A. Simon, Donald W. Smithburg, and Victor A. Thompson, Public Administration (Alfred A. Knopf) -presented a systematic exposition of public administration as a political and group process. In 1952 the first casebook in public administration-significantly titled Public Administration and Policy Development, Harold Stein (editor), (Harcourt, Brace and Co.)-emphasized in each of its case studies the political role of the administrator; and, in the introductory essay, Harold Stein wrote incisively of “public administration as politics.” These several illustrations serve to reveal the stages by which public administration as politics, as involved deeply in policy and values, was firmly established in the literature of public administration within a few years after the war. Even the most orthodox texts yielded some ground on the doctrine that politics and administration were separable. 2. The assault upon the claims to science and to universal principles of administration. The premises which pre-war public administration had borrowed primarily from scientific management were of course necessarily subjected to criticism by all those who were asserting that administration was a political process. These critics were soon joined by the students of the history and development of administrative theory. When, for example, Dwight Waldo published in 1948 his important study, The A dministrative State: A Study of the Political Theory of American Public Administration (The Ronald Press), he demonstrated how value-loaded, how culture-bound, how political-in short, how “unscientific”-were the premises, the “principles,” the logic, of orthodox public administration. To these powerful critical voices there was soon added a third group: the prophets of a new science of administration. The outstanding representative of this school of thought has been Herbert Simon whose Administrative Behavior: A Study of Decision-Making Processes in Administrative Organizations (Macmillan Co., 1947) not only attacked the orthodox “principles” of public administration as being merely “proverbs” but also presented a new administrative science based upon the argument of logical-positivism that facts must be separated from values. For Simon, the orthodox politics-administration dichotomy was to be replaced by the new fact-value dichotomy. These critics have successfully made their point. The claims to scientific principles and to their universal applicability have been placed on the defensive although they have not entirely disappeared from the literature of public administration. But the claims of a new science of administration have not been widely accepted. 3. “Sociological” studies of bureaucracy. Another stream of ideas and knowledge contributing to the post-war growth of dissent from orthodoxy has been the “sociological” study of the public bureaucracies as representing in themselves a form of political power. The primary impact of these studies has been upon the orthodox doctrines of the neutral career service. Philip Selznick’s TVVA and the Grass Roots (University of California Press, 1948), for example, revealed a career bureaucracy deeply involved in the political process, demonstrating that the creation and maintenance of a career bureaucracy is more a problem in values and politics than a problem of administrative science

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