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A Research Agenda for Public Administration

Edited by Andrew Massey, Professor, University of Exeter, UK
This book addresses salient current issues in public administration research. It seeks to suggest where future research may or indeed ought to be focussed. To advocate the future routes for the development of research, this book is divided into themes, with a clear overlap between different approaches. The book has contributions that will assist students of public administration/public sector management and public policy, especially new PhD students, but will also be a useful resource for more established researchers to understand the major emerging issues within the field.
Extent: c 264 pp
Hardback Price: $150.00 Web: $135.00
Publication Date: March 2019
ISBN: 978 1 78811 724 1
Availability: Not yet published (pre-order)

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  • Business and Management
  • Public Management
  • Politics and Public Policy
  • Public Administration and Management
  • Public Policy
Elgar Research Agendas outline the future of research in a given area. Leading scholars are given the space to explore their subject in provocative ways, and map out the potential directions of travel. They are relevant but also visionary.

In order to be successful, public administration (PA) research has to be methodologically promiscuous. Attempting either quantitative or qualitative purity is no way to reflect the complex realities of public administration in the real world. Looking to the future of the subject, this Research Handbook seeks to suggest the future of PA research and the directions which it may – or should – take.

With chapters from leading researchers, A Research Agenda for Public Administration offers observations, analysis, and concerns from researchers. With thematically linked chapters, this book focuses and clarifies the current research agenda for public administration while endorsing the need for relevant research in the field and advocating for theory which fits the reality and practice of public administration, for example, in the areas of climate change, disease control, and migration and inequality.

This Research Agenda will assist students of PA as well as of public sector management, especially postgraduates, but it is also a useful resource for more established researchers seeking to understand the major emerging issues.
‘This surprising book does not just present a research agenda. Leading public administration scholars ask important questions about the relevance of the field: why are we doing this? And they’re not afraid of slaughtering a herd of sacred cows on the road to relevance.’
– Steven Van de Walle, KU Leuven Public Governance Institute, Belgium

‘Andrew Massey has assembled an all-star cast of mostly European public administration scholars to develop, as the title suggests, a research agenda for the field of public administration. Most assuredly the book does that, and does it exceedingly well, as current research approaches are examined from many perspectives, both critically and analytically. What is most intriguing however is whether Massey intentionally set out to do what this book so ably does and that is to demonstrate that the most substantively interesting scholarship in the field is now being done on the European side of the Atlantic Ocean. This book is a must read for scholars on both sides of the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans.’
– Allan Rosenbaum, Florida International University, United Nations Committee of Experts on Public Administration and International Commission on the Accreditation of Public Administration Education and Training Programs – IASIA, US

Contributors include: T. Brandsen, G. Brewer, W. Dreschsler, P. Dunleavy, C.A. Dunlop, M. Evans, M. Halupka, S. Kuhlman, T.R. Liiv, A. Massey, C. McGregor, K. Pan-Suk, C. Pollitt, C.M. Radaelli, T. Randma-Liiv, R. Rhodes, K. Sarapuu, T. Steen, B. Verschuere, D. Walker, L. Zhiyong


1. A Research Agenda for Public Administration and Public Sector Management
Andrew Massey

2. Public Administration: the interpretive turn, and storytelling
R.A.W Rhodes

3. Shadowland: the poorly-mapped, under-discussed yet vital interface between public administration research and practice
Christopher Pollitt

4. To what extent can we frame questions that deliver useful answers for policymakers and practitioners?
David Walker

5. Public Administration into the wild: grappling with co-production and social innovation
Trui Steen, Taco Brandsen and Bram Verschure

6. Bracing for impact: is public administration ready to be relevant?
Claire A. Dunlop

7. Regulation and Corruption: claims, evidence and explanations
Claire A. Dunlop and Claudio M. Radaelli

8.Developments of modern public administration in East Asia: similarities and dissimilarities among China, Japan and South Korea
Kim Pan-Suk

9. A research agenda for public administration in China in the ‘Xi New Era’
Lan Zhiyong

10. Towards digital era governance: lessons from the Australian experience
Mark Evans, Patrick Dunleavy, Carmel McGregor and Max Halupka

11. Public governance in small states: from paradoxes to research agenda
Tiina Randma-Liiv and Külli Sarape

12. Comparative public administration and administrative reforms
Sabine Kuhlman

13. Public service motivation: overcoming major obstacles to research progress
Gene A. Brewer

14. After public administration scholarship
Wolfgang Drechsler