Religion and Public Administration


Religion and Public Administration

An Introduction

9781800888029 Edward Elgar Publishing
Edoardo Ongaro, Professor of Public Management, the Open University, UK and Michele Tantardini, Assistant Professor of Public Administration, Penn State Harrisburg, US
Publication Date: 2023 ISBN: 978 1 80088 802 9 Extent: 262 pp
Exploring the manifold relationships between religion and public administration, this topical book conceptualises and theorises the diverse influence of religions on the functioning of public administrative systems across the globe.

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Exploring the manifold relationships between religion and public administration, this topical book conceptualises and theorises the diverse influence of religions on the functioning of public administrative systems across the globe.

International and comparative in approach, this book analyses the social and public dimensions to religion and its interplay with public administration as a field of social scientific inquiry and an area of professional activity. Taking methodological agnosticism as its sociological perspective to the study of the religious experience, chapters focus on Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Shintoism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam to examine diverse religious compositions across both secularised and non-secularised societies and political regimes. The book uses a distinctive theoretical lens to analyse the influence of religions on organisational fit, public service motivation, individual and organisational behaviours and values, bureaucratic discretion, government funding, the delivery of public services, and the dynamics of social cohesion overall. It provides a fresh perspective on religion as a source of legitimacy and basis of accountability, responsibility, and delegation of power in public administration, institutional quality, and ethics.

Students and scholars interested in the religious dimensions to public administration, policy, governance and management will find use in this book’s theoretical analyses. Its empirical findings will also be valuable to policymakers working in public administration and leaders of faith organisations engaged in public services.
Critical Acclaim
‘The books primary strength is its usefulness in the design phase of future research projects that seek to examine religion and PA. I can also see this being of benefit to academics designing lectures on religion and PA. While undergraduate students will find the book advanced, those with a firm grounding in public administration concepts should find this readily accessible.’
– Karl O’Connor, International Public Management Journal

‘The book is an extremely useful read not only for those interested in the religion-public administration connection but for all those trying to understand administrative systems in their complexity and sophistication connected with diverse beliefs, values, cultures, and strategic perspectives. As such, it represents an important source in the process of knowing and understanding administrative sciences.’
– Calin Emilian, Transylvanian Journal of Public Administration

‘Ongaro and Tantardini deserve commendation for addressing the gap in the literature on religion and PA. A book like this was long overdue.’
– Robert van Putten, Journal of Religion, Culture & Democracy

‘Religion and Public Administration: An Introduction by Edoardo Ongaro and Michele Tantardini makes a novel and pretty unique contribution to public administration studies, being probably the only book length work on this topic. It is an inspiring work that could provide food for thought in the public administration global debate and potentially launch an unexplored research agenda.’
– Paolo Fedele, Chinese Public Administration Review

‘This book is a revelation about both the influences of religion on public administration and how the field could be enriched from deeper scholarly attention to religion. I am struck by the breadth of the relevance of religion to public administration. The authors illuminate the relevance of the world’s great religions to the field as a whole and to prominent research streams, such as public service motivation. Ongaro and Tantardini offer new perspectives for all public administration scholars to consider and embrace in their research and teaching.’
– James L. Perry, Indiana University, Bloomington, US

‘Religion and Public Administration draws a welcome and comprehensive picture of the ways through which religions influence motivations, behaviours, the ideational basis of a society and ultimately the rules and practices of public administrations. By focusing on Abrahamic and Asian religions, Ongaro and Tantardini offer a global, fresh and convincing interpretation that reconsiders the historical roots of administrative systems through a comparative perspective.’
– Giliberto Capano, University of Bologna, Italy

‘Well-structured and thoughtfully written, this book is the result of an ambitious project. It addresses a truly original topic and provides an authentic look on the vast subject of the relationship between religion and public administration. Attempting to capture various insights, stemming from a wide range of academic corners, the authors managed to bring all this knowledge together in a coherent argument. Their pursuit of the objective of “bridging” while going through a highly fragmented scholarly landscape, can only be welcomed. An impressive tour de force.’
– Peter Hupe, KU Leuven Public Governance Institute, Belgium

‘If there’s anything Max Weber might have been wrong about, it’s the disenchantment of the world – there is very little of the sort, or if there is, it is hardly ever complete. And even where rationalization has set in, few things inform values and institutions in time and space as much as its respective religion(s). Ongaro and Tantardini have shouldered the Herculean task to (re)introduce the public administration community to the function and legacy of religion, and one hopes that many of its members will rise up the challenge and engage with this fascinating and multifaceted account.’
– Wolfgang Drechsler, Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia
Contents: 1. Introduction: a framework of analysis of the relationship between religion and public administration 2. Religions and religious regimes across the world 3. A PA-focused introduction to Asian religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Shintoism 4. A PA-focused introduction to Judaism, Christianity and Islam 5. Religion as a personality system and individuals’ motivation and behaviour in public services 6. Organisational level themes 7. Religion as ideational basis: reflections on religion as source of legitimacy and basis of accountability, exercise of responsibility, and power in (politics and) public administration 8. A research agenda on religion in public administration: in dialogue with theologians References Index
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