Bureaucracy and public administration by Rajeshwar Trikha

By Rajeshwar Trikha

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The transition from command and control societies in which public servants found themselves enmeshed in patronage systems to more democratic forms in which public servants can be expected to exercise autonomy, judgment, and discretion in order to enact the public inter€st is painful and perplexing. While questions may Bureaucratic Leadership 49 abound, credible answe~s may be in short supply. Therefore, the proposal fox a normative emphasis in leadership development is offered respectfully, in recognition of the formidable hurdles still to be overcome in the shift toward more democratic and ethical governance.

E. a mutual surrender to one another, is offered as an alternative understanding to the egoistic (rational choice) model; it is argued that the problem of legitimacy will evaporate once such a reframing of discourse and institutions is accomplished. The advice is to let go of the 'pointless' discussion of legitimacy because it has institutionalised and maintained a particular understanding and structure of government. Instead, one needs to go back to the true foundation of American Public Administration: Pragmatism.

Not only is the positive science model of doubtful use in improving administrative practice, it is also incapable of comprehending practice scientifically in its most important sense: as a type of social action. The basis for these assertions is embodied in a proposal for what will be termed an Action Theory paradigm for public administration. The Purpose of the paradigm is to outline an intellectual approach to public administration that effectively integrates the social scientific concerns of the Bureaucracy and Public Administration 26 field with its long-standing commitment to improving administrative practice.

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