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Post-war period can be regarded as the time when theorists of public administration rejected scientific methods and strategies to enhance effectiveness of the US government. This period is marked by such concepts as democratic values, positivism, behavioral theory and business management. Noteworthy, this period is also characterized by criticism of scientific method in public administration. Some of the most influential theorists of this period are Paul Appleby, Herbert Simon and Dwight Waldo.
The Theorists and Their Contribution
Paul Appleby is one of the most influential theorists of post-war period. He heavily criticized scientific method as the theorist asserted that public administration cannot be separated from politics (Shafritz & Hyde, 2012). Appleby advocated major democratic principles in public administration. Remarkably, his ability to make people work together can largely be explained by his adherence to democratic values in his work.
He tended to compare public administration to a private enterprise. The theorist noted that business management can be used in public administration. More so, he stressed that methods used in business management could help public administrators perform more effectively.
Appleby was also an advocate of democratic leadership in public administration (Shafritz & Hyde, 2012). He stressed that leadership plays essential role in the development of any organization and contributes to effective functioning of public administrators.
Another influential post-war theorist of public administration was Herbert Simon who shaped the theory to some extent. Simon claimed that structuring is crucial for effective functioning of public administration (Shafritz & Hyde, 2012). The theorist also added that it was essential to concentrate on people’s behavior within an organization as well as public administration (Shafritz & Hyde, 2012).
Simon pointed out that the government agencies as well as public administration as a discipline would benefit, if public administrators understood the aims and goals and were committed to achieve them. Notably, the theorist drew numerous lines between business management and public administration. He claimed that the work in public administration as well as in any business enterprise was based on decision-making.
Simon stressed that it was vital to understand the mechanism of people’s decision-making to be able to develop effective organizations (Shafritz & Hyde, 2012). Therefore, the theorist focused on people’s behavior and factors affecting their decision-making.
Dwight Waldo is another influential theorist of public administration. He agreed with major concepts mentioned by Simon and Appleby, but he also noted that some principles were out-dated (Shafritz & Hyde, 2012). Thus, Waldo stressed that there is apparent tension between bureaucracy and democratic values, so public administrators had to pay special attention to democratic principles.
Waldo also agreed that it was impossible to separate public administration from politics (Cox et al., 2010). The theorist believed that policies could not be created objectively.
Therefore, scientific management could not be applicable for the US government. Waldo also paid a lot of attention to behaviorism and peculiarities of decision-making. Noteworthy, Waldo argued that business management could not be applied to public administration (Shafritz & Hyde, 2012). Thus, the theorist tried to promote the principles of democratic leadership.
To sum up, Appleby, Simon and Waldo are post-war public administration theorists who focused on positivism, behaviorism and democratic values. Importantly, these theorists criticized scientific method and tried to promote democratic principles in public administration. They believed that strong leadership could encourage public administrators perform effectively and contribute to the development of the US government.
Cox, R.W., Buck, S.J., & Morgan, B.N. (2010). Public administration in theory and practice. New York, NY: Longman Publishing Group.
Shafritz, J.M., & Hyde, A.C. (2012). Classics of public administration. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.