Speak Your Mind: Is Public Administration Research Useful to Government?


“Speak Your Mind” is a PAR webpage feature that allows you to offer insights about big questions in public administration. The responses serve as a community forum for discussion of specific editorial contributions, and the format provides a platform for exchange of different ideas about how we think of public administration as a professional and scholarly enterprise.

In a recent post to the PA Times1 Howard Risher PhD made the claim that most public administration research is unhelpful to those working in government.  Similar claims have also been made recently by other practitioners and scholars in posts to the PA Times 2 and Governing Magazine 3.  Consequently, in the newest contribution for Speak Your Mind,  Howard Risher PhD moderates an open discussion concerning the usefulness of public administration research to those working in government.  We appreciate your views on this issue.  Please read his questions below, and let us what YOU think.

Generally speaking, do public administration scholars produce research that is useful to those individuals leading and managing government organizations? If so, why is there such a strong perception that public administration scholarship is often unhelpful to those individuals? If not, what can public administration scholars do to produce research that is more useful to government?

Howard Risher has 40 plus years of experience as a consultant to clients in every sector. He has a BA in psychology from Penn State and an MBA and Ph.D. from Wharton. He is the co-author with Bill Wilder of the new book, It’s Time for High Performance Government: Winning Strategies to Engage and Energize and the Public Sector Workforce.

1 http://patimes.org/government-academic-community/

2 http://patimes.org/public-administration-research-adequate/

3 http://www.governing.com/columns/smart-mgmt/col-how-academia-failing-government.html