Book Review: Public Administration Evolving: From Foundations to the Future

AuthorEdgar E. Ramírez de la Cruz
Published date01 September 2018
Date01 September 2018
Subject MatterBook Review
Review of Public Personnel Administration
2018, Vol. 38(3) 378 –381
© The Author(s) 2017
Reprints and permissions:
Book Review
Book Review
Guy, M. E., & Rubin, M. M. (Eds.). (2015). Public Administration Evolving: From Foundations to the
Future. New York, NY: Routledge. 334 pp. $40.76 paperback,
ISBN: 978-0765643261
Reviewed by: Edgar E. Ramírez de la Cruz, Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas,
Mexico City, Mexico.
DOI: 10.1177/0734371X17694230
The 75th anniversary of the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) pro-
vided a milestone moment to reflect on the progress and challenges of the discipline.
ASPA’s flagship journal, Public Administration Review (PAR ), published a series of
essays on the progress of classic theories and concepts like Simon’s proverbs of public
administration (Meier, 2015), Lindblom’s incrementalism (Bendor, 2015), Long’s
power and administration (Durant, 2015), and Dahl’s difficulties on constructing a
science of public administration (Wright, 2015). The essays also discuss the progress
of contemporary classic ideas like networks (O’Toole, 2015) and the New Public
Service (Denhardt & Denhardt, 2015); as well as new challenges to the discipline like
the role of participation in public administration (Fung, 2015) and public sector col-
laboration (Bryson, Crosby, & Stone, 2015).
On the same 75th anniversary occasion, Mary Ellen Guy and Marilyn Rubin pub-
lished their edited book, Public Administration Evolving, From Foundations to the
Future, which provides a major survey of the field. The book brings an original per-
spective, different from other reviews that have mainly concentrated on research per-
spectives (Riccucci, 2010), theoretical perspectives (Smith & Frederickson, 2003), or
the classic functions of the field (Lynn & Wildavsky, 1990). Each chapter, written by
some of the most prominent scholars in the field (names that will be familiar to any
public administration student), examines the evolution of one significant topic of pub-
lic administration in the last 70 years.
While the book covers a wide variety of public administration themes, two recur-
rent issues emerge. The first is the increasing complexity of the field generated by the
constant fragmentation of jurisdictions, resources, and power among organizations
and individuals involved in solving public problems. The second is the vacillating
relationship between society and public administration. These issues are highly rele-
vant as they constantly redefine the expectation that citizens have on the role of public
administration in a democratic society.
The book begins with a foreword by Richard Stillman, in which he highlights
recurrent topics in the development of the public administration field and makes the
694230ROPXXX10.1177/0734371X17694230Review of Public Personnel AdministrationBook Review

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