n Journal of Public Administration - Establishing administrative culture in South Africa : a case of legitimacy, ethics and trust in the face of globalisation

Volume 38, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0036-0767



The absence of a universally accepted administrative culture in the field of public administration is perhaps the most noticeable as the world enters the 21st century. Developed countries have shirked the responsibility of establishing such a culture and this has left the Third World in a quandary as they seek to learn from their developed counterparts. Whereas the problems of establishing a universal administrative culture may be varied, ranging as it were from politics, social and economic factors, the introduction of the New Public Management approach seems to exacerbates the situation. In Third World countries the problem is compounded by lack of political stability, economic woes as well as the multi-culturality of the society. Dominant public administration approaches for both the study and the practice have in the past not laid enough emphasis on the establishment of a universal administrative culture . Granted that administration is time and place bound, the existence of a universal administrative culture could go a long way in assisting developing countries in determining if their administrations are in line with globally accepted standards.

This paper seeks to investigate the possibilities of the establishment of a globally acceptable administrative culture. The point of departure is South Africa as the focal point. The Constitutional provisions and concomitant legislative frameworks form the foundations for the establishment of an acceptable administrative culture. However South Africa is a multi-cultural and multi-ethnic country, hence the investigation will cover aspects of the legitimacy of government and the practices of its institutions. Because cultural norms and values vary among geographic regions and ethnic groups within a country, the impact of these variations on administrative culture will be considerable.

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