n Journal of Public Administration - Role of critical theory in public administration

Volume 42, Issue 8
  • ISSN : 0036-0767



Scientific research is essential to increase the body of knowledge and to increase an understanding of the environment around us. Knowledge could be increased through the discovery of facts, interpreting legislation and formulating and implementing policies. Understanding is increased by constructing explanations of the knowledge discovered and by arranging the knowledge and explanations into logical generalizations, or into theories. This article focuses on a theory of public administration, critical theory school of thought and critical theory and Public Administration. In this article, Public Administration (upper case) denotes the theory of Public Administration whereas public administration (lower case) denotes public administration as an activity or practice. The article argues that it is essential and therefore appropriate to apply the methods of critical theory to the subject matter of Public Administration. The role of critical theory in Public Administration is extensively discussed. It is concluded that critical theory provides not only the analytical tools to appraise the public service and local government bureaucracy, but would critically provide means to unpack the underlying inefficiencies and causes of the perennial situation of incapacity and how it impacts on service delivery.

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