n Journal of Public Administration - Public administration scholarship without condition : a South African perspective

Special issue 1
  • ISSN : 0036-0767



This article reflects on the implications of unconditional scholarship in public administration for the setting of a research agenda. By doing so, the implications of the concept for public administration in a new democracy such as South Africa are considered. The literature on agenda setting for public administration research is consequently reviewed to trace a possible research agenda for public administration. There is no evidence of any common ground regarding an agenda among scholars from the various countries. The review of literature gives no indication of any official restrictions on that freedom on Public Administration scholars. Evidence has been found of a so-called disconnection between scholarship and practice, which seems to have the potential advantage of an arms-length distance between practice and scholarship. This distance is assumed to make it possible for scholars to exercise their critical freedom. However, real scholarly influence on the process of policy agenda setting and policy-making seems to depend on the presence of mutual respect and trust.

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