oa African Journal of Public Affairs - The multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary and trans-disciplinary nature of public administration – a methodological challenge?

Volume 9 Number 9
  • ISSN : 1997-7441



Problems facing administrative systems are increasingly becoming rather complex and a discipline known to focus on understanding how administrative systems of government function and preparing people to work in such systems to promote efficiency and effectiveness has to face the complexity challenge. The discipline of Public Administration (PA) must be in position to produce graduates who have the right skills, attitudes, competencies and capacities to navigate the complex environment in which service delivery is currently based. This challenge touches on a significant question, that is, whether knowledge from a single discipline can produce the right people. Some authors have previously accused PA of not being fit to be a discipline because of its ‘promiscuous’ nature as it borrows from many other disciplines to build its knowledge base. Such an accusation is likely to remain because problems of government today cannot be solved by people–civil servants and politicians with one disciplinary focus. It is for this reason that this article examines whether PA ought to be multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary or trans-disciplinary (MIT).

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