The books reviewed here offer an original key to understand western public administration and public service culture at both the individual and the organizational levels. While the first is a collective work revealing a multifaceted investigation that employs a variety of research methods, the second is conceived as a coherent narrative and draws eminently upon public administration theory. Together, they significantly advance knowledge in the field of national bureaucracies in Europe and the United States, as well as shedding light on some often‐overlooked aspects of such major policy actors. The perspectives adopted in these works are often neglected in scholarly studies despite their centrality to understanding public administration thought and praxis. The two books include a variety of analytical levels, ranging from theoretical debates to administrative practice and perceptions. Moreover, their introduction of original viewpoints into the academic debate is not only likely to productively affect research and theory but also to confer more awareness on the public servants’ role vis‐à‐vis political power and policy making. In the books reviewed, Political Science and Public Administration students will easily encounter arguments and issues not usually covered in handbooks, while scholars will find precious prompts for further research. Moreover, public servants will benefit from the debate regarding their European peers’ identity and different, albeit communicating, public administration conceptions. Two main possible future research perspectives emerge after reading the books, developing either on a horizontal or a vertical level. The first consists of a comprehensive study of public service cultures in European Union public administration, as well as in the countries neglected so far, while the second suggests an analysis of how the transfer of ideas materializes vertically, thus exploring whether theoretical values are embraced in public administration systematically. A joint reading of the two books reviewed reveals a double‐speed change in public administration on the two main levels of analysis, that is, public administration thought and praxis, which only rarely intersect. While The European Public Servant is a photo album of the European public servant in different contexts, with pictures taken from different angles by using various photographic techniques and cameras, A Transatlantic History of Public Administration traces the lines of an interactional three‐country map that readers can consult to achieve an awareness of some of the reasons for the evolution of administrative thought in Europe and the United States.

Fritz Sager, and Patrick Overeem, eds ., The European Public Servant: A Shared Administrative Identity? Colchester: ECPR Press, 2015 . 326pp. Hardback £65.00, ISBN: 9781907301742 Paperback £30.00, ISBN: 9781785522338 Fritz Sager, Christian Rosser, Céline Mavrot, and Pascal Y. Hurni . A Transatlantic History of Public Administration. Analyzing the USA, Germany and France. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing Limited , 2018. 224 pp. Hardback £67.50, ISBN: 9781788113748 E‐book €25, eISBN: 9781788113755

Malandrino, Anna
2021

Abstract

The books reviewed here offer an original key to understand western public administration and public service culture at both the individual and the organizational levels. While the first is a collective work revealing a multifaceted investigation that employs a variety of research methods, the second is conceived as a coherent narrative and draws eminently upon public administration theory. Together, they significantly advance knowledge in the field of national bureaucracies in Europe and the United States, as well as shedding light on some often‐overlooked aspects of such major policy actors. The perspectives adopted in these works are often neglected in scholarly studies despite their centrality to understanding public administration thought and praxis. The two books include a variety of analytical levels, ranging from theoretical debates to administrative practice and perceptions. Moreover, their introduction of original viewpoints into the academic debate is not only likely to productively affect research and theory but also to confer more awareness on the public servants’ role vis‐à‐vis political power and policy making. In the books reviewed, Political Science and Public Administration students will easily encounter arguments and issues not usually covered in handbooks, while scholars will find precious prompts for further research. Moreover, public servants will benefit from the debate regarding their European peers’ identity and different, albeit communicating, public administration conceptions. Two main possible future research perspectives emerge after reading the books, developing either on a horizontal or a vertical level. The first consists of a comprehensive study of public service cultures in European Union public administration, as well as in the countries neglected so far, while the second suggests an analysis of how the transfer of ideas materializes vertically, thus exploring whether theoretical values are embraced in public administration systematically. A joint reading of the two books reviewed reveals a double‐speed change in public administration on the two main levels of analysis, that is, public administration thought and praxis, which only rarely intersect. While The European Public Servant is a photo album of the European public servant in different contexts, with pictures taken from different angles by using various photographic techniques and cameras, A Transatlantic History of Public Administration traces the lines of an interactional three‐country map that readers can consult to achieve an awareness of some of the reasons for the evolution of administrative thought in Europe and the United States.
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