Public administration is the totality of the working day activities of all of the world's bureaucrats, all of the people who work for governments— whether their activities are legal or illegal, competent or incompetent, decent or despicable. It is very much like the cosmos once described by the British scientist J. B. S. Haldane: "The universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose." Things are much the same with public administration. It is not only far vaster in scope than most citizens suppose, it is so extensive and pervasive in modern life that not even the most imaginative of us can imagine it all. Yet, we must try because the administration of the public's business is too important to ignore, too much a part of our everyday lives, and too potentially dangerous to what Thomas Jefferson famously called our "life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness."
This book, appropriately entitled Defining Public Administration, is thus designed to stir the imaginations of readers. The articles collected herein are all reprinted from the International Encyclopedia of Public Policy and Administration (Boulder, CO: Westview,1998). This collection of articles from the Encyclopedia was created to offer a sampling of the riches to be found within the larger work. The articles have been organized so that they can be easily used as a supplement to a core text in an introductory public administration course at either the undergraduate or graduate level. The articles selected are among the most readable and most interesting to be found in the larger work. Indeed, one goal in creating this collection was to encourage students to delve into the rest of the Encyclopedia.
The four-volume Encyclopedia has 900 articles written by 462 contributors from 23 countries and 42 of the 50 U.S. states. It was designed so that its contents—a combination of historical and descriptive articles, procedural presentations, and interpretive essays—would be of interest to the general reader as well as the specialist. Contained therein are definitions of the vocabulary of public policy and administration as it is used