What is administrative reform? How is it differentiated from other kinds of social reform? Who are administrative reformers and how do they approach their task? And who benefits and who suffers from it? Does a theory of administrative reform exist?
A survey of published research on administrative reform reveals that satisfactory answers to these questions are handicapped by methodological and theoretical shortcomings. There are no common definitions, no agreement over content, no selected boundaries, no clear links with the wide phenomenon of social reform, no firm hypothesis tested by empirical findings, and no continuous dialogue between practitioners and theorists. This book is the first comprehensive and systematic treatment of the subject for professionals and students in the fields of public and private administration. It carefully examines the diverse interdisciplinary literature on the subject and identifies and develops the most promising approaches towards a unified theory.
Caiden shows how the study of administrative reform can contribute substantially to the development of administrative theory, and constructs a working definition of the phenomenon of administrative reform, distinguishing it from social change and from administrative change. The practical use of this definition is tested by the analysis of various case histories of administrative cultures of different periods in history, from which a common cycle of reform processes is discerned. The author follows with a detailed examination of the processes themselves. The book concludes with a discussion of the obstacles to reform and a review of the author's findings and conclusions.