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Barry Bozeman (Arizona State University) on Integrative Publicness #CIDE40

My instution (CIDE, Centro de Investigacion y Docencia Economicas) is celebrating its 40th anniversary of being founded, and as a result, we have been organizing a series of events around this theme. Last week, we had Dr. Barry Bozeman (one of the foremost founders of the public administration research field, and a very widely cited scholar) speak at CIDE on “Integrative Publicness”. I livetweeted his talk, for the most part, but there were obviously a few parts that I missed.

Bozeman spoke about a broad spectrum of publicness (as opposed to the traditional private/public divide we often focus on when studying organizations). While widely known as an organization theorist, Bozeman actually has a background in psychology and was one of the first scholars who wrote about (and used) experimental approaches in public administration scholarship. A recent co-authored article of his (Walker et al, 2013) uses an experimental research design to analyze public ownership and performance (An Experimental Assessment of Public Ownership and Performance: Comparing perceptions in East Asia and the United States)

It was very neat to have Barry Bozeman at CIDE and have discussions like the one we had on experiments.

As someone who uses experiments in his research, I can understand where Bozeman’s statement comes from. I think some scholars tend to see public administration as fluffier than political science, for example. I don’t agree with that view. To be quite honest, I think political science has become a bit obsessed with experiments, and I wouldn’t be surprised if public administration also does this. But development economics, political psychology and political science, in general, have made strides that are worth discussing and examining in more detail. But I do believe public administration scholars are moving forward in a number of areas, organization science being one of the most relevant ones.

Barry Bozeman gave a really nice lecture on how to study organizations, and he is a role model in how we can present an intellectual trajectory. I look forward to reading more of his work (even though I’ve already read a lot of it during my formative years).

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