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Management Theory of Dwight Waldo

Gail L. Perry

Waldo's management theory seeks to define public administrative roles

The management theory of Dwight Waldo revolves around his theories of bureaucratic government, and he is a defining figure in modern public administration. He defended the theory of public administration as a major element in the democratic government process. His reasoning evolved from his awareness of public administration responsibilities that included development, implementation and the study of government branches' policy pursuing public good.

Dwight Waldo's management theory challenged the scholar's mainstream view of a public administration that is a value-free, non-partisan social science seeking to make the government efficient and effective. He believed public administration to be a separate study from political science and social science theories, because it was a combination of critical and suggestive theories. In preparation to understand Waldo's work, consider the following points:

1. Waldo theories on management have a base in the workings of public administration.

2. Dwight Waldo and public administration criticism brought to light an identity crisis.

3. Waldo's theories on management supported interdependence among disciplines to do justice to the study of public administration.

Use Waldo theories on management to delineate public roles

A public administrator serves in many capacities and draws guidance from political science and law, whereas public management is routine managing focused on public good. Public administration theories tend to focus on the meaning and purpose of government, budgets, bureaucracy, public affairs and governance. The overlap of these foundations are difficult to navigate because there are no clear lines between "hard" and "soft" science.
Department of Political Science with the University of Oklahoma. For another explanation of public administration theory, Farlex describes background, education and important figures.

Review Waldo public administration theory criticism that exposes an identity crisis

Dwight Waldo and public administration came face to face with his post-war criticisms of their weak value-neutral foundations. Through his studies, Waldo realized that a scientific approach was inadequate for public administration studies because the fact/value distinction is difficult for social scientists. Waldo sought that public administration should be separate from political and social science studies/theories; he wanted public administration noticed as a profession that connected many disciplines.
Maxwell School of Syracuse University perspective of Waldo's public administration contributions and challenges. Dubick and O'Kelley provide information about  Waldo.

Research the Dwight Waldo management theory regarding an interdependent connection

The professional approach, sought by Waldo, supports the broad social purpose of public administration and encourages continued studies of government, operations, management and social purpose that combine support, sense of unity, direction and purpose. In fact, during the formation of the American Society for Public Administration, a high priority included connecting academics with public authorities that used the academic research and training in an effort to build connections.

  • Take the time to read "Dwight Waldo The Administrative State" and the Dwight Waldo article "Development of Theory of Democratic Administration" for details of his public administration thought process.
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Gail L. Perry