The future of public administration research: An editor's perspective

Bruce D. McDonald*, Jeremy L. Hall, Janine O'Flynn, Sandra van Thiel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)


Research in the field of public administration has changed and advanced significantly in recent years. These advancements concern both how we engage in research—such as the methods we apply, the interdisciplinary nature of the theories we use, and the research questions we ask. Increasingly, we are witnessing a shift in public-sector values away from efficiency and effectiveness and toward a paradigm that highlights equity. In this article, we reflect on these changes from our position as editors-in-chief of some of the leading journals in the field. In addition to describing the progress of this discipline, we explore emerging windows of opportunity for new research. One such window is research on ways to incorporate interdisciplinary perspectives and methods. We also see the need for work in such areas as social equity, comparative administration, artificial intelligence, and climate change. Finally, we argue for a more proactive approach in disseminating research to those involved in the day-to-day decision-making processes of public organizations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-71
Number of pages13
JournalPublic Administration
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022
Externally publishedYes


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