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The Persistence of The Politics-Administration Dichotomy: An Additional Explanation

Author: B. DOUGLAS SKELLEY
Published in PAQ, Vol. 32 No. 4

An enduring notion in American public administration, "the politics-administration dichotomy" persists in academic discussions and in the practical talk of administrators. Dismissed variously as a fiction, intellectual aberration, or political rationale, the dichotomy’s persistence may have its foundation in the nature of the decision-making processes of large bureaucratic organizations. Using Brunsson’s models of the “political” and “action” functions of large public organizations, this research adds to the explanations of the notion's durability and explores the implications of this interpretation for public administration theory and organizations.

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