Questioning cross-cultural applicability of public administration knowledge: a critical Asian perspective
M. Shamsul Haque
Asia Pacific Journal of Public Administration, 2019, vol. 41, issue 2, 110-118
This note addresses the significance of more comprehensive, culturally nuanced research being conducted and recognised internationally with regard to public administration in Asia. It appreciates that, in the field of public administration, while it might be possible to make generalisations based on certain homogeneity in the origins, contexts and patterns of administration, it is questionable to claim the relevance of administrative knowledge to all regional and national contexts. Despite Western (especially British, American and French) public administration having been the dominant paradigm with global impacts due to its colonial imposition and postcolonial imitation worldwide, there has emerged a growing assertion that public administration in East and Southeast Asia represents certain uniqueness in terms of its leading state-centric developmental role. Although state-managed economic achievements in the region have generated certain optimism in the Asian model of public administration, the construction of academic knowledge and education in public administration in most Asian countries has been based on Western colonial legacies, postcolonial administrative prescriptions, and borrowed business-type perspectives such as new public management. In response, it is relevant to explore the exogenous origins of Asian administrative knowledge, the under-representation of Asian countries and scholars in knowledge building, and the critical implications of such borrowed knowledge for public administration as a field of inquiry and practical profession.
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