Forms of Knowledge for the Practice of Public Administration

Ongaro, Edoardo (2020). Forms of Knowledge for the Practice of Public Administration. In: Bouckaert, Geert and Jann, Werner eds. European Perspectives for Public Administration: The Way Forward. Leuven (Belgium): Leuven University Press, pp. 273–291.



In this chapter of the EPPA I book I suggest that knowledge for the practice of public administration comes in three main forms:
“Enlightening” knowledge: the social-scientific, “theoretical” knowledge generated according to the (highest) standards of the scientific community;
Problem-orientated knowledge: the kind of knowledge that is mostly produced by practitioners engaged in professional social inquiry and driven by societal problems rather than by the generation of additional knowledge per se, as in discipline-orientated academic knowledge;
Practice-extrapolation knowledge: a kind of knowledge that is embodied into “practices that work,” i.e. knowledge derived by learning from actual experiences of tackling a problem and improving a public service or process, practices typically contrived by practitioners engaged in public services, that are spotted, showcased and analysed for extrapolation and transfer elsewhere.

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