Competitive Exams: Minnowbrook-II (September 1988)

The purpose of the second conference was to reflect upon the impact of Minnowbrook-I. It brought together scholars (male and female) of 1980s and of the earlier generation to discuss the impact of NPA and to address progress on other issues important at Minnowbrook-I.

Similarities

  1. Concern for social equity

  2. Democratic values with special focus on ethics and accountability.

  3. Centrality of public administration reaffirmed to strengthen society. Government is inevitable.

  4. Continuity of the earlier debate on normative and behavioral perspectives

  5. Public servants seen more as conservatives than change agents.

  6. Shared concern for state of the discipline of public administration.

  7. All of those who had attended the 1968 conference were invited.

  8. Need for free interchange between generalists? and specialists?

Dissimilarities

  1. Composition was wider. While previously, most participants had a political science background, in M II, all belonged to different policy sciences history, economics, political science, sociology and law.

  2. There were age differences M-II had members of higher age group and with more gender parity. However minority groups were less represented. The latter reflects surge in popularity of the discipline due to which weaker groups cannot face the competition. Those who had entered the discipline in the 1960s had the dominant value of public interest while those of the 1980s, emphasized privatization.

  3. Mood, tone, temper & orientation differed. M I was contentious, confrontational and questioned the very foundations of the discipline like Politics-Administration dichotomy, public-private similarity, administration being a science, hierarchical view of organisation etc. M II was more civil, more practical (can be seen in recns), and more respectful to seniors in the discipline.

  4. Thematic focus was different. Themes as leadership, constitutional & legal perspectives, technology policy and economic perspectives were new.

  5. M-I was anti-behavioural, more normative. In fact, NPA emerged from the post behavioural revolution in political science. M II was more perceptive to contribution of behavioural sciences to public administration.

  6. Social, political and economic environments were different. M-I met in an environment marked by strong cynicism toward government due to Vietnam Disaster. M-II did not see such a strong cynicism towards government even though bureaucracy was criticized. Positive state was yielding space to the retreating state. There was privatization taking place as was Third Party Government. There was less government and more governance.

  7. M-I was phenomenological while M-II retreated from an action perspective.

  8. M-I rejected politics-administration dichotomy. M II accepted it.

  9. M-I was very optimistic that NPA would solve all societal problems. M-II had constrained hopefulness, believed that state has come to stay but did not want to overload it.