Dissemination of Scientific Knowledge on Reforming Public Administration: Some Changing Mechanisms

  • Geert Bouckaert Professor at the KU Leuven Public Governance Institute, Faculty of Social Sciences of KU Leuven, in Leuven, Belgium
Keywords: public administration, research, public sector, administrative science


This paper is about organising knowledge on the functioning of the public sector. This knowledge is not contained within a single discipline but within many empirical disciplines ranging from law, economics, management, and political science to sociology, psychology, and the like. This knowledge is clustered and scientifically organised in the field of Public Administration (PA). This paper is also relevant for knowledge about the content of policies, in which case knowledge provided by the field of PA must be added to specific knowledge of the relevant policy field, for example, education, health, security, agriculture, and so on. To make the field of PA fit for purpose, i.e., to develop grounded and evidence-based reform policies for a functional public sector of the future, there is a need to reflect thoroughly on how to organise supply and demand and the match between these, not just with regard to data and information but useful knowledge as well. To do this, it is necessary to study the shifting mechanisms of PA knowledge supply, demand, and their match (or mismatch). A set of eleven “lessons” for stakeholders in the field of PA knowledge has been formulated.