In political theory public administration does not appear as a defining element of democracy. Moreover, traditional public administration is by definition a non-democratic organization. This paper argues that the democratisation of public administration is both necessary and appropriate. It is necessary in order to overcome some of the theoretical and empirical limitations of the politics/administration dychotomy. It is appropriate because it allows us to tackle these limitations and the difficulties derived from it by helping improve the efficiency and effectiveness, as well as the institutional performance, of administrations. First, the paper addresses, from a conceptual perspective, the question of ‘Why democratise public administration?’. Second, it explores the mechanisms through which democratisation may be achieved both in public administration's internal and external relations – that is, ‘How can public administration be democratised?’. The conclusions point out some implications for traditional models of administrative efficiency and political responsiveness – that is, for democratic politics. © 2003 Taylor & Francis.
- Politics/administration dychotomy
- Public administration