AN EXAMINATION OF BEHAVIORAL MOVEMENT AND ITS RELEVANCE IN PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION: ISSUES AND PROSPECTS
Abstract:The behavioral approach to public administration owes its genesis to the Human Relations Movement of the 1930s. The movement started off as a protest to the traditional approaches to public administration that focused on organizations, institutionalization, rules, and code of conducts etc. with absolutely no mention of people who are the center of all these activities. The pioneering work done by Taylor and the emergence of Scientific Management created quite a stir not just in the industrial sector but also in management and study of public administration. The proponents of the Behavioral Public Administration (BPA) movement call for a greater use of theories in psychology and experimental research designs to improve rigour of public administration (PA) research. Limitations inherent in traditional orientations of analyzing administrative phenomena are reasons behind the search for new paradigms aimed at increasing epistemic knowledge when analyzing administrative issues in the 21st Century. Against the existing institutionalists, pluralists and elitists’ approaches, contemporary thinkers have adopted the behaviouralist approach which has capacity to increase the empirical status of knowledge in contemporary administrative analysis. Using secondary sources like textbooks, scholarly journals, unpublished texts, the paper critically evaluates most of the criticisms levied against the behavioural approach with the view to identifying the edge which the behavioural approach offers contemporary analysts in public administration. The paper revealed that despite these criticisms, not all the examples of the approach are flawed. Behaviouralism has brought with it, new concepts, sophisticated tools of analysis and mathematical models which tend to make us all behaviouralists. It is our recommendation in this paper that behavioural principles in public administration should be upheld among researcher within the discipline of public administration.