Recovering, Restoring, and Renewing the Foundations of American Public Administration: The Contributions of Herbert J. Storing

Morgan, D. F., Kirwan, K. A., Rohr, J. A., Rosenbloom, D. H. and Schaefer, D. L., in Public Administration Review 70, no. 4 (July/August 2010), 621–33.


Public administration continues to face an identity crisis that turns on the question of whether the animating principles of the discipline are to be discovered in the political foundations of a given regime, or whether they are to be found in more universal and transcendent principles of scientific management. Herbert J. Storing reframed the identity crisis as a problem arising from America’s constitutional system of governance. In doing so, he created an important role for public administration in democratic governance. This role took the form of “closet statesmanship” and, in practice, requires the exercise of prudential judgment that looks more like judicial decision making than scientific management. In summarizing Storing’s writings, the authors convincingly argue that he has much to teach us about the ongoing debate regarding the role of the bureaucracy within America’s 87,576 systems of government.