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Big Questions for a Significant Public Administration



During the 1999 “Building Bridges Tour” (see Stivers 2000), PAR readers encouraged the editors to focus more attention on the so-called “Big Questions/Big Issues” of the field of public administration. In response to this suggestion, we created a new forum for scholarly discourse simply called “Big Questions/Big Issues.” This inaugural forum begins with a context setting essay by John Kirlin,a leading proponent of the Big Questions/Big Issues perspective. Kirlin' essay is immediately followed by Laurence E. Lynn Jr.'s thought provoking piece, “The Myth of the Bureaucratic Paradigm: What Traditional Public Administration Really Stood For.” Lynn' essay is important for it takes to task those who carelessly attack “traditional public administration.” We asked J. Patrick Dobel (University of Washington), David Rosenbloom (American University), Norma Riccucci (State University of New York at Albany), and James Svara (North Carolina State) to respond to Lynn' essay. We invite PAR readers to join the conversation using PAR' message board online at ASPA's Online Community ( or by writing directly to theauthors and/or editors.—LDT

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