Consistent with the notion of tradition, public administration scholars usually interpret and compare administrative developments in the US, France, and Germany as inheritance, assuming continuity. However, administrative traditions have thus far not been an object of systematic research. The present research agenda aims to address this research gap by introducing the transfer-of-ideas approach as a means to examine the empirical substance of national traditions. We claim that for current research, the benefits of this approach are twofold. First, the transfer-of-ideas approach contributes to comparative public administration since it reveals in how far intellectual traditions are hybrid instead of distinctively American, French or German developments. Second, the approach may help to address the polysemous meanings of and terminological difficulties within administrative concepts that prevail in Public Administration on both sides of the Atlantic.