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Does Frederick Taylor’s Ghost Still Haunt the Halls of Government? A Look at the Concept of Governmental Efficiency in Our Time

Authors


Hindy Lauer Schachter is a professor in the School of Management at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. She is the author of Reinventing Government or Reinventing Ourselves: The Role of Citizen Owners in Making a Better Government (SUNY Press, 1997), Frederick Taylor and the Public Administration Community: A Reevaluation (SUNY Press, 1989), and Public Agency Communication: Theory and Practice (Nelson Hall, l983). Her articles have appeared in Public Administration Review, Administration and Society, International Journal of Public Administration, Public Administration Quarterly, and other journals.
E-mail: schachterh@adm.njit.edu

Abstract

Since the Progressive Era, efficiency has been a cherished administrative value and a key concept in the study of public administration. Despite contemporary attention to other criteria, such as responsiveness and equity, efficiency remains a guiding governmental value and a focus of scholarly writing. Although efficiency is often considered an apolitical value, this article argues that public sector efficiency receives meaning through a political framework. The analysis explores changing definitions of transit efficiency to propose a revitalized, politically attuned concept.

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