Building Administrative Capacity for the Age of Rapid Globalization: A Modest Prescription for the Twenty-First Century


Ali Farazmand is a professor of public administration at Florida Atlantic University, where he teaches courses on administrative theory, organization theory and behavior, personnel and human resource management, bureaucratic politics, ethics, governance, globalization, and executive leadership. His research and publications include 19 authored and edited books on such topics as governance and administrative capacity building, civilization and administration, bureaucratic politics, administrative theory, organization theory and behavior, privatization, globalization, sound governance, strategic human resources/human capital, the administrative state, administrative reform, global public administration, bureaucracy and administration, ethics, development policy, and crisis and emergency management. He also is the author of two forthcoming books: Public Administration in a Globalized World and Transformation of the American Administrative State: From Institutionalization to Globalization. In addition, he is the Editor-in-Chief of Public Organization Review: A Global Journal.


The twenty-first century is characterized by rapid change, globalization, hyper-competition, and hyper-uncertainty. Traditional models of governance and public administration are no match for the challenges of this chaotic environment. This essay argues for building new administrative capacity in response to these serious governance dilemmas. Offered as a modest prescription, this new administrative capacity is proposed to cope more effectively with an increasingly unknowable world. The article opens with an overview of key issues, then focuses directly on the nature and trends of global public sector changes, and concludes by elaborating on the building of such administrative capacity. The author's proposals are presented from a macro perspective: first, suggestions for revitalizing public service and administration given the current crisis; second, macro strategies for enhancing capacity design; and third, specific reforms for strengthening governance, instrumental and administrative capacities, along with concrete recommendations for public administration.