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Governance, Structure, and Democracy: Luther Gulick and the Future of Public Administration


Kenneth J. Meier is the Charles H. Gregory Chair in Liberal Arts and Distinguished Professor of Political Science at Texas A&M University. He is also a professor of public management in the Cardiff School of Business, Cardiff University (Wales). In addition to his major research agenda on empirical studies of public management, he is interested in race and public policy, methodological innovations in public administration, and the relationship between democracy and bureaucracy.


Luther Gulick was both an academic and a reformer. In the latter role, he thought seriously about what the future of public administration might look like. This essay examines his work as a lens through which to view the future of public administration in 2020. Gulick suggests that public administration needs a governance orientation to link scholarship with the realities of practice, a recognition of the bias of structures, a stress on the informal elements of organization, additional research on almost every question, a recognition of the importance of ethics, a stress on the importance of context, and a fundamental appreciation of the role that public management plays in fostering democracy.