Stewart, Debra W.
March 1985
Public Administration Quarterly;Spring85, Vol. 9 Issue 1, p13
Academic Journal
This article presents a study which focused on the implications of strict adherence either to the principle of democratic accountability or the principle of professionalism as the sole principle informing administrative decision-making. The debate between Carl Friedrich and Herman Finer in the 1930s and 1940s constitute a classic public administration scholarly exchange. Confronting the reality of bureaucratic power and looking to the emerging technocratic culture foreshadowed in a country preparing for war, Carl Friedrich saw flaws in the strict interpretation of administrative responsibility. In response to the redefinition of administrative responsibility by Friedrich as responsibility to the fellowship of science, Finer charged that such notions obscured the very meaning of responsibility in a political context. Explicit analysis of the values behind bureaucratic decisions is the bridge that would link Finer's requirement for bureaucratic accountability with Friedrich's claim for professional autonomy. Public servants need an ethical framework for representing the values and norms of their professions as well as for responding to legitimate demands for democratic accountability.


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