In the arena of public-administration scholarship, one of the most prominent performers is Dwight Waldo. Such an outstanding position was not given to him; he achieved it by giving his entire career—more than forty years—to the study of institutions and ideas. His prolific writing and lecturing took him to six continents but often put him in the controversial position of steadfast neutrality when volatile issues dramatically polarized his colleagues.
This book, which consists of transcribed interviews with Waldo plus separate analyses and comments by the authors and by Waldo, was written by two of his former students. Brown and Stillman’s informal conversations with their mentor give new perspective to the events and forces that shaped public administration in the post—World War II era.
Being open to new concepts, refusing to embrace academic partisanship, and “generalizing” his studies in order to view public administration as a whole in an era of specialization make Waldo an almost unclassifiable academic. He is known for critiquing and recording events that have shaped public administration, and his favorite topics range from traditional views to emerging trends in mid-twentieth-century public administration scholars—the socalled Minnowbrook Conference—is an example of his receptiveness to change and to the probing of old ideas and new frontiers.
Dwight Waldo is a preeminent interpreter of public administration as a profession, as he would like to see it, and his practice of answering questions with questions indicates that the search for public administration—how to support or deny funding, how to divide responsibilities, how to compromise between private enterprise and central authority—is not finite and that public administration is not a static exercise but a goal to be sought, however much searching it takes.