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Theories of Public Policy and Administration

Theories of Public Policy and Administration Critical social theory developed in 1937 by the Institute for Social Research in the Frankfurt School in Germany, is one of the theories of the public policy and administration. Frankfurt School was a group of philosophers that consisted of Jewish and Marxists who had left Germany and travelled to America while escaping from Nazism. Cognizable m4embers of the group included Theodor Adorno, Leo Lowenthal, Max Horkheimer and Herbert Marcus. According to the founding theorists, critical social theory is a social theory that tends to reject the separation of values and facts and instead analyzes societies from the perspectives of beginning of its transformation (Granter, 2009).
The founding and supporting theorists go further to claim that emancipator transformation in societies is important bearing the fact that contemporary social existence fails to address the basic issues needed by the civilized citizens. In move to simplify this theory, the founding theorists of the Critical Social theory hold that life in the modern world is equally irrational as in the postmodern societies. Even with the expansive and increasing democracies in the modern societies, irrationality continues to persist as individuals and nations annihilate each other. Social condemnations, unhappiness, servitude, corruption that makes some communities continue in poverty as other prospers define just but a few characteristics of the modern world that are under criticism by the founding theorists. As observed By Leonardo (2004), Critical social theory makes social analysis by focusing on the historical events and their longitudinal changes earmarked and noted by the end of work or transformation.
Another theory of Public policy and administration is the Complexity theory developed and investigated by George Cowan of the Santa Fe Institute in I984 and Stephen Wolfram of the Center for Complexity in Illinois in 1986 (Klijn, 2007). According to the proposers of the theory, whole or entire system is easily managed and very efficient compared to the sum of the parts or work done by individual parts of the system. As the depiction of the theory, complex systems includes numerous interacting parts with each behaving in local setting in accordance to the laws, forces and rules that override the system. In simple terms, complex theory holds that systems are self organizing and produce results that when traced cannot lead to the contribution of each part in ensuring the resultant outcome.
From the above doctrines of complexity theory of Public policy and Administration, it is conclusive that the theory views society as made up of systems within which underlying policy issues and governmental programs interact to produce social outcomes (Haynes, 2003). It is therefore hard for anyone to tell or indicate the contribution or effects of one particular social aspect in the resultant social outcome or phenomenon. Supporters of the complexity theory focus on the historical facts and values of certain political institutions. The historical data of the institutions help in the mediation process of various political institutions to ensure a political system powered to comply with the rules and laws to produce desirable results. Just like the Critical social theory, complexity theory conducts analysis by relying on the emancipation of transformation to establish the political future of a given society. This theory bases it focus on the emergent behavior under the absence of central control and the problems encountered by governments in the process of implementing policy changes.
Granter, E. (2009). Critical social theory and the end of work. Burlington, VT: Ashgate.
Haynes, P. (2003). Managing complexity in the public services. Maidenhead: Open University Press.
Klijn, E. (2007).Complexity Theory and Public Administration: What’s New? Retrieved July 4, 2012 from:
Leonardo, Z. (2004). Critical Social Theory and Transformative Knowledge: The Functions of Criticism in Quality Education. Retrieved July 4, 2012 from:
Meek, J. Complexity Theory for Public Administration and Policy. Retrieved July 4, 2012 from: