How ICT will Influence Public Administration as a Scholarly Discipline

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Wolfgang Drechsler


This paper asks how ICT will, i.e. might, change Public Administration as a scholarly discipline (PA) in the near future. Assuming mild techno-determinism, the Techno-Economic Paradigms approach, and that science is not primarily moved by science, but rather by economic dynamics, it first sketches out how PA looks today in the context of organized scholarship generally, and what tendencies (such as quantification, measurability, etc.) there are. Then, we look at what Information and Communication Technology can already do today and how it has changed the Lebenswelt by 2014. Two critical, interlinked phenomena are then analyzed: MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) and their effects, and the current ability of algorithms to write a certain type of texts. These may have the effect to strongly enforce, even lock in, the current tendencies of PA, but they may also give rise to an altogether different kind of development of scholarly inquiry in the discipline and beyond.

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