Max Weber (1864-1920) and Public Administration Today

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Wolfgang Drechsler

Abstract

Max Weber passed away on 14 June 1920 at the early age of 56, from consequences of the last pandemic – the Spanish Flu (Kaesler 2014, 15-16). During the last 100 years, Weber’s positionas one of the world’s great economists, sociologists, social science theorists, and public administration scholars has been secure (see Whimster 2004), if with ups and downs. Weber’seminence is probably the least contested in the last field – not uncontested, for sure, as eminence must attract criticism. Ups and downs yes, but Weber remains central. At a minimum, we may say that he is the most important public administration thinker of his time, even of modern public administration. One can think with or against Weber in public administration, but by and large, not really without him. We therefore decided that it was not only fitting, but even necessary, to include a short tribute to him in a Halduskultuur issue this year, a fortioriseeing that this journal has carried several studies of Max Weber, Weberianism, and the Neo-Weberian State (e.g. Samier 2005; Drechsler 2005; 2009; Kostakis 2011), and indeed, that the concept of Administrative Culture is particularly Weberian.

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Author Biography

Wolfgang Drechsler, Tallinn University of Technology

Wolfgang Drechsler is Professor of Governance at TalTech’s Ragnar Nurkse Department, Honorary Professor of UCL in the Institute of Innovation and Public Purpose, and Associate and member of the advisory board at Harvard University’s Davis Center. Since 2020, he also serves as the Chair of the executive board of EAPAA, the European Association for Public Administration Accreditation.