Public administration research issues in China : Evidence from content analysis of leading Chinese public administration journals

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

12 Scopus Citations
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  • Joseph Y. S. Cheng
  • Lucia Q. Lu


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-241
Number of pages39
Journal / PublicationIssues and Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2009


One stream of study proposes that political monism and the monopolization of administrative power are sufficient conditions for the malfunctioning of an administrative system, and China is a case in point. This article offers a supplementary explanation which has been overlooked by researchers: that problematic Chinese public administration (PA) research directed at theory-building and problem-solving has been a critical factor in reinforcing bureaucratic malfunctioning. This article first reviews the development of Chinese PA as an academic discipline, then highlights the most critical issues in Chinese PA research. This is followed by a report of the content analysis of articles published in five leading Chinese PA journals that documents the various defects and shortcomings of Chinese PA research, suggesting that the Chinese PA community lacks the capacity to use sophisticated methodology to develop indigenous theories to account for and inform PA practices. As a result of this insufficient capacity, it has not been possible to modify imported innovations and practices so as to produce desirable reform effects, and this has reinforced the malfunctioning of the bureaucracy.

Research Area(s)

  • Applied research, Basic research, Bureaucracy, Public administration, Theory-building, KNOWLEDGE, REFORM, DISSERTATIONS, REFLECTIONS, GOVERNMENT