TRAMES 4, 6, 2002


Tiina Randma-Liiv

University of Tartu

Abstract. The aim of the study is to examine the consequences of the size of a state for public administration. Differences between larger and smaller countries are shown to be not merely quantitative but also qualitative. The size of the state appears to have a number of implications for the development of public administration. Public organizations in small states face some problems which are significantly different from those of larger bureaucracies, such as the importance of individuals and personal relationships, multi-functionalism of jobs, and the employment of rare specialists. The study suggests that the elements of traditional bureaucracies may not be well suited to the small state context, because a higher degree of ‘personalism’ in small states causes more ‘flexible’ adoption of administrative rules as opposed to the values of rationality and universality in bureaucratic systems. Such fundamental differences provide small states with the challenge of discovering their own approaches to public administration and make the lesson-drawing from the examples of large countries questionable.

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