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ANDION, Carolina. For a new interpretation of the paradigms changes in the public administration. Cad. EBAPE.BR [online]. 2012, vol.10, n.1, pp.01-19. ISSN 1679-3951.

The objective of this essay is to identify and analyse the theoretical paradigms in the field of public administration in Brazil. The essay demonstrates that there have been no substantial changes in the theoretical paradigms in this field. The central hypothesis is that the field of public administration - as well as social science and organisational theory - is dominated by a functionalist conception of science, although changes in the theoretical paradigms have been perceived in the field in the last two decades. The method used to verify the hypothesis is organised as follows: (i) a discussion of Keinert's work (1994, 2000), pointing out its limitations and offering complements; (ii) a critical examination of the history of the field of public administration in Brazil and its different theories based on the model of paradigms created by Burrell and Morgan (2008); (iii) four main theoretical approaches - "state-centred", pluralist, new public management and new public service - that nowadays compose the field of public administration are analysed and the theoretical paradigm on which each one is based is identified. Finally, a synthesis is presented demonstrating the prevalence of the functionalist paradigm in Brazilian public administration, stressing the need to find new and less-explored meta-theoretical ways (CALDAS, 2007), inspired by critical and interpretative references.

Keywords : Theoretical currents; Paradigms; Public administration.

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