Scholars and public professionals are making important theoretical, practical, and operational strides in developing a new approach to public administration as an alternative to approaches that preceded it. They need to do more, however, before the new approach is widely understood, appreciated, and used to advance important public values underplayed by traditional public administration and New Public Management. In this final section we offer some tentative conclusions about where things stand and then outline an agenda for research and practice.
Where Things Stand While there clearly is an emerging new approach to public admin istration, it does not have a consensually agreed name. Among the various possibilities, however, the Denhardts’ label the New Public Service certainly appears to be the leading contender based on citations. Whatever the name, attention to issues of public value, public values, and the public sphere are central to the new approach.
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The concept of creating public value is popular within both aca demic and practice settings. Even crit ics note the broad interest in the idea among practitioners. Similarly, Van der Wal, Nabatchi, and de Graaf assert that the study of public values is gaining in impor tance in public administration and may well be one of the field’s most important current themes. Finally, for several decades scholars and political commentators have devoted increased attention to the public sphere, including debates about the limits and role of govern ment, the why and how of public engagement and active citizen ship, and the need for a strengthened democracy.