“I do not wish to imply that the theory was original with Wilson and that others consciously followed in his foot steps. Rather, I assume that Wilson used an approach which he found helpful in his work and that this approach was shared by other scholars who undertook graduate study in the newly organised departments during the late nineteenth century.
Many scholars in succeeding generations have in turn, gone back to Wilson’s work and found affirmation and inspiration for their own work.”
Building upon the basic precepts in Wilsonian paradigm, students of public administration gradually articulated several principles of administration. Such concepts as unity of command, span of control, chain of command, and departmentalisation by major functions and direction by single heads of authority in subordinate units of administration are assumed to have universal applicability in the perfection of administrative arrangements.
Major attack on “principles” was made by Simon Herbert. Simon undertook the frontal attack which Gulick had avoided. Simon used the criteria of efficiency, as his basic tool to define what is meant by “good” or “correct” administration. The criterion of efficiency according to Simon “dictates the choice which produces the largest result from given application of resources”.
Wilson’s seminal article has been variously interpreted some have insisted that Wilson originated the “politics administration dichotomy. The main distinction between “political” activity and “administrative” activity in public organization that would plague the field for years to come.
Other scholars have countered that Wilson was well aware that Public Administration was innately political in nature, and he made this point clear in his article. In reality Wilson, he seems ambivalent about what public administration really was.
Similarly Richard J. Stillman II had reviewed the famous essay after 80 years in his thorough and exhaustive reconsideration in these words:
Stillman says, ‘Wilson failed to amplify what the study of administration actually entails, what the proper relationship should be between the administrative and political realms, and whether or not administrative study could ever become an abstract science akin to the natural sciences”.
Professor Nicolas Henry concludes his observation about Wilson’s thesis is these words:
“Nevertheless, Wilson, unquestionably posited one unambiguous thesis in his article that has had a lasting impact on the ‘field: Public Administration was worth studying. Political Scientists would later create the first identifiable paradigm of public administration around Wilson’s contention”.
Nicholas Henry and Richard J. Stillman II had critically estimated the contribution of Woodrow Wilson to Political Science and Public Administration.
Woodrow Wilson’s analysis as political leader as well as a theorist is given in his important contribution to literature of Public Administration entitled: The Intellectual Crisis in American Public Administration”.
“The beginning of modern inquiry in American Public Administration is often identified with Woodrow Wilson’s essay on the ‘Study of Administration’ published in 1887. Frank J. Goodnow’s ‘Politics and Administration (1900) is another important statement of the classical theory of administration which is highly congruent with Wilson’s formulation”.
Vincent Ostrom heavily relied on Woodrow Wilson’s book: “Congressional Government” (1885) for an analysis of Wilsonian theoretical foundations of American Scholarship in public administration.
Vincrent Ostrom is very clear to admit in the beginning,” I do not wish to imply that the theory was original with Wilson and that, others consciously followed in his footsteps.
Rather, I assume that Wilson used an approach which he found helpful in his work, and that this approach was shared by other scholars who undertook graduate study during the late nineteenth century many scholars in succeeding generation have, turn gone back to Wilson’s work and found affirmation and inspiration for their work Eg. Caldwell 1965, Dimock 1937, Millett 1959, Wengert 1942, White 1948).