chapter  15
Administration in Comparative Perspective
Pages 26

POLITICAL CULTURE AND PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION Central to the existence of wide varieties of governments is the influence of culture on government. The most obvious influence is in the way people are socialized to accept certain forms of government as good or bad. Political socialization, which is simply a part of the more general socialization and enculturation processes, permits persons in a society to make judgments about what constitutes “good government.” But it must also be noted that political norms cannot be wholly separated from economic and social norms. The interaction between these three norms in effect defines a culture. Also, by defining what is good or bad in government the culture creates a framework for defining permissible government action. This understanding of the “right kind of government” goes beyond acceptance of the institutions of government to the very character of the government activity. The easiest way of visualizing this is to recognize that the labeling of a regime as conservative or liberal often has more to do with policy and action than the type of government institutions employed. It is this fact that is relevant to understanding the impact of culture on public administration.