Section X: Reimagining and Reinventing Societies and Social Thought

Track 3: Governance and Public Administration

Margaret Stout and Jeannine M. Love, chairs

Mason Hall, Pomona College campus

This Track harkens back to the early days of the “PA Theory Workshop” in which scholars demanded the opportunity for unrestricted dialogue and deliberation as the foundation of and inspiration for inquiry. An emergent method will be used to explore the history of process thought in public administration, collectively identify five key issues in governance that can be informed by process thought, and workshop those questions toward a shared research agenda.

The ultimate purpose of this Track is to develop a shared process-oriented research agenda. Thus, as an alternative to panel sessions filled with paper presentations or pre-determined roundtable discussions, we have developed a plan for process-based collaborative work. Toward that end, we will pursue dialogue and deliberation that begins with very open-ended framing.

During breakout Session 1, a plenary talk will present an overview and history of process thought in public administration starting with Mary Follett and ending with contemporary scholars. Participants will then be invited to identify five key issues or big questions in governance that can be informed by process thought.

After the five issues/questions are identified by the group, we will ask for volunteers to facilitate or co-facilitate a dialogue on each of the topics chosen. One topic will be discussed in each of the following Sessions, 2-6, allowing everyone to participate. During these sessions, the facilitators will capture important ideas from the dialogue. Participants who aren’t keenly interested in the topic at hand are free to attend sessions in other Tracks either within Section X or otherwise, and are invited to bring back ideas they feel have implications for governance and public administration.

In Session 7, the group will reconvene as a whole to share the results of the facilitated sessions or other conference sessions attended, collecting all ideas that emerged. These results will be synthesized in Session 8, and the group will collaboratively formulate a research agenda and identify working groups or individuals that wish to work together toward various products.


Lloyd Amoah
Koen Bartels
Jelle Behagel
Cynthia Lynch
Jeannine Love
Jack Meek
Ricardo Schmukler
Margaret Stout
Curtis Ventriss
Hendrik Wagenaar
Lisa Zanetti


Breakout Session 1:

Plenary talk by Margaret Stout—A genealogy of process thought in Public Administration Theory; Group deliberation—identification of five key issues or big questions in governance that can be informed by process thought

Breakout Sessions 2-6:

Dialogue and deliberation on five items identified by the group; Attendance of other conference sessions

Breakout Session 7:

Group sharing of ideas developed or gathered from other conference sessions


Breakout Session 8:

Synthesis of ideas; formulation of a research agenda and identification of working groups or individuals that will produce chapters for an edited volume for publication with Process Century Press

Margaret Stout

Assistant Professor
Department of Public Administration

Rockefeller School of Policy and Politics

West Virginia University
PO Box 6322 / 325 Willey Street
Morgantown WV  26506-6322
304-293-7978 office


Biography:  Margaret Stout is an Assistant Professor of Public Administration at West Virginia University. Following her first career as a practitioner, she continues a passion for community development through service learning and action research projects as a faculty member. Her research explores the role of public and nonprofit practitioners in achieving democratic social and economic justice with specific interests in administrative theory, public service leadership and ethics, and sustainable local governance and community development. She has a particularly strong interest in the ontological underpinnings of these issues, as shown in her books, Logics of Legitimacy: Three Traditions of Public Administration Praxis (Taylor & Francis) and Integrative Process: Follettian Thinking from Ontology to Administration (Process Century Press), with Jeannine M. Love.     

Key quote: Process thought has influenced governance theory and practice through consideration of the relationships between the individual and society, citizens and government, and public servants and agencies. Through both participatory democracy and human relations in the workplace, public administration theory has kept process thought alive in the face of extreme market-oriented pressures. This Track will celebrate these streams of thought and collaboratively imagine where they might take us in the future of governance.