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Unmasking Administrative Evil / Edition 3

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Completely revised, and featuring a new foreword by Philip Zimbardo and a new chapter on the abuses at Abu Ghraib, this classic work examines how the modern age, with its emphasis on technical rationality, has enabled a new and dangerous form of evil. The authors argue that the tendency toward administrative evil, as manifested in acts of dehumanization and genocide, is deeply woven into the identity of public affairs, as well as other fields and professions in public life.

The common characteristic of administrative evil is that ordinary people, within their normal professional and administrative roles, can engage in acts of evil without being aware that they are doing anything wrong. Under conditions of moral inversion, people may even view their evil activity as good.

In the face of this indisputable danger, this book seeks to lay the groundwork for a more ethical and democratic public life-one that recognizes its potential for evil, and thereby creates greater possibilities for avoiding the hidden pathways that lead to state-sponsored dehumanization and destruction.

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Editorial Reviews

Using the Holocaust to prove the reality of administrative evil, the authors show how evil is masked within contemporary administrative organizations. The first chapter discusses how individual, organizational, and social behaviors interact in ways that can lead to administrative evil. Subsequent chapters discuss topics such as modernity and technical rationality; the Holocaust and public administration; Mittelbau-Dora, Penem<:u>nde, and the Marshall Space Flight Center; NASA and the Space Shuttle ; and finding a basis for ethics in the public service. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765623317
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 7/15/2009
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 284,293
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Adams’ research has focused on public service ethics, history and theory, and on organizational symbolism and culture. His book,Unmasking Administrative Evil, with Danny L. Balfour, (Third edition, Armonk, NY: ME Sharpe, Inc., 2009) won the 1998 Louis Brownlow Book Award, the National Academy of Public Administration’s highest award for excellence in public administrationscholarship, as well as the 1998 Best Book Award from the Public and Nonprofit Division and the 2002 Best Book Award from the Social Issues in Management Division, both of the Academy of Management. He was awarded the 2007 Marshall E. Dimock Award for the best lead article in the Public Administration Review. In the forty year histories of the Brownlow and Dimock Awards, only four others have won both awards—Harlan Cleveland, Donald Kettl, William Gormley and Alasdair Roberts. Adams also co-authored The Tacit Organization (Greenwich, CT: JAI Press, 1992); and has over seventy scholarly publications, including books, book chapters, and articles in the top national and international public affairs journals. He currently serves as Co-Editor-in-Chief of the American Review of Public Administration. In 2008, Adams received the Faculty-Alumni Award for distinguished contributions as a scholar and teacher, given by the Alumni Association of the University of Missouri. In 1995, he received the prestigious William T. Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence, given annually to ten faculty at the University of Missouri in campus-wide competition. In 2001, he received the Outstanding Service Award from the Association of Master of Public Administration Students of the Truman School. He has served as Chair of both the Section on Public Administration Research and the Section on Public Administration Education of the American Society for Public Administration; on the Executive Committee of the Public Administration Section, American Political Science Association; and is a member of the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics and the Standing Conference on Organizational Symbolism (Europe).

Professor Balfour Ph.D.joined the public administration faculty at Grand Valley State University in 1996 andserved as director of the school from then until 2007. He is co-author of the award-winningbook Unmasking Administrative Evil(3rdedition, M.E. Sharpe, 2009) and has numerous other scholarly publications, including book chapters and articles in top national and international public affairs journals. He was the founding managing editor of the Journal of Public Affairs Educationand serves on the editorial boards of several public affairs journals. Professor Balfour teaches courses in publicmanagementand ethics, organization theory, strategic management, and history of the Holocaust.

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Table of Contents

Foreword to the Revised Edition
Foreword to the First Edition
Introduction and Overview
1 The Dynamics of Evil and Administrative Evil 3
Modernity, Technical Rationality, and Administrative Evil 4
Evil in the Modern Age 5
Understanding Evil 11
The Roots of Administrative Evil: A Psychological Perspective 14
The Social Construction of Evil 20
Individual, Organization, and Society 21
2 Compliance, Technical Rationality, and Administrative Evil 25
Evil and Organizations 26
The Social Construction of Compliance: The Stanford Prison Experiment 27
Modernity and the Dominance of Technical Rationality 29
Compliance in a Culture of Technical Rationality 36
Failing to See Administrative Evil 39
3 Administrative Evil Unmasked: The Holocaust and Public Service 43
The Holocaust and Administrative Evil 44
Adolf Eichmann and the Banality of Administrative Evil 56
Perfectly Safe Ground? 62
4 Administrative Evil Masked: From Mittelbau-Dora and Peenemunde to the Marshall Space Flight Center 65
Mittelbau-Dora 66
Peenemunde 71
Operations Overcast and Paperclip 74
The Von Braun Team 82
Administrative Evil 89
5 Organizational Dynamics and Administrative Evil: The Marshall Space Flight Center, NASA, and the Space Shuttles Challenger and Columbia 91
Organizational Dynamics and the Pathway to Administrative Evil 93
The Marshall Space Flight Center, Challenger, and the Pathway to Administrative Evil 95
The Challenger Disaster 102
The Marshall Space Flight Center 105
The Evolution of a Destructive Organizational Culture at Marshall 108
The Space Shuttle Columbia Disaster 113
The Pathway to Administrative Evil 116
6 Public Policy and Administrative Evil 119
Public Policy and Problem Solving 119
Surplus Populations and Public Policy Metaphors 125
The Evacuation and Relocation of "All Persons of Japanese Ancestry" 134
Surplus Populations, Moral Inversion, and Administrative Evil 143
7 In the Face of Administrative Evil: Searching for a Basis for Public Ethics 147
Necessary but Not Sufficient: The Technical-Rational Approach to Public Service Ethics 148
The Challenge of Administrative Evil 150
Globalization, the Corrosion of Character, and Surplus Populations 153
The Prospects for Reconstructing Public Ethics 156
Liberal Democracy 157
Cruelty, Deliberation, and Administrative Evil 162
References 165
Index 177
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