Thomas Woodrow Wilson’s Contributions to Administrative Though and Its Critique


  • Gbosien Chris Sokoh Delta State University


Public administration; T.W. Wilson; contributions to administrative thought; critics


The intellectual root of public administration as a distinct field of study can be traced to the pioneering contributions made by Thomas Woodrow Wilson in the 1880s. It started with the publication of Wilson's “The Study of Administration in 1887 in the Political Science Quarterly. Wilson’s famous essay and the discussion it generated were of unparallel importance to the development of public administration as a distinct field of study. In spite of its popularity and wide acceptance, Wilson's idea has a number of serious limitations for which it has been criticized by a number of Scholars.  Prominent among these scholars were Max Weber, Susan Barrett and Colin Fudge. After careful analysis, we confidently concluded that the development of public administration as a distinct discipline of study was Wilson’s ideas. The objective of this paper therefore was to carefully analyzed Wilson’s contribution to administrative thought and its criticisms.

Author Biography

Gbosien Chris Sokoh, Delta State University

Department of Political Science


[1] Barrett, S., & Fudge, C. (1981). Policy and action. London: Methuen Publication.
[2] Buechner, J.C. (1968). Public administration . New York: Dickenson Publishing Co.
[3] Heady, F. (1962). Comparative public administration concerns and priorities. In F. Heady & S. Stokes(eds.). Comparative public administration. New York: Institute of public Administration.
[4] Herberts, S. (1957). Administrative behaviour. New York: Macmillan Press.
[5] Nicholas, H. (1992). Public administration and public affairs. New York: Simon and Schuster Company.
[6] Nnamdi, H.S., Offiong, O.J., & Tonwe, D. A. (2009). Eminent administrative and management thinkers. Lagos: Amfitop Books.
[7] Riggs, F.W. (1964). Administration in developing countries: The theory of prismatic society. Bostons: Houghton Mifflin Co.
[8] Tumbo, H.B. (2018). The emergence and growth of public administration. Benin City: Folasmark Nig.
[9] Waldo, D. (1953). Ideas and issues in public administration. New York: McGraw – Hill.
[10] Waldo, D. (1955). The study of public administration. New York: Double day and company.
[11] Weber, M. (1947). The theory of social and economic organization. Glencoe: Free Press.
[12] Wilson, T.W. (1887). The study of administration. Political science Quarterly, 2(2), 200 – 218.




How to Cite

Sokoh, G. C. (2020). Thomas Woodrow Wilson’s Contributions to Administrative Though and Its Critique: Array. Journal of Danubian Studies and Research, 10(1). Retrieved from