The contemporary comparative public administration is concerned with the complexities of social change in the context of modernization and diversity. These complexities are:
- What really is modernization?
- What role does diversity play in modernization?
- What are the context specific processes of modernization?
- What is the difference between cultures which have modernized themselves?
Influenced by the events at the international level, the comparative public administration has moved from the “theoretical” emphasis of the ‘classical era’ to a ‘new’ “empirical” emphasis that guides in making better decisions in public policies and management. For this to happen the modern governments should know what skills and institutions are needed.
The “classical” comparative public administration (generally from 1961 to 1980) stressed transfer of Western technology to the non-western world, export of the ideas of democracy, modernization of the administration through external support, training by foreign practitioners and setting of institutes of public administration etc. The classical era produced mostly the rhetorical debates about what constituted development and how it could be achieved.