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Žiga Kotnik and Polonca Kovač

Abstract

Public administration (PA) as a discipline and public governance as a closely related concept have been developing constantly and rather rapidly in recent years. A particularly lively progress is characteristic of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), owing to its post-communist legacy and subsequent transition. This paper outlines the mainstream topics of PA development within The NISPAcee Journal, which covers the CEE region and beyond. The principal objective of the paper is to systematically and quantitatively codify a series of text documents that comprises 142 articles published between 2008 and 2016 in The NISPAcee Journal, in order to identify the characteristics of PA development in the region. The paper investigates three hypotheses: first, whether the quality of the articles changed throughout 2008 – 2016; second, whether The NISPAcee Journal attests a multidisciplinary orientation in terms of scientific contributions from different disciplines, and third, whether The NISPAcee Journal reflects the West-East knowledge transfer among PA academia. The three hypotheses were tested against seven analytical dimensions. The research findings reveal that governance is the prevailing cognitive paradigmatic approach of The NISPAcee Journal. Europeanisation is the common thread of almost all articles, with a particular emphasis on the ideological elements of the Neo-Weberian and New Public Management doctrines. Qualitative methodology is still the prevailing research method, and the occurrence of mixed methodology is rare. The topical orientation of the analysed manuscripts is very diverse. A considerable emphasis is placed on the analysis and development of PA as a discipline. The majority of researchers originate from CEE countries and focus their studies on Eastern Europe, the Balkans, and the Caucasus. Scientific partnership between the Eastern and the Western academic worlds is still scarce. Given the low level of exchange of best academic practices between Western and Eastern Europe, research results indicate the need for an increased internationalisation of the NISPAcee Journal and a more holistic approach to tackle the future challenges of global and regional PA and public governance more adequately.