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Submit a Manuscript to the Journal
International Journal of Public Administration

For a Special Issue on
Public Administration during times of conflict: Impacts on governance and service delivery

Abstract deadline
15 November 2022

Manuscript deadline
30 March 2023

Cover image - International Journal of Public Administration

Special Issue Editor(s)

Denise D P Thompson, John Jay College of Criminal Justice
[email protected]

Abdul-Akeem Sadiq, University of Central Florida
[email protected]

Alessandra Jerolleman, Jacksonville State University
[email protected]

David McEntire , Utah Valley University
[email protected]

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Public Administration during times of conflict: Impacts on governance and service delivery

Public Administration during times of conflict: Impacts on governance and service delivery

Background and Questions of Interest

Conflicts worldwide, such as the ongoing war in Ukraine and conflicts in Ethiopia, Somalia, and Yemen, are increasing (United Nations, n.d.). There remain gaps in public administration and management scholarship relating to studying and understanding conflicts and their impacts on governing and service delivery. Conflicts are often protracted and complicated, compounding administrative burdens in ways we cannot always anticipate or fully comprehend. Their complexity, uncertainty, and unpredictability make it difficult to study them, and their evolving and undefined nature complicates effective and timely public policy and administration treatment. This symposium collection seeks to redress some of these challenges.

The main features that characterize conflicts include a state of armed hostility between countries or groups within a country and their complexity. War as a type of conflict is difficult to define in international law. However, it suggests a clash of arms, the state of mutual tension and threat of violence between groups, and the authorized declaration by a sovereign body (Eagleton, 1932; Moseley, n.d.). Routley (2021), using the Uppsala Conflict Data Program, mapped 27 ongoing armed conflicts as of October 2021 and classified the type of wars based on the number of combat-related deaths in the current or past year. Significant wars are those where 10,000 or more people die; wars are those where 1,000–9,999 people die; minor conflicts are those where 100–999 die; and skirmishes and clashes between 10 and 100 people die (Routley, 2021). In October 2021, there were around 20 countries at war or experiencing major conflict, with more than 1,000 deaths around the globe (Routley, 2021). The most significant ones are Ukraine, the Tigray region of Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, Myanmar, Mozambique, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Countries subject to prolonged conflict can require decades to rebuild their infrastructure, economy, and other functions and put enormous pressure on the state and other providers of government services. In addition, conflicts can result in the suspension of sound governance principles and sometimes lead to a complete shutdown or suspension of public administration functions. In a functioning administrative state, Waldo (1965) observes that formal institutions must work, the budgeting and reporting systems must function, specialization of function and adequate controls must be in place, and the government business must continue. Fritz Marx (1957) argues that the administrative state should not be a state devoid of legislative and judicial organs but one in which administrative organizations and operations are particularly prominent, at least in their quantitative aspect (cited in Van Riper 1983). Van Riper, building on foundational works by Waldo (1965), Marx (1957), and Waldo & Hugh (2017), drawing on Weber's (1946) work on bureaucratic organization, expounds on critical characteristics of any administrative state. These include:

  1. A workable organization in the classical hierarchic sense.
  2. The recruitment of expertise by merit.
  3. Rational decision making.
  4. The rule of law, with an emphasis on equality before the law.
  5. Written procedures and records.
  6. Not only a money economy but sufficient public funds to support a complex administrative apparatus.
  7. A base in quantitative data and technique.
  8. Adequate supporting technology, especially pertaining to records, communications, and numeracy.
  9. The enforcement of responsibility and ethical standards.

Conflicts bring the above issues into sharp focus and require meaningful deliberations on their impacts on public administration and service delivery. The questions that lie here for the symposium collection to address within the context of public administration include: how do conflicts (i.e., wars, violence, and insurrections) impact the administrative state? How do we maintain functioning and mutually supportive governing arrangements in the face of the many, compounding, and complex challenges to public administration and management during conflicts? How do administrative structures adjust and react in the face of disruptions caused by conflicts? What theories and core principles of public administration and management help improve our understanding of conflicts? Are there new theories or successful administrative structures and arrangements for dealing with conflicts?

Research Paper Types: We welcome research syntheses, international and comparative pieces, evidence from practice, quantitative research articles, single and comparative case studies, conceptual papers, and literature reviews illustrating a particular practice or solution to the public administration and management challenges in conflicts. This Symposium Collection welcomes papers using analytical methods or mathematical modeling placed under public administration theoretical frameworks and models.

Submission Instructions

Relevant topics include:

  • Facilitating household, individual and groups’ coping mechanisms
  • Administrative Burden - challenges of keeping the government working and fulfilling the needs of citizens
  • Governance, governments, and organizational responses
  • Network, collaborative and novel approaches to service delivery
  • Innovative PA ideas to better understand conflicts
  • PA capacity and capabilities during conflicts
  • Rethinking PA theories, strategies, methods, and content to improve our understanding of conflicts
  • Rebuilding institutional arrangements post-conflict
  • Suspension of laws, rules of governing, and their implications
  • Protecting vulnerability groups during conflicts
  • Impacts on broader issues of governing – famine, food supply, supply chain, healthcare, education, and security
  • Upholding PA's ethical principles during conflicts
  • keeping citizens and the world informed with fact--based information
  • Leading effectively
  • Administrative reorganization to handle conflicts
  • Managing humanitarian challenges
  • Role of international organizations including UN and NATO in countries experiencing conflicts

Submission Process: A 300-500-word abstract is expected by November 15, 2022. Abstracts should summarize the paper, and must contain key elements, such as clear research question(s)/purpose(s), a clearly articulated research design and methodology, relevance to the symposium topic, and expected contributions to the field of Public Administration.


  • Abstract review complete: December 20, 2022 (completed)
  • Invitations to submit full papers to Guest Editors: by March 10, 2023
  • Symposium March 29, 2023 (Virtual) - authors receive feedback from the audience on papers and input for further work needed
  • Return revised papers with symposium input as appropriate to the guest editors for review and feedback - April 10-20, 2023
  • Guest Editors will send out revised symposium papers to their networks for review and feedback to authors by April 30 ( this will be done on a rolling basis as soon as review is available)
  • Guest Editors will invite authors to SUBMIT REVISED PAPERS to the journal for review: June 30, 2023. IJPA's REGULAR PEER REVIEW PROCESS WILL TAKE OVER. Note: Please follow the journal guidelines for paper including formatting, tables, and figures available at https://www.tandfonline.com/action/authorSubmission?show=instructions&journalCode=lpad20

Instructions for AuthorsSubmit an Article

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