P21 Knowledge-Building in Asian Public Management: Experiences, Challenges and Opportunities

Corresponding Chair

Cheol LIU, Professor, KDI School of Public Policy and Management, South Korea. cliu@kdischool.ac.kr

Review Group Chair

Liang MA, Professor, School of Public Administration and Policy, Renmin University of China

Co-Chairs and Reviewers

Chung-An Chen, Associate Professor, Public Policy and Global Affairs Programme, School of Social Sciences, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

Soojin Kim, Assistant Professor, Public Policy and Global Affairs Programme, School of Social Sciences, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Cheol Liu, Professor, KDI School of Public Policy and Management, South Korea

Liang Ma, Professor, School of Public Administration and Policy, Renmin University of China

Sangyub Ryu, Associate Professor, Department of Public Administration, College of Social Science, Yonsei University, Seoul, South Korea


As Hofstede (2007) argues, the Asian context is special enough to merit more Asian-driven, cross-cultural, and comparative public management research – e.g., seeing what changed, what remained the same, what should be changed in the future – or comparing them. We thus believe that evidence and lessons from the Asia Pacific region may open new windows that allow scholars and practitioners to learn prior experiences, underlying challenges, and opportunities and then improve public management theory and practice at large.

One example is the response of countries to the COVID-19 pandemic and even that in the post outbreak era. While many Western countries have experienced a full-scale back and forth lockdown of cities and continued to impose entry restrictions and border closures, many people in the Asia Pacific region started to pursue relatively (earlier) normal lives - for example, due to China’s institutional advantage by a top-down authoritarian regime, Singapore’s whole-of government collaborations in ICT and business digitalization, Taiwan’s national vaccination drive through rigorous campaigns, and South Korea’s trial-and-error learning and subsequent contingency plans into action. They suggest that although Asian countries have different governance contexts, people’s higher level of trust in government, which is basically embedded in Confucian culture’s submission to authority, has commonly contributed to better government – people synergy in controlling the virus.  

The views about Asian public management are intellectually illuminating, but there is still much to learn about works in public management and performance based on more realistic practices, experiences and lessons, perhaps through focused research. In pursuit of having more confidence in developing Asian-specific research agenda, this exploratory-study panel attempts to enhance our understanding of the variations of and the common factors associated with, but not limited to, the following topics:

  • Asia Pacific-based research that examines the applicability of propositions developed in the West
  • Research that proposes new concepts tailored to the Asia Pacific context
  • Research that compares public management between the East and the West, or large-sample, cross-country public management research
  • Systematic reviews that explore variations associated with geographic region or country
  • Urban and local governance for sustainable development in the Asia-Pacific region

For the methods, a mixed-methods approach, survey questionnaire, meta-analysis, and cross-comparative case studies will be especially welcomed.


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