Public administration theory is the amalgamation of history, organizational theory, social theory, political theory and related studies focused on the meanings, structures and functions of public service in all its forms.
A standard course of study in PhD programs dedicated to public administration, public administration theory often recounts major historical foundations for the study of bureaucracy as well as epistemological issues associated with public service as a profession and as an academic field.
Important figures of study often include the following persons: Max Weber, Frederick Taylor, Luther Gulick, Mary Parker Follett, Chester Barnard, Herbert Simon, and Dwight Waldo. In more recent times, the field has had three main branches: new public management, classic public administration and postmodern public administration theory. The last grouping is often viewed as manifest in the Public Administration Theory Network (PAT-NET) and its publication, Administrative Theory & Praxis.