In this paper, we propose a needed reconceptualization of the study of gender and public administration that is sensitive to emerging issues of public-service renewal. Five central themes are examined and new research directions illustrated. The first theme is the nature of commitment. We argue in favour of the development of new social ecological models for the study of work and suggest ways in which personal projects analysis as a methodology can illuminate the nature of commitment and efficacy. Second, we challenge the utility of studying fixed job needs and motivations, arguing that examination of "free traits" and organizational niches may provide a deeper understanding of the pursuits of public servants. Third, we urge researchers to move beyond assumptions about chilly organizational climates. Our finding of a striking linkage for women between perceptions of climate and appraisals of work projects adds a new dimension to the study of organizational climate. Fourth, the paper suggests that, rather than focusing on different management styles, future research should concentrate on the nature of and organizational support for projects of "managing people." Fifth, we address the question of whether things are getting better for women in the public service. We conclude that a sensitive answer to this question goes beyond numbers and beyond conventional research.

Additional Metadata
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1754-7121.1997.tb02173.x
Journal Canadian Public Administration
Citation
Phillips, S.D, Little, B.R, & Goodine, L.A. (Laura A.). (1997). Reconsidering gender and public administration: Five steps beyond conventional research. Canadian Public Administration, 40(4), 563–581. doi:10.1111/j.1754-7121.1997.tb02173.x