The grid-group cultural theory of Mary Douglas is used to produce a basic categorization of polar approaches to control over public administration and management and to illuminate the selfdisequilibrating dynamics of public administration control systems. The four polar types are based on contrived randomness, competition, mutuality and review. The self-disequilibrating processes work through a combination of mutual repulsion among the polar types and the inherent limitations of each type, which will tend to produce more serious side-effects and reverse effects the more emphasis is placed on any one type. Six hybrid types of control are discussed as simple pairwise combinations of the four polar types, but such hybrids are also likely to be unstable. The approach used here appears at least as good on three criteria as any other current available classification of controls over public administration and it offers a distinctive agenda for examining control design and outcomes.
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