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What is Public Administration ? - Meaning and its Definition

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❶These officials were all appointed by the central government and were responsible to it. In response to an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit against the administration , a federal judge ordered the federal government to reunite children younger than 5 with their parents by Tuesday, and the remaining children by July

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Drawing on the democracy theme and discarding the link to the executive branch, Patricia M. Shields asserts that public administration "deals with the stewardship and implementation of the products of a living democracy". A living democracy is "an environment that is changing, organic", imperfect, inconsistent and teaming with values. More recently scholars claim that "public administration has no generally accepted definition", because the "scope of the subject is so great and so debatable that it is easier to explain than define".

There is much disagreement about whether the study of public administration can properly be called a discipline, largely because of the debate over whether public administration is a subfield of political science or a subfield of administrative science ", the latter an outgrowth of its roots in policy analysis and evaluation research.

He argues that public administration is the public provision of public goods in which the demand function is satisfied more or less effectively by politics, whose primary tool is rhetoric, providing for public goods, and the supply function is satisfied more or less efficiently by public management, whose primary tools are speech acts, producing public goods. The moral purpose of public administration, implicit in its acceptance of its role, is the maximization of the opportunities of the public to satisfy its wants.

This includes "Legislative activities, taxation, national defense, public order and safety, immigration services, foreign affairs and international assistance, and the administration of government programs are activities that are purely governmental in nature". From the academic perspective, the National Center for Education Statistics NCES in the United States defines the study of public administration as "A program that prepares individuals to serve as managers in the executive arm of local, state, and federal government and that focuses on the systematic study of executive organization and management.

Includes instruction in the roles, development, and principles of public administration; the management of public policy; executive-legislative relations; public budgetary processes and financial management; administrative law; public personnel management; professional ethics; and research methods. Dating back to Antiquity, Pharaohs, kings and emperors have required pages, treasurers, and tax collectors to administer the practical business of government.

Prior to the 19th century, staffing of most public administrations was rife with nepotism, favouritism, and political patronage, which was often referred to as a " spoils system ". Public administrators have long been the "eyes and ears" of rulers. In medieval times, the abilities to read and write, add and subtract were as dominated by the educated elite as public employment.

Consequently, the need for expert civil servants whose ability to read and write formed the basis for developing expertise in such necessary activities as legal record-keeping, paying and feeding armies and levying taxes. As the European Imperialist age progressed and the militarily powers extended their hold over other continents and people, the need for a sophisticated public administration grew.

The field of management may well be said to have originated in ancient China, [22] including possibly the first highly centralized bureaucratic state, and the earliest by the second century BC example of an administration based on merit through testing. Creel and other scholars find the influence of Chinese administration in Europe by the 12th century, for example, in Fredrick II 's promulgations, characterized as the "birth certificate of modern bureaucracy". Though Chinese administration cannot be traced to any one individual, emphasizing a merit system figures of the Fa-Jia like 4th century BC reformer Shen Buhai — BC may have had more influence than any other, and might be considered its founder, if not valuable as a rare pre-modern example of abstract theory of administration.

Creel writes that, in Shen Buhai, there are the "seeds of the civil service examination ", and that, if one wishes to exaggerate, it would "no doubt be possible to translate Shen Buhai's term Shu, or technique, as 'science'", and argue that he was the first political scientist, though Creel does "not care to go this far".

The eighteenth-century noble, King Frederick William I of Prussia , created professorates in Cameralism in an effort to train a new class of public administrators. The universities of Frankfurt an der Oder and University of Halle were Prussian institutions emphasizing economic and social disciplines, with the goal of societal reform. Johann Heinrich Gottlob Justi was the most well-known professor of Cameralism.

Thus, from a Western European perspective, Classic, Medieval, and Enlightenment-era scholars formed the foundation of the discipline that has come to be called public administration. Lorenz von Stein , an German professor from Vienna , is considered the founder of the science of public administration in many parts of the world.

In the time of Von Stein, public administration was considered a form of administrative law, but Von Stein believed this concept too restrictive. Von Stein taught that public administration relies on many prestablished disciplines such as sociology , political science , administrative law and public finance. He called public administration an integrating science, and stated that public administrators should be concerned with both theory and practice. He argued that public administration is a science because knowledge is generated and evaluated according to the scientific method.

Modern American public administration is an extension of democratic governance, justified by classic and liberal philosophers of the western world ranging from Aristotle to John Locke [29] to Thomas Jefferson.

He first formally recognized public administration in an article entitled " The Study of Administration ". The future president wrote that "it is the object of administrative study to discover, first, what government can properly and successfully do, and, secondly, how it can do these proper things with the utmost possible efficiency and at the least possible cost either of money or of energy".

The separation of politics and administration has been the subject of lasting debate. The different perspectives regarding this dichotomy contribute to differentiating characteristics of the suggested generations of public administration.

By the s, scholars of public administration had responded to Wilson's solicitation and thus textbooks in this field were introduced. Frederick Taylor — , another prominent scholar in the field of administration and management also published a book entitled The Principles of Scientific Management He believed that scientific analysis would lead to the discovery of the "one best way" to do things or carrying out an operation.

This, according to him could help save cost and time. Taylor's technique was later introduced to private industrialists, and later into the various government organizations Jeong, Taylor's approach is often referred to as Taylor's Principles or Taylorism.

Taylor's scientific management consisted of main four principles Frederick W. Taylor had very precise ideas about how to introduce his system approach: And the duty of enforcing the adoption of standards and enforcing this cooperation rests with management alone. The separation of politics and administration advocated by Wilson continues to play a significant role in public administration today.

However, the dominance of this dichotomy was challenged by second generation scholars, beginning in the s. Luther Gulick 's fact-value dichotomy was a key contender for Wilson's proposed politics-administration dichotomy. In place of Wilson's first generation split, Gulick advocated a "seamless web of discretion and interaction".

Luther Gulick and Lyndall Urwick are two second-generation scholars. Gulick, Urwick, and the new generation of administrators built on the work of contemporary behavioural, administrative, and organizational scholars including Henri Fayol , Fredrick Winslow Taylor , Paul Appleby, Frank Goodnow, and Willam Willoughby. The new generation of organizational theories no longer relied upon logical assumptions and generalizations about human nature like classical and enlightened theorists.

Gulick developed a comprehensive, generic theory of organization that emphasized the scientific method, efficiency, professionalism, structural reform, and executive control. Gulick summarized the duties of administrators with an acronym; POSDCORB , which stands for planning, organizing, staffing, directing, coordinating, reporting, and budgeting.

Fayol developed a systematic, point treatment of private management. Second-generation theorists drew upon private management practices for administrative sciences. A single, generic management theory bleeding the borders between the private and the public sector was thought to be possible. With the general theory, the administrative theory could be focused on governmental organizations. The mids theorists challenged Wilson and Gulick.

The politics-administration dichotomy remained the centre of criticism. During the s, the United States experienced prolonged prosperity and solidified its place as a world leader. Public Administration experienced a kind of heyday due to the successful war effort and successful post war reconstruction in Western Europe and Japan.

Government was popular as was President Eisenhower. In the s and s, government itself came under fire as ineffective, inefficient, and largely a wasted effort. The costly American intervention in Vietnam along with domestic scandals including the bugging of Democratic party headquarters the Watergate scandal are two examples of self-destructive government behaviour that alienated citizens. There was a call by citizens for efficient administration to replace ineffective, wasteful bureaucracy.

Public administration would have to distance itself from politics to answer this call and remain effective. Elected officials supported these reforms. The Hoover Commission , chaired by University of Chicago professor Louis Brownlow , to examine reorganization of government.

Brownlow subsequently founded the Public Administration Service PAS at the university, an organization which has provided consulting services to all levels of government until the s. Concurrently, after World War II , the whole concept of public administration expanded to include policymaking and analysis, thus the study of "administrative policy making and analysis" was introduced and enhanced into the government decision-making bodies.

Later on, the human factor became a predominant concern and emphasis in the study of public administration. This period witnessed the development and inclusion of other social sciences knowledge, predominantly, psychology, anthropology, and sociology, into the study of public administration Jeong, Appleby Policy and Administration , Frank Marini 'Towards a New Public Administration' , and others that have contributed positively in these endeavors.

In the late s, yet another generation of public administration theorists began to displace the last. In the s, new public management became prevalent throughout the bureaucracies of the US, the UK and, to a lesser extent, in Canada. The original public management theories have roots attributed to policy analysis, according to Richard Elmore in his article published in the " Journal of Policy Analysis and Management ". Some modern authors define NPM as a combination of splitting large bureaucracies into smaller, more fragmented agencies, encouraging competition between different public agencies, and encouraging competition between public agencies and private firms and using economic incentives lines e.

Some critics argue that the New Public Management concept of treating people as "customers" rather than "citizens" is an inappropriate borrowing from the private sector model, because businesses see customers as a means to an end profit , rather than as the proprietors of government the owners , opposed to merely the customers of a business the patrons. In New Public Management, people are viewed as economic units not democratic participants which is the hazard of linking an MBA business administration, economic and employer-based model too closely with the public administration governmental, public good sector.

Nevertheless, the NPM model one of four described by Elmore in , including the "generic model" is still widely accepted at multiple levels of government e. In the late s, Janet and Robert Denhardt proposed a new public services model in response to the dominance of NPM. One example of this is openforum. Another new public service model is what has been called New Public Governance, an approach which includes a centralization of power; an increased number, role and influence of partisan-political staff; personal-politicization of appointments to the senior public service; and, the assumption that the public service is promiscuously partisan for the government of the day.

In the mids, the goal of community programs in the United States was often represented by terms such as independent living, community integration , inclusion, community participation, deinstitutionalization , and civil rights.

Thus, the same public policy and public administration was to apply to all citizens, inclusive of disability.

However, by the s, categorical state systems were strengthened in the United States Racino, in press, , and efforts were made to introduce more disability content into the public policy curricula [42] with disability public policy and administration distinct fields in their own right. How to use a word that literally drives some people nuts.

The awkward case of 'his or her'. Test your visual vocabulary with our question challenge! Explore the year a word first appeared. Definition of public administration: Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with: More than , words that aren't in our free dictionary Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes Advanced search features Ad free! Join Our Free Trial Now! The development of civil service in U. The adoption of a merit system can usually be dated from the early 20th century, during the reform period of the muckrakers.

In some states the merit system became well established, with a central personnel office that included a civil service commission or board similar to the federal model. At the other extreme there was simply a central personnel office headed by a single personnel director with no advisory board.

At the municipal level, by the midth century, most large cities in the United States had developed some sort of merit system; in smaller cities, however, merit systems were correspondingly less common. In the counties, the majority of which were rural and had relatively few public employees, formally established merit systems were rare.

In Russia the Revolution of swept away the tsarist civil service. The Communist Party at first held that a strong administrative organization was bound to damage the revolution by dampening spontaneity and other revolutionary virtues. But it soon became clear that a regime dedicated to social engineering, economic planning, and world revolution needed trained administrators.

The party fell back, albeit reluctantly, upon the expertise of the more reliable tsarist civil servants. It did, however, surround the new civil service with elaborate controls in an attempt to ensure that its members remained loyal to party directives. As the Communist Party itself became bureaucratized and as the more enthusiastic revolutionary leaders were eliminated, special industrial academies were set up for party members who had shown administrative talent.

With the First Five-Year Plan —32 the status of civil servants was improved, and their conditions of service were made less rigid, even though the party never relaxed its tight system of control over all branches of the state apparatus. In the State Commission on the Civil Service was created and attached to the Commissariat of Finance with responsibility for ensuring general control of personnel practice. This commission laid down formal patterns of administrative structure, reformed existing bureaucratic practices, fixed levels of staffing, standardized systems of job classification, and eliminated unnecessary functions and staff.

The Soviet commission, unlike those in such countries as Great Britain and the United States, was given no jurisdiction over the recruitment of civil servants, which remained the function of the ministries and agencies. The highest administrative and technical staff members were recruited by each ministry. Each branch of industry and administration had its own training schools, from which it selected qualified students with satisfactory records. On appointment, the student was bonded for a minimum of three years and liable to criminal proceedings if he refused or subsequently relinquished his assignment.

At the lower levels of administration, recruitment and job placement were the responsibility of the Commissariat of Labour Reserves. The Communist Party made determined attempts to recruit higher civil servants as party members. These drives, which followed periodically after the s, went a long way toward transforming the party itself into an administrative and managerial elite and uniting the party and the state administration.

The highest levels of the civil service came to constitute an influential apparatus and power centre in their own right. The internal structure of the civil service, moreover, had been fashioned along classic French and German lines; and titles, ranks, insignia, and uniforms officially appeared in various parts of the public services.

Within a decade the weight of the administration had already led, according to party dogma , to a gap between the elite and the masses and also to excessive stratification among the ruling bureaucrats , or cadres, themselves.

The number of ratings represented very considerable differences of power, prestige, and prerogatives and produced psychological barriers between the highest and lowest grades at least as great and as conspicuous as between the cadres and the masses.

Until the 17th century, Japan under the shogunate was administered by a military establishment made up of vassals and enfeoffed nobles. After the s a civil bureaucracy developed and began to assume a more important role than the military. Appointment within the bureaucracy was based upon family rank, and officials were loyal primarily to the feudal lord.

It was not until after Matthew C. Perry sailed four U. Merit appointments were made on a modest scale immediately after Japan was opened to the West, yet it was not until the s, during the Meiji Restoration , that a modern civil service was created on the basis of job security, career paths, and entry by open competition. Tokyo University law graduates tended to dominate this new civil service.

After World War II the Allied occupation authorities directed the passage of a Japanese law guaranteeing that all public officials should be servants of the people rather than of the emperor.

The National Public Service Law of set up an independent National Personnel Authority to administer recruitment, promotion, conditions of employment, standards of performance, and job classification for the new civil service. Technically the emperor himself became a civil servant, and detailed regulations brought within the scope of the new law all civil servants from labourers to the prime minister.

Civil servants were classified into two groups, the regular service and a special service. Civil servants in the former category entered the service by competitive examination on a standard contract with tenure.

The special service included elected officials and political appointees and covered such officials as members of the Diet legislature , judges, members of the audit boards, and ambassadors.

The idealization of the scholar-bureaucrat a Confucian tradition borrowed from China makes the civil service an independent power centre. Political struggles in the Diet have led to constantly changing ministries, and individual ministers rarely stay at a post long enough to establish firm control of their administration. As in many democratic countries with volatile political systems, administrative control has tended to pass to senior civil servants.

Less-developed countries have had to face the opposite problem with their civil services. After World War II many such countries became independent before they had developed effective administrative structures or bodies of trained civil servants. Few of the colonial powers had trained indigenous administrators sufficiently.

The British left a viable administrative structure in India and a partly Indianized civil service, but the newly independent Pakistan had few experienced civil servants. The Belgians left the Congo without any trained administrative or technical staff, and for some years there was near anarchy.

Civil servants from the old colonial powers who remained behind often found radical policies and new masters uncongenial. The resulting exodus of many such civil servants worsened matters, for indigenous civil servants were seldom an adequate substitute. The lack of qualified personnel sometimes led to not only a reduction in efficiency but also a decline in administrative morality. Nepotism, tribalism, and corruption as well as inefficiency in the civil service were difficulties often added to the other trials of independence.

In many countries the incapacity of the civil service was a factor leading to military rule , as were the political failings of the elected leaders. Military regimes have frequently been the last resort of a country where the civil power has failed to cope with the problems of independence.

Consequently, the United Nations UN , in conjunction with the governments of advanced countries, began to develop training programs for civil servants from underdeveloped countries. The first request came from Latin America , which led to the founding of a school of public administration in Brazil, followed in by an Advanced School of Public Administration for Central America. Various other international organizations, including the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the World Bank , supported institutions for the training of administrators in the less-developed countries.

Civil servants from the less-developed nations also studied administration at such places as the Institute of Social Studies in The Hague, Neth. After the s the international agencies gave less help toward training, on the assumption—often unrealized—that the less-developed nations would take on greater responsibility themselves. Training also tended to be generalist and academic, leading to acute shortages of trained administrators in specialized fields such as finance and planning.

However, organizations such as the British Council began in the early s to remedy some of these deficiencies. We welcome suggested improvements to any of our articles.

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Public administration definition is - a branch of political science dealing primarily with the structure and workings of agencies charged with the administration of governmental functions.

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Public administration is like any other administration which is carried out in public interest. Before we dwell deeper into understanding public administration it would be beneficial to try and see how different authors have tried to define what administration is.

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Public administration is concerned with the implementation of government policy, and is an academic discipline that studies this implementation and prepares civil servants for working in the public service. Public administration definition, the implementation of public policy, largely by the executive branch. See more.

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What Is Public Administration? Public administration is the field of service that maintains a civil society and provides for the needs of the public. There are many career paths and degree programs in this field. Define Public administration. Public administration synonyms, Public administration pronunciation, Public administration translation, English dictionary definition of Public administration. Noun 1. public office - a position concerning the people as a whole berth, billet, post, situation, position, office, place, spot - a job in an.