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Module 1 Introduction to Public Administration Rev1

Module 1 Introduction to Public Administration Rev1

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Published by: vikasgandra on Jul 02, 2011
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07/05/2013

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Chapter IBasic premises - meaning, scope and significance of Public Administration
A.
 
The need for Public Administration
With the increasing complexity or modern life, the importance of  public administration has been increasing. This is because of theneed for intervention by the State in the day-to-day activities of thecitizens. There is hardly any aspect of a citizen’s life which doesnot come into contact with some government agency or the other.In ancient times the needs of the citizens were limited. They could,therefore, live in more or less self-sufficient village communities producing in the village itself whatever they needed for their simple existence. The scientific and industrial revolutions havechanged the situation. The industrial products require a degree of specialization which makes it necessary for the communities to livein bigger cities. The means of production have become rather complex and require a much greater degree of organizational effort.A number of activities can no longer be organised by the citizens privately or even by village or city communities. The nationalgovernment and the State and the local governments have,therefore, to come forward to provide the necessary infrastructuralfacilities for organizing production as well as for facilitatingcommunity living. For example, roads and Railways have to be built to facilitate the transport of raw material to the site of  production as well as to facilitate the distribution of themanufactured goods. These facilities are also required to meet theneeds of the citizens in moving over long distances required bymodern day living. Similarly, communication facilities like thetelephones; microwave transmissions, satellite communication etc.have to be provided to meet the needs of the communities. Allthese require massive investments in human and material resourcesfar beyond the capacity of small village or even city communities.These investments have to be made by the national government andadministered with the help of the local governments and the localcommunities. Apart from the financial investments, a lot of organizational effort is required to meet these needs of the citizens.The points of contact between the citizens and the government
 
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have, therefore, increased tremendously. The importance of publicadministration has been keeping pace with these developments.The interest of the scholars in the study of public administrationhas also been correspondingly increasing. Although the study of  public administration as a separate discipline is of recent origin, thesubject has been studied for quite a long time as a part of thediscipline of the political science. Before taking up a study of thesubject of public administration, it would be worthwhile to have anidea of the meaning and scope of the subject.
B. Meaning of Public Administration
Public administration is a part of the wider term “Administration”.To understand the meaning of public administration we must,therefore, firstly try to understand what administration means.
 Administration
The word administer is derived from the Latin words administrate,which means to care for or to look after people, to manage affairs.According to this wide definition almost every human activityinvolves some kind of administration. Even in primitive societies,simple activities like hunting, food, gathering, etc., could not becarried on without some form of organization. Somebody had todetermine as to who will do what. Certain norms of behaviour hadto be laid down to decide the distribution of work among themembers of the primitive groups. Of course, the administration atthat time was rather simple because the tasks to be carried out werealso simple. With the growing complexity of modern life theadministration of private as well as public affairs has become moreand more complex. We would now consider some of thedefinitions of administration given by prominent scholars.
Luther Gulick 
has said, “Administration has to do with gettingthings done; with the accomplishment of defined objectives”.
James L. McCanny
defined Administration in these words,“Administration is the organization and use of men and materialsto accomplish a purpose. It is the specialized vocation of managerswho have skills of organizing and directing men and materials justas definitely as the engineer has the skill of building structure or adoctor has the skill of understanding human ailments”.
 
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Pfiffner and Presthus
have defined administration as“Organisation and direction of human and material resources toachieve desired ends”.From the above definitions, it becomes clear that administration isessentially a group activity which involves co-operation and co-ordination to achieve desired goals or objectives. This also meansthat administration has an element of rationality. Administration isthus a rational action, an endeavour to maximize the achievementof goals or objectives, by a group of human beings. For example,for rolling off a stone to a fix place, persons are put to the stone insuch a relationship as to maximize their efforts in a certain givendirection. This arrangement of persons in relation to the stone i.e.,the job is called the “Management”. These two factors, namely,Organisation and Management are special features of administrative activity. It must, however, be remembered thatwhile administration is basically a collective activity, everycollective action is not administration.
The Integral and Managerial Views of Administration
There is a difference of opinion about the question as to whatactivity or activities are included in “Administration.” According tointegral view, `Administration’ is the sum total or the wholecomplex of activities, manual, clerical, technical and managerialwhich are undertaken to realize the objective in view, i.e., theimplementation of the policy or policies in a given field.According to the managerial view, `Administration’ is not the sumtotal of the activities undertaken in pursuance of a purpose but pertains to only some of the activities concerned with managementwhich unite and control the rest of them as part of co-coordinatedendeavour.The distinction between the two views of `Administration’ isrelated to the difference between the management and operation, or in ordinary words between getting things done and doing things.According to the managerial view, only managerial or supervisoryactivities constitute administration. The operational activities arenot included. We may also say that according to the managerialview, `Administration’ is not doing things, but getting them done.An administrator is a functionary who gets things done by others by directing and supervising their work.

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