September 2, 2009

Meaning,Scope and Signicance of Public Administration

Meanings of the term
The word

`administer' is derived from the Latin word administere, which

means to look after people or to manage aairs. Administration may be dened as  group activity which involves cooperation and coordination for the purpose

of achieving desired goals or objectives  .The term administration bear at least
four dierent meanings depending upon the context in which it is used: 1.

As a Discipline: The name of a branch of learning or intellectual discipline as taught and studied in colleges and universities


As a Vocation: Type of work or profession, especially one that involves
knowledge and training in a branch of advance learning


As a Process: The sum total of activities undertaken to implement public policy(ies) or to produce some services or goods.


As a Synonym for 'word' Executive or Government: Such other body
of persons in supreme charge of aairs, for example, Manmohan Singh Administration, Bush Administration, etc.

Integral View VS Managerial View

Integral View

Managerial View


Administration is the

Only managerial or supervisory activities constitute administration.
According to it,

sum-total of the whole complex of activities , manual,clerical, technical and managerial wich are undertaken to realize the objective in view.
The administration diers from one eld (say public health) to another (say education)

administration is not doing things but getting things done.
As per managerial view the administration means only the management techniques

according to the subject matter.

and methods such as planning, organisation, co-ordination, direction, nancial control etc., which
are common core of all

cooperative endeavours and
do not dier according to subject matter-elds. Wilson, Dimmock, White, Fayol Z A Wieg- In simplest terms, administration is determined action taken in pursuit of a common purpose Luther Gullick, Herbert Simon, Smithburg and Thompson Luther GullickAdministration has to do with getting things done; with the accomplishment of dened objectives

Diereces between the two
According to fundamental-: 1. Integral view includes the activities of all the persons engaged in administration whereas the managerial view restricts itself only to the activities of the few persons at the top 2. Integral view depicts all types of activities from manual to managerial, from non-technical to technical whereas the managerial view takes into account only the managerial activities in an organisation 3. Administration, according to the integral view would dier from one sphere to another depending upon the subject matter, whereas the managerial view is identied with the managerial techniques common to all the elds of administration


M.P. Sharma the dierence between the two views is


Analysis of Integral View
Under this exhaustive view, the scop of PA becomes so vast that it does not lend itself easy to study as there are unlimited numbers of eld.

Analysis of Managerial View

• •

Conforms to the common man's notion of administration Gives administration a pointedness, unity and a distinctive characterstics


• •

Too arbitrary and abstract Planning, organisation,coordination and other managerial activities are not carried out in vaccum. It may be possible to separate management form what is managed, but such separation vitiates the realistic character of administrative study.

It misses the real heart of administration. The real core of administration is not the method of management, but the service that it renders

Comparison and Conclusion
Dicult to give any dogmatic conclusion. If considered as a concrete activity, administration includes all types of works necessay to achieve the desired goal, but considered as a skill it implies adeptness in the management functions.

Dimock, Dimock and Koening sum up in the following words:  As a study public administration examines every aspect of government's eorts to discharge the laws and to give eect to public policy; as a process, it is all the steps taken between the time an enforcement agency assumes jurisdiction and the last break is placed (but includes also that agency's participation, if any, in the formulation of the programme in the rst place); and as a vocation, it is organising and directing the activities of others in a public agency.

Heri Fayol study
Quantum of a particular type of work depnds on position in the organisational hierarchy Operative Top Level Middle Level Lower Administrative 85% 10% 5% Managerial 10% 85% 10% Other Techniques 5% 5% 85%


Merriam and Fayol: Opposite Views
Merriam- Dierences between administrative positions are of more practical signicance than similarities Fayol- Skill that is required in industry, government as well as home management, and the administrative process is universally identical

Public Administration
PA is an aspect of the larger eld of Administration. The adjective 'public' in PA means that it focusses on public bureaucracy, i.e., bureaucratic organisation (or administrative organisation) of the government. Dierence among the various denitions of PA centre around two crucial points-: 1. Whether PA is coterminous with the government activity as a whole, or is conned only to the executive branch 2. Whether administration is whole complex of activities relating to a purpose or the special activity of the management common to all the elds of cooperative endeavours

Wider View of Administration but Narrower View of Scope of PA
LD White- PA consists of all those operations having for their purpose the fulllment or enforcement of public policy as declared by the competent authority

Narrower View of Administration and Narrower View of Scope of PA
Merson- According to him administration consists of getting things done and is concerned with 'how policies may best be carried into operation'

Narrower View of Administration but Wider View of Scope of PA
Luther Gullick- Public administration is that part of the science of administration, which has to do with the government; it concerns itself primarily with the executive branch where the work of the government is done; though there are obviously problems also in connection with the legislative and judicial branches.


Wider View of Administration and Wider View of Scope of PA
Dimmock- Public Administration is concerned with `what' and `how' of the government. The `what' is the subject matter, the technical knowledge of a eld, which enables the administrator to perform his tasks. The `how' is the technique of management, the principles according to which co-operative programmes are carried through to success. Each is indispensable, together they form the synthesis called administration

Executive Only or Not (Politics-Administration Dichotomy)

The dichotomy between policy formulation and policy execution is only an abstract distinction which does not correspond to the realities of the administrative situation.

• •

In actual administration, an administrator is concerned with policy formulation as well as its execution Political heads of the government lay down policies only in bare outline, where administrators have to supply the necessary data, suggestions and criticisms to put it in the proper shape. Such amendments emanate from the ocials who, in the light of their day-to-day experience discover what changes or modications are needed

Problems of administration even in its narrowest sense are not conned to the executive branch of the administration only. (Summoning sessions of legislature, carrying the bill to statue book etc. promotions ans oce management) ; judicial work also involves supervision, inspection and control of lower courts, appointments,

Wilson's Argument For Separating PA and Political Science
1. Political science deals with policy formulation whereas PA deals with implementation 2. Political system is based on ideology, philosohy and aspirations of the people. But, PA concentrates on facts, value-free, neutrality, objectivity and rationality 3. Political science deals with decision making, while PA has advisory role 4. Politicians are elected, administrators are selected 5. Political system is temporary while PA provides stability and continuity to the system (political executive and permanent executive)


6. Horizontal dierentiation- PA is conned only to the executive wing of the government and not to the legislative and judicial wing 7. No formal qualication is required for members of the political system whereas administrators are professional people

Few Other Dialogues on PA
Nicholas Henry- Public Administration is a broad-ranging and

amorphous combination of theory and practice
Beveridge- State should take care of citizens from cradle to grave In sum, public administration: 1. is the non-political public bureaucracy operating in a political system 2. covers all three branches of government, although it tends to be concentrated in the executive branch 3. diers signicantly from private administration, especially in its emphasis on the public; and 4. is interdisciplinary in nature as it draws upon other social sciences

Scope of PA

Scope of Public Administration as an activity
no less than the scope of state activity. It is very wide in modern state- a wide variety of services
As an activity the scope of public administration is and protection from the government. Public administration provides a number

welfare and social security services to the people. Besides, it has to manage government owned industries and regulate private industries.

Scope of Public Administration as a Discipline
The scope of public administration as a discipline comprises of the following:

The POSDCoRB view Gullick sums up the scope of the subject by the letters of the word POSDCoRB which denote: Planning, Organisation, Stang, Directing, Co-ordinating
reporting the Budgeting.

• Planning

means the working out in broad outline the things to be done,

the methods to be adopted to accomplish the purpose.


• Organisation means the establishment of the formal structure of authority through which the work is sub-divided, arranged, dened and coordinated.

• Stang

means the recruitment and training of the personnel and their

conditions of work.

• Directing

means making decisions and issuing orders and instructions.

• Coordinating means inter-relating the work of various divisions, sections
and other parts of the organisation.

• Reporting means informing the superiors within the agency to whom the
executive is responsible about what is going on.

• Budgeting

means scal planning, control and accounting.

According to Gullick the POSDCoRB activities are common to all organisations regardless of the nature of the work. POSDCoRB gives unity, certainty, and

deniteness and makes the study more systematic. The critics pointed out that1. POSDCoRB activities are neither the whole of administration, nor even the most important part of it. 2. It does not contain any reference to the formulation and implementation of the policy. Therefore, the scope of administration is dened very narrowly, being too inward looking and too conscious of the top management.

The Subject Matter View
PA deals not only with the processes but also with the substantive matters of administration, such as Defence, Law and Order, Education, Public Health, Agriculture, Public Works, Social Security, Justice, Welfare, etc. These services have important specialised techniques of their own which are not covered by POSDCoRB techniques. For example crime detection, maintenance of Law and Order, etc., are more vital to ecient police work, than the formal principles of organisation, personnel management, coordination or nance etc.

Therefore, the study of public administration should deal with both the processes (that is POSDCoRB techniques and the substantive concerns). Lewis Meriam:  Public administration is an instrument with two blades like a pair of scissors. One blade may be knowledge of the eld covered by POSDCoRB, the other blade is knowledge of the subject matter in which these techniques are applied. Both blades must be good to make an eective tool


Public And Private Administration
As a co-operative group activity, administration occurs in both public and private institutional settings. Its nature, however, depends upon the nature of the setting and goals with which it is concerned.

Distinction Between Public and Private Administration
John Gaus, Paul H. Appleby, Sir Josia Stamp, Herbert A. Simon, Peter Drucker, etc., in their writings, have made distinction between public and private administration. Paul Appleby- More one has succeded in non-governmental elds, the less likely he is to succeed in government According to Sir Josiah Stamp, the four principles, which dierentiate public from private administration are: 1.

Principle of Uniformity: Common and uniform laws and regulations
mostly regulate public Administration.


Principle of External Financial Control: the representatives of the
people through a legislative body control Government revenues and heads of expenditure.


Principle of Ministerial Responsibility: Public administration is accountable to its political masters and through them to the people.


Principle of marginal Return: The main objective of a business venture is prot, however small it may be. However, most of the objectives of public administration can neither be measured in money terms nor checked by accountancy methods.

Distinguishing features of Public administration may be described under the following sub-heads: 1.

Political Direction: Public administration is political, while private administration is non-political, public administration takes place in a political context.


Absence of prot motive: The primary purpose of governmental organisation is to provide services to the people and promote social good.


Prestige: Public administrators, in general, enjoy high status and prestige in comparison to their counterparts in private enterprises especially developing countries (exception Nilkeni, Murthy; Studies of Eldersvelde, Jagannadham and Barnabas show that people regard PA as more pretigious)


More Power- PA has a direct link to the soveirgn powers of the state. It
has legitimate coercive powers to enforce its decisions



Public Gaze: All the actions of public administration are exposed to
wide public gaze because the public closely watches it. happen in private administration. This does not


Service and Cost: Most governments spend more money than their
income or revenues.


Legal framework: Public administration is rule oriented. The responsibilities of public administrators are xed by a set of constitutional practices, laws and regulations


Consistency of treatment: A government ocial is required by law to
maintain a high degree of consistency in his dealings with the public.


Public accountability: Public accountability is the hallmark of Public
administration in a democracy. legislature, judiciary, etc. Public administration is responsible to the public, though not directly but indirectly through political executive,


Large-scale administration:
versity of activities.

Public administration is by all means

larger than any big private concern in terms of size., complexity and di-


Monopolistic and Essential Services: In the eld of public administration, there is generally a monopoly of the government (national security, foreign relations, law and order, mint and currency etc.)


Ocials remain Anonymous: In public administration, whatever ofcials do, they do in the name of the government and not in their own name.


Financial meticulousness: Public administration has to be very careful
in nancial matters because it is working as custodian of people's money.


Lower level of Eciency: Due to varied responsibilities, lack of eective
control, less accountability, involvement of a large number of levels and job security of employees, eciency has not been there in public organisations to the eect desired. Peter Self talks of three tests to measure eciency of PA-: Management eciecy, Policy eciency and Service Eciency

Similarities between Public and Private Administration
Scholars like Henry Fayol, Mary P. Follet and L. Urwick do not make a distinction between public and private administration. The following similarities between the two types of administration may be noted: 1. Both rely on common skills, techniques and procedures.


2. The principle of prot motive is not peculiar to private administration, because it is now accepted as a laudable objective for public sector enterprises also 3. In personnel management, the private organisations have been inuenced greatly by the practices of public organisations 4. The private concerns are also subjected to many legal constraints through regulatory legislation such as taxation, monetary and licensing policies, etc. 5. There is a similar type of hierarchy and management systems, both in public and private sectors. 6. Both Pubic and private administration carries on continuous eorts to improve their internal working and also for ecient delivery of services to people or customers. 7. Public and private administration serves the people, whether being called clients or customers.

Hybridization Between The Two
The eld of PA today is characterized by heterogenity, dynamism and hybridsation; heterogenity of political and administrative systems, dynamism of scientic methods and research questions and hybridisation of theories, concepts and denitions. 1.

Both are taking aspects of one another- NPM; private sector is too
talking about social welfare (corporate social responsibility; Tata, Infosys social initiatives)


Public Corporation- WA Robson- Public Corporations are the most
important constructive development of the 20th ccentury, which combine aspects of a government department and a commercial enterprise

3. 4.

PPP Lateral entry system in USA, transfer of retired bureaucrats to private sector in Japan, lateral entry in India (Nilkeni ID Project)

Importance of PA

As Specialised Subject of Study
Government has to work towards the public interest. PA is eciency promoting and pragmatic eld.Governments, appoint committees to look into the problems of administration and recommended suitable administrative machinery to respond to diverse public needs (The

Haldane Committee Report (1919)


President's Committee on Administrative Management (1937) in the United States; A.D. Gorwala Committee's and Paul H. Appleby's Reports in India)
in Britain; the

As an Activity
The contemporary age, which has witnessed the emergence of `Administrative State', public administration has become an essential part of society and a dominant factor. Woodrow Wilson:  Administration is the most obvious part of government; it is government in action, it is the executive, the operative and the most visible side of the government. W.B. Donham, `If our civilization fails, it will be mainly because of breakdown of administration'. 1.

Basis of the Government: A Government can exist without a legislature or an independent judiciary. But no Government can exist without administration( Appleby-PA is basis of government)


An instrument for providing services: Felix A. Nigro aptly remarks, 
The real core of administration is the basic service which is performed for the public .

3. 4.

An instrument for implementing policies A stabilising force in society: An element of continuity between the
old and the new orders is provided by public administration. It does not hold true only of constitutional changes of government in democratic countries, but is also reected when there are revolutionary changes in the form and character of government (Pigorus-PA has preservation of status quo as its main function)


An instrument of social change and economic development- Brooke
Adams- Main purpose of PA is to faciliate social change


Technical Character: The increase in the number of functions undertaken by the government require highly specialised, professional and technical, services. Modern public administration usually represents a galaxy of all of a nation's occupations.

7. Protector and Promoter of Culture 8. Role in Policy making 9. Role in National Integration 10. Policy Making



crucial roles in

Gerald Caiden public administration has assumed the following contemporary modern society:

1. Preservation of polity 2. Maintenance of stability and order 3. Institutionalisation of Socio-Economic changes 4. Management of large scale commercial services 5. Ensuring growth and economic development 6. Protection of the weaker sections of society 7. Formation of public opinion 8. Inuencing Public policies.

Reasons For Growing Importance

Emergence of Welfare and Democratic state- The state has to now
serve all sections of people in the society. This amount to enhanced responsibilities of public administration. of the state Public administration is also to regulate and control private economic enterprises to meet the objectives


Industrial Revolution- State has enacted a number of Industrial and
Labour laws and it is imperative for public administration to implement such laws


Scientic and Technological Development - made possible `big government' and `large scale administration'.


Economic Planning - It requires a large number of experts and elaborate
administrative machinery for plan formulation, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation.


Others- rapid growth of population, modern warfare, increase in natural
and manmade disasters, decline in social harmony, increase in violence due to conicts, communal riots, ethnic wars, terrorism, etc.

Liberalisation, Privatisation and Globalisation

Factors For Rise of LPG
LPG- a dominant force and ideological anchor of the late 20th Century, why? because1. Collapse of USSR


2. Sweeping politico-economic changes in Eastern Europe 3. End of Cold War 4. Ascendence of Neo-liberalism (Reagonomics in US and Thatcherism in UK) 5. Proliferation and expansion of TNCs and MNCs 6. Growing clout of IMF, WB 7. Emergence of macro-economics 8. Communication and Internet revolution 9. Collapse of Third Worldism as a distinct theory and practice These phenomenal changes of unprecedented magnitude have been variously termed as 'New World Order (Bush)' 'The End of History (Fukayama)', 'New World Disorder (Ignatie )' and 'Return of Capitalist Colonialism (Rajani Kothari)'.

Liberalisation- Implies a process of freeing the economy form various governmental regulations such as industrial licensing, control on pricing and distribution of product and services, import licensing, foreign exchange regulations etc.Although, basically it is an economic phenomenon, it is grounded in the political ideology of liberalism. politically, it manifests itself as the doctrine of laissez faire

and extreme individualism

Globalisation- refers to the multiplicity of linkages and interconnections between the States and societies, which make up the present
world system. It can be understood in terms of two distinct phenomena:

`scope' (or stretching) and `intensity' (or deepening).

On the one hand, it denes a set of processes which operate worldwide hinting at a spatial connection. On the other hand, it also implies an intensication of the levels of interaction, interconnectedness

or interdependence between the States and societies.


alongside the stretching, goes a deepening of global processes. The

Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has dened globalisation as a shift from a world of distinct national economies to a global economy in which production is internationalised and nancial capital ows freely and instantly among countries.


Two Faces of Globalisation
The proponents consider the developments caused by globalisation including expansion of trade, production, markets, investment, and technology as giving a push to the economies. This is said to result in

• • • •

employment opportunities better living standards collaborative arrangements networking and so on.

The opponents point out its negative repercussions as

• • • • • •

high levels of poverty job lay os lack of employment for unskilled labour increased economic inequality subsidy cuts environmental problems, especially in developing countries.

Income statistics from the US and the UN Development Programme indicate that the combined income of the 400 richest persons in the US is more than the combined national income of 20 African States totalling over 3 million people and is more than the total national income of the 146 million people of Pakistan. In the view of Ali Farazmand (1999), due to globalisation, on the one hand, public administration seems to be moving towards protection of citizens' rights, accountability, ethical values, research and training. On the other hand, globalisation is leading to shrinking of public space, violation of human rights and commodication of citizens.

Impact On Administration
Globalisation is signalling the end of what Cristopher Hood calls the Progressive era Public Administration and its metamorphosis into NPM Peter Aucoin elegantly summarizes a "trinity" of broadly based challenges-: 1. Growing demands for restraint in public sector spending 2. Increasing cynicism regarding government bureaucracies' responsiveness to citizens' concerns 3. An international, market-driven economy that does not defer to domestic policy eorts.


Globalisation is giving rise to new societal expectations, changing value systems, altering the nature of State and governing systems.

Cerny observes  In a changing globalising-international and transnational environment, the State has been not only an agent of its own transformation, but also a major source of development of globalisation itself  . WB, IMF etc- formalised institution with a global jurisdiction that has authority and power over individual countries in a given policy area (Welsch and Wong, 1998). They rewrote a country's

• • • • • • • • • •

trade policy scal policy civil service requirements labour laws health care arrangements environmental regulations energy policy resettlement requirements procurement rules and budgetary policies

Public administration, according to

Jamil Jreisat is facing new challenges due

to the impact of globalisation. These are: 1. A growing need for

negotiation skills among sovereign States managing to facilitating economic

2. Changed role of bureaucracy from activities 3. An

organisational, managerial culture which stresses performance

and result- oriented management 4. Focus on

managerial leadership and expertise which has been ne-

cessitated by the demands of negotiations, mediation, and sensitivity to human rights and diversity 5. Emergence of 6. Need for a


comparative perspective wherein, in response to the new

global reality, public administration must eectively utilise a comparative outlook that incorporates non-western as well as more developed systems


The biggest challenge for administration is to recast the role of the State. There is a need for evolving a new regulatory State with an expanded agenda. The State needs to be regulatory in nature, providing for mechanisms for 1. Ensuring eciency 2. Setting standards of service 3. Removing market distortions 4. Providing appropriate regulatory/legal framework for players in the marketand 5. Protecting the interests of consumers, employers, employees, and the other stakeholders. In addition to these,

Osborne and Gaebler in their work Reinventing Government (Discussed in NPM)
Need to guard against getting trapped in the circle of elitism. The key challenge, to counteract the negative consequences of globalisation, is to strengthen and revitalise the public institutions in a manner to ensure their legitimacy and eectiveness in protection of public interests. The World Development Report  2000/2001

`Attacking Poverty'

asserts that public administration should implement policies eciently, be responsive to the needs of the people and redistribute resources for activities that benet the needy. The World Development Report 2002  Building Institutions for Market has observed that  Weak institutions  tangled laws, corrupt laws, corrupt courts, deeply biased credit systems and elaborate business registration requirement  hurt poor people and hinder development .

The public institutions can thwart the negative consequences of globalisation through suitable interventions. For instance in Korea, the government through employment insurance, public works programme, livelihood protection programme, provides appropriate social protection by creating a base for a competitive and knowledge based economy. Land reform measures in Japan, Korea and Taiwan provided for a more egalitarian ownership of land and provision of increased incomes to a broad group of land holders Globalisation process has taught some lessons (positive as well as negative),

need to appreciate the signicance of indigenous local systems of administration and governance, as well as adapt them in accordance to the new trends in globalisation.
especially to the developing countries. It has brought to the fore the


Impact of Globalisation In Developing Countries

The contracting out process is also open to corruption and mismanagement. The process becomes immensely complex and dicult to manage as the need for constant monitoring and supervision adds to the already heavy load of work and cost of the public agencies.

The introduction of user fees goes against the principles of equity and ability to pay. In developing countries, this approach is likely to lead to higher cost of essential services that a larger section of the impoverished population may be unable to aord.

erosion in the power, credibility and legitimacy of the governments. Weak governments in developing
As Huque points out, it could lead to countries have little bargaining power in their dealings with the resourceful, organised and highly competent service providers from the private sector as well as the inuential international agencies and multinational corporations. Besides, existence of

regulations titled in favour of the

service providers

Questions Facing PA today
1. How to improve governments actions 2. How to revitalize public administrations services 3. Whether bureaucracies are responding to economical/ social/ political challenges and changes ahead, and with what tools 4. What is the impact of a high-technology environment and the information age on our public agencies 5. How to attain the (im)possible goal of eective integration between citizens and governments in an ultra-dynamic society and 6. What are the implications of such transitions for democratic governments, their stability, and legitimization in the eyes of citizens

No Universality is Possible
For many years a plausible approach in management science and in the study of public administration called for the formulation of a universal theory in the eld. Today, the goal of a universal administrative paradigm is hardly achievable. Examples like

Theory Z of W. Ouchi and lessons from a more recent Chinese

and east European experiences initiated culture-oriented ventures in general management inquiry. They especially promoted the investigation of work values and cultureoriented management in private but also in public arenas.


New Right
The New Right bases its theories on the idea that capitalist society encourages

choice and therefore, excessive state intervention, such as the welfare state
should be avoided as this interferes with the workings of the economy. (The

Culture of Dependency Theory assumes that the poor need to take responsibility for their situation as dependency creates more poverty and unemployment; The concept of the welfare benets).

`underclass' is used to describe those dependent on