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Public Administration Essay

I. Understanding Public Administration

Meaning of Public Administration

From a very broad perspective, public administration may be viewed to refer not only to those activities involved in carrying out or in implementing the policies and programs of the government but also the processes and contents of these policies and programs.

Meaning of Public Administration

From a broader perspective, public administration may refer to cooperative human action whether within the public bureaucracy, the private sector, or in nongovernmental organizations aimed at delivering services to the people.

Meaning of Public Administration

Public administration is also a distinct field of study; it is considered both a professional and scholarly discipline. As such, it is concerned with the public policies and programs, their formulation and implementation, and the socio-cultural, economic and political factors bearing on them. It deals with the systematic study of institutions and processes and the interplay of factors involved in authoritative decision-making on goals, in implementing, and in achieving desired results.

Source: Raul P. De Guzman (2003). “Is there a Philippine Public Administration? In V. Bautista el al. (eds) Introduction to PA in the Philippines: A Reader

Meaning of Public Administration

“Public Administration is the organization and management of men and materials to achieve the purposes of government. “

“Public Administration is the art and science of management as applied to affairs of the state.” (Waldo, 1955)

Source: Cabo, Wilhelimina L. (1997) PM 201 Theory and Practice of Public Administration. University of the Philippines Open University.

Meaning of Public Administration

From a broader perspective, public administration may refer to cooperative human action whether within the public bureaucracy, the private sector, or in nongovernmental organizations aimed at delivering services to the people.

Meaning of Public Administration

Public Administration…is the action part of the government, the means by which the purposes and goals of government are realized. Public Administration as a field of study is mainly concerned with the means to implement political values. Public Administration can best be identified with the executive branch of government. Public Administration differs from political science in its emphasis on the bureaucratic structure and behavior and its methodologies.

Meaning of Public Administration

Public Administration differs from administrative science in the evaluative techniques used by nonprofit organizations, and because profit-seeking organizations are considerably less constrained in considering public interest in their decision-making structures and the behavior of their administrators.

Cited in Rossenbloom, 1989
Source: Cabo, Wilhelimina L. (1997) PM 201 Theory and Practice of Public Administration. University of the Philippines Open University

Nature of Public Administration

By the nature of its functions, the government should be responsive to the needs of both the nation as a whole and the people as individuals. It should take, if necessary, a gradual and pragmatic manner of action in responding to such needs.

Nature of Public Administration

Public administration in carrying out public policies brings the different administrative structures of government into a single organ of administration. In doing so it means its adherence to such public policies and accepted management principles and practices prevailing at that time. Considering the functions of government and the administrative organizations formed to attain them, the task of public administration is a very complicated one as compared to that of business administration. Public administration requires a lot of coordination, problem solving and decision making activity.

Nature of Public Administration

Public administration calls for not only the active participation of the politicians but also of all sectors of society if it is to succeed in overcoming the many administrative and socio-economic problems of the nation. The total involvement of all sectors of society in the life of the nation is an imperative requirement for national survival, as well as for the attainment of national greatness.

Scope of Public Administration

Public administration calls for action, and as defined by Leonard D. White, “it is concerned with action in particular concrete situations, but in accordance with long-range objectives.” In effect he clarifies the concept of “government in action.” What should be the scope of public administration? Should it be principally limited to the administration of the government’s bureaucracy? Should its objectives be the total administration of the administrative machinery of government?

Nature of Public Administration

For Robert Presthus:

“Public administration is concerned with the institutional framework of government, its socio-economic and political milieu, and the behavior of the individuals who man the bureaucratic machine.”

Public administration should also be concerned with the formulation of public policies and the implementation of government programs.

Nature of Public Administration

“Public administration is that aspect of administration occurring under the formal aegis of government at every level.” (Robert Presthus) If it is only an aspect of administration, then what is administration?

Nature of Public Administration

According to Barry M. Richman and Melvyn Copen define administration as follows:

“Administration is basically an organizational process concerned with the implementation of objectives and plans and internal operating efficiency. It often connotes bureaucratic structure and behavior, relatively routine decision making and maintenance of the internal status quo.” Administration is not limited to large organizations; White considers it as applicable to all kinds of group effort.

Nature of Public Administration

“Administration is a process common to all effort, public or private, civil or military, large scale or small scale. It is a process at work in a department store, a bank, a university or high school, a railroad, a hotel, or a city government.”

According to Brooks Adams:

“Administration is the capacity of coordinating many and often conflicting, social energies in a single organism, so adroitly that they shall operate as a unity.”

Nature of Public Administration
The capacity of government to perform its function s, however, rests with its public administration being attuned to the realities of the times.

Peculiarities of Public Administration

Is Public Administration an Art or a Science?

Peculiarities of Public Administration

According to White:

“The art of administration is the direction, coordination, and control of many persons to achieve some purpose or objective. It is a dynamic art, taking the human and physical resources available in a system of administration and bending them to the achievement of some required goal. It is the central, over-all disposition of forces, bringing into focus and consistency of action elements often widely dispersed. It is an art that pervades all levels of organization, binding together the many professions, crafts, and specialists whose contributions although equally necessary are not those of management.”

Peculiarities of Public Administration

According to Avery Leiserson and Fritz Morstein Marx:

“A science of administration would be a body of formal statements describing invariant relationships between measurable objects, units, or elements. Unquestionably, administrative research has produced definite precepts and hypothesis that are applicable to concrete situations. But what administrators visualize as particularly valuable goes beyond that. They are interested in the techniques of systematizing the process of securing and sifting relevant information so that the factors involved in arriving at a policy decision can be stated and the consequences of alternatives can be analyzed and balanced.”

Peculiarities of Public Administration

According to Arsenio P. Talingdan:

“The question as to whether public administration is a science or not is as open when it was first raised. However, it may, in the future become more and more scientific. One might even say that further scientific truths on human behavior and interaction will be established. In many other fields, scientists will provide facts for the public administrator’s use. But the public administrator will always be an artisan, making value judgments on the basis of these scientific truths, even though he may also be required to be a scientist.”

Public Administration vs. Public Administration

Public administration is a broad field of administration while Private administration is a limited one. According to Nigro and Nigro, “Government is different also in that no private company can equal it in size and diversity of activities.” “Even more important is the great scope of government activities, affecting the entire economic and social structure of the country.”

PUBLIC ADMINISTRATIONPRIVATE ADMINISTRATION
Broad field of administration;
Limited field of administration;
Official actions are based on public
trust carrying legal accountability;
Not necessarily based on public trust;
limited legal accountability;
Relatively routine decision-making procedure;
Unlimited in decision-making procedure;
Maintenance of internal status quo;
Dynamic entrepreneurship;
Actuations subject to public criticism;
Nor normally subjected to public criticism;
Government corporations restricted by requirements of fiscal accountability foreign to corporate device.
No such restrictions.

Public Administration vs. Public Administration

The official actions of public administrators are based on public trust carrying legal accountability. Sec. 1 of Article XI of the 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines provides that: “Public office is a public trust. Public officers and employees must at all times be accountable to the people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty, and efficiency; act with patriotism and justice, and lead modest lives.”

Public Administration vs. Public Administration

According to Former Senate President Gil J. Puyat wrote on August 30, 1979 the following message in his notes:

“To be given the opportunity to serve the people is indeed a priceless gift that a country can give a citizen. For a citizen who is given this opportunity and who would serve less than his very best in dedication and performance, indeed has committed or is committing an act of apostasy.”


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