A New Vision for Public Administration

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 12 June 2016

A New Vision for Public Administration


The theme of the article by Goodsell is illustrating “how public administration in the United States can be seen on its own terms, and not those of others” (p. 634). This article argue that the professors and practitioners of the field have inadvertently allowed it to be observed and interpreted from standpoints imposed by others who are external to its institutions and subject matter (p. 623). These include elected officials and politicians and a variety of critics supporting programs for improvement. The representations of the field expected by these outside viewers have been indiscreetly acknowledged within public administration, leaving the field disposed for influence as a tool for purposes other than its own. This situation has made it difficult for the field’s leaders to formulate a separate intellectual vision for public administration that is consonant with their appropriate goals and concerns (p.623).


The topic under consideration is to contend that it is time for the field to advance, in the sense that it must express, at least to itself, a vision that apprehends its understanding of public administration’s contented involvement to a democratic society. The article also present that the vision is no more “true” in an objective sense than the visions of others. The subject of investigation are the viewpoints in which the social constructs can be seen in different ways, and how the public administrators can be thought to be owning the capacities of human observation and visual understanding that allow them to see such objects.

Method of Inquiry

The method of inquiry used by the author is qualitative research. The author does this through corresponding to what a recent analyst of governance described as society’s three major institutions: the state, the market, and civil society (p. 624). The state perceives public administration from the perspective of centralized, combined control by the chief executive. The market sees it in terms of private area standards and the principles of commerce. Civil society’s viewpoint is that the field’s self-governing prospective is apprehended through direct impact over government by those affected by it.


The author provides a brief and attentive summary of the major findings through a trio of conceptual categories. The three categories he analyzes are: States view on public administration, Market view on public administration, and Civil Society’s view on public administration. Public administration centers on matters of branded control under state’s view. This is controlled from the top and if the top person in charge is a tyrant, then the control is made unconditional by intimidations and eliminations. “In a democracy, the situation is more complicated: Laws and elections must be honored, a free press tolerated, and, in America, the separation of powers and divisions of federalism dealt with” (p. 624).

Public administration centers on matters of branded control under state’s view. This is controlled from the top and if the top person in charge is a tyrant, then the control is made unconditional by intimidations and eliminations. “In a democracy, the situation is more complicated: Laws and elections must be honored, a free press tolerated, and, in America, the separation of powers and divisions of federalism dealt with” (p. 624). The bureaucracy came to be observed as coextensive with the executive branch of government, under the exclusive direction of the chief executive. Without consulting the Constitution, this was simply assumed to be the case.

The Constitution enforces many judicial and legal controls over supervision that check the president’s power over administration. Although the president is explicitly designated commander in chief of the army and navy, over civilian matters no such authority exists. At the local level, state administrative eliminated panels in favor of single managers and created gubernatorial budget offices. “Meanwhile, in the arena of intergovernmental relations, the federal grant-in-aid blossomed as a principal means of financing government at the state and local level; and this gave the money-dispensing national executive branch a high degree of dominance over the entire administrative system” (p. 624). Centralized administrative control permits the presidency to apply its proclaimed duty of local policy governance at home and its expected obligation to direct overseas the extensive actions of the world’s only global force.

Market sees public administration not as a governmentally absorbed area of joined deed, but as a set of fundamentally noncommercial events open to free-market course and direction. “Flexibility, competition, and entrepreneurship are assumed to be the keys to delivering efficient services in a way that is both economical and pleasing to consumers (p. 625).” The impact of what is left of customary public administration is to take care of the few matters that are not else controlled by the market, such as providing necessary public goods or improving rare market failures. The favored features sought are drawn from the latest ideas adopted in corporate management and organization.

“They must flatten their hierarchies, break down their stovepipes, and adopt the latest information technologies; the organization is committed to continuous change almost for its own sake, dedicated to the rituals of strategic planning verbalized by the latest reform acronyms” (p. 625). The crucial result is not lacking its ironies. Traditional public administration is seen as despairingly incompetent, stubborn, and old-fashioned. On the other hand the invalid administrators are eager consumers of the management policies sold by business trainers and consultants. At the end of the day, an inept, big-spending bureaucracy seems to be the perfect problem to have (p.625).

Civil society’s central concern is opening it up to direct public involvement, although it too is interested in control and reform with regard to public administration. They are more interested in giving voice to those who are financially deprived and without any political influence. They also speak for racial minorities and community residents whom they believe should have a direct voice in administrative decisions that affect them. It is difficult to separate these citizens from others in civil society who might also wish to claim the same right. “Examples are local merchants, corporate chief executives, association executives, religious activists, and arms dealers; even though these people already enjoy insider influence in government through hired lobbyists, social contacts, and campaign contributions” (p. 625). It is hard to envision a structure that would carefully distinct between the citizens that deserve from undeserving.

The article also analyzed some academics that have promoted not just higher proportions of minorities and women, but also the “active” representation in the form of pro-group conduct by bureaucrats (p.626). The logical perception of shareholder study is seen as a way to anticipate public feedbacks to a planned quantity from all quarters. Collaborative public planning is a way to assembly direct address among members of all relevant groups to allow citizens and not just bureaucrats to structure and address issues. “This tool has been particularly popular in the natural resources area, in which ranchers, timber companies, sports enthusiasts, and environmentalists compete for influence; moreover, several techniques of interactive e-government have been the subject of experimentation, especially at the local level” (p.626).


According to Goodsell, it appears that he is calling for the skills of a strategic leader when he says that the “mission is the foundation for agency self-identification, staff impulse, program unity, organizational pride, and political support. Likewise, it stimulates a conscious level of intentionality that keeps the organization on track and mobilizes the resolve needed to resist capture by special interests (p. 631).”

From public administration’s standpoint, the most important defect in the state viewpoint is the downgrade of management to a lesser part. “It evokes the simplistic politics-administration dichotomy and suggests public servants should be subservient beings” (p. 627). Another problem with the market view is its notion in approval of business outsourcing over domestic ability. Such extreme events as formation and appraising programs and cherishing and mixing the labor force should not be contracted out.

Maybe the most important flaw of this viewpoint is that its concern with the private sector does not satisfy the responsibilities of government. “It is the nature of the public sector to seek multiple, varied goals, many of which cannot be monitored by the monetary metric; although the values of economy, efficiency, and productivity remain obviously important in public administration, a more thoughtful calculus of purpose is needed (p. 628)”.

Citizen participation can help democratize administration, but only under the right circumstances. There are limits on how much and how often authority can be shared. In crisis situations, time is of the essence, and truly expansive democracy is impossible. In matters of great debate, continued discussions may actually worsen the tension and do nothing to attain compromise. Eventually, someone must make a decision, and usually that burden falls on the public administrator.

In public policy networks, it is crucial for government to have a prime role. Administrators may employ persuasion and negotiation in dealing with other network members (as they have always done), they must be regarded as “first among equals” at a very minimum because of their legal authority and mandate to seek out the public good (p. 630).

All in all it seems that a certain amount of authorization is essential to carry out allocated tasks. This profits not only the organizations themselves but also the larger community. Most organization duties are not, after all, casually shaped. They originate from the constant, vital needs of a modern society, making their existence not a matter of choice but a necessity acknowledged by mostly all.


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  • University/College: University of California

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 12 June 2016

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