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The Changing Definitions of Public Administration

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The Changing Definitions of Public Administration (1800 - 2000)

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The Changing Definitions of Public Administration

  1. 1. Lorenz von Stein (1855) • A 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 pre-established 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.
  2. 2. In the United States of America, Woodrow Wilson is considered the father of public administration. He first formally recognized public administration in an 1887 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”. Woodrow Wilson 1887
  3. 3. “Public Administration is the detailed and systematic execution of public law” (Wilson. The Study of Administration, 1887)
  4. 4. Wilson was more influential to the science of public administration than Von Stein, primarily due to an article Wilson wrote in 1887 in which he advocated four concepts: • Separation of politics and administration; • Comparative analysis of political and private organizations; • Improving efficiency with business-like practices and attitudes toward daily operations; • Improving the effectiveness of public service through management and by training civil servants, merit-based assessment; • 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.
  5. 5. By the 1920s, A few distinguished scholars of that period were, Luther Gulick, Lyndall Urwick, Henri Fayol, Frederick Taylor, and others. Frederick Taylor (1856-1915), another prominent scholar in the field of administration and management also published a book entitled ‘The Principles of Scientific Management’ (1911). He believed that scientific analysis would lead to the discovery of the ‘one best way’ to do things and /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 (Thalassinos, 2012). Luther Gulick, Lyndall Urwick, Henri Fayol, Frederick Taylor, and others. Frederick Taylor (1856-1915),
  6. 6. Public Administration embraces every area and activity governed by public policy including the formal processes and operations through which legislative exercises its power, the functions of the courts in the administration of justice and work of military agencies (Fritz Morstein Elements of Public Administration (1946 p.6)
  7. 7. By established usage, however, public administration has come to signify primarily the organization, personnel, practices and procedures essential to effective performance of the civilian functions entrusted to the executive branch of government (Fritz Morstein. Elements of Public Administration. 1946 p.6)
  8. 8. “Public Administration refers to the activities of the executive branches of national, state and local governments; independent boards and commissions; and certain agencies of a specialized character, specifically excluded are judicial and legislative agencies within the government…” (Simon, et. al., Public Administration, 1950. emphasis supplied)
  9. 9. The emergence of scholars such as, Fritz Morstein Marx with his book ‘The Elements of Public Administration’ (1946), Paul H. Appleby ‘Policy and Administration’ (1952), Frank Marini ‘Towards a New Public Administration’ (1971), and others that have contributed positively in these endeavors. • Public administration can be defined as a department in the executive arm of government responsible for the formulating and implementation of government policies and programmes. Fritz Morstein n(1946), Paul H. Appleby (1952) and Frank Marini (1971)
  10. 10. “The composite of all the laws, regulations, practices, relationships, codes, and customs that prevail at any time in any jurisdiction for the fulfillment and execution of public policy …” [Leonard White. Introduction to the Study of Public Administration. (4th ed. 1955. p. 2)]
  11. 11. Public Administration 1. is a cooperative group effort in public setting; 2. Covers all three branches – executive, legislative, and judicial and their interrelationships; 3.Has an important role in the formulation of public policy and is thus part of political process (Nigro and Nigro. Modern Public Administration. 1977. p. 18)
  12. 12. 4. Is different from significant ways from private administration; and 5. Is closely associated with numerous private groups and individuals in providing services to the community (Nigro and Nigro. Modern Public Administration. 1977. p. 18)
  13. 13. • In the late 1980s, yet another generation of public administration theorists began to displace the last. The new theory, which came to be called New Public, was proposed by David Osborne and Ted Gaebler in their book Reinventing Government. The new model advocated the use of private sector-style models, organizational ideas and values to improve the efficiency and service-orientation of the public sector.
  14. 14. Public Administration is the use of managerial, political and legal theories and processes to fulfill legislative, executive, and judicial governmental mandates for the provision of regulatory and service functions for the society as a whole or for some segments of it. (Rosenbloom. Public Administration: Understanding Management, Politics, and Law in the Public Sector. 1986. p.6)
  15. 15. • Public Administration is a broad – ranging and amorphous (unstructured) combination of theory and practice • Its purpose is to promote a superior understanding of government and its relationship with the society it governs, as well as to encourage public policies more responsive to social needs • It seeks to institute managerial practices attuned to effectiveness, efficiency and fulfillment of deeper human requisites of the citizenry (Nicolas Henry. Public Administration and Public Affairs. 1989. p. 20)
  16. 16. • In the late 1990s, Janet and Robert Denhardt proposed a new public services model in response to the dominance of NPM. A successor to NPM is digital era governance, focusing on themes of reintegrating government responsibilities, needs-based holism (executing duties in cursive ways), and digitalization (exploiting the transformational capabilities of modern IT and digital storage). • One example of this is openforum.com.au, an Australian non-for-pronvites politicians, senior public servants, academics, business people and other key stakeholders to engage in high-level policy debate.
  17. 17. In 1990s to 2000. 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.
  18. 18. Reference Prof. El Thalassinos and Chair Jean Monnet (2012) Public Administration: Theory and Practice University of Piraeus Editor, ERSJ, IJEBA Prof Danilo R. Reyes (2012) The Changing Definitions of Public Administration. National College of Public Administration and Governance. University of the Philippines

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