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The Public Agency, Essay Example

Pages: 3

Words: 705

Essay

In a basic sense, any public agency is a middle ground, or an avenue, for it exists to translate government initiatives into practice.  The “public agency” is usually seen as synonymous with the “public administration”; both are variations of the same principle, in which state and federal programs of any kind are implemented.   Healthcare, civil services, immigration authorities, the police, and all branches of the armed forces are essentially public agencies.

The study of public agencies or administrations is, strictly speaking, never only one discipline.  That is to say, the enormous range of entities contained within the subject inevitably translates to an equally wide array of studies. This noted, however, public agency study is typically viewed as a political science discipline, and this is logical. As political science seeks to gain a better understanding of how established authorities interact with the public, as well as reflect that public’s concerns, the public agency is, in a sense, an ideal instrument.  Moreover, the study is of great import, because the more people understand the working of public administration, the better they can comprehend the internal processes making it happen.   No matter, in fact, the government in place, the study of public agency practice is a vital measure which both monitors the effectiveness of the public administration and gains further insight into the many facets of it. This is a study in place to establish that public programs actually reflect the values put forth by them, and serve the people in the ethical manner expected by that public (Denhardt, Denhardt,  2008,   p. 2).

That public administration is removed from the private sector may appear obvious, but the reality is that the two types of organizational entities are frequently confused.   It is easy to mistake an extremely large corporation, for example, as being something of a public agency, simply because the channels between it and the public are very similar; people expect services from both, chiefly because, either as taxes or as payments, they are enabling the entity to serve them.  A crucial difference exists, however, in that the public agency must adhere to an ethical platform established by the public in the form of its government, and the private company is under no such constraint.  In simple terms:  “The private company or corporation must make a profit; the public agency must serve the public” (Geuras, Garofalo,  2011,  p. 16).   That private companies find ethical behavior to be profitable in no way ensures that they must be ethical, whereas the public agency’s first obligation is to ethically serve.

This ethical concern goes to what should be a primary focus of study in public administration: ethics themselves.   Debate over issues, procedures, and policies within public agencies is an inherent facet of the field, but the one constant is that unethical behavior is unacceptable (Frederickson,  1993,  p. 6).   Ethics apply, and at the most basic level, to the operation of any public agency, and studying both traditional and modern theories is the best means of assessing how public administration happens, as well as how it is likely to evolve.

As regards the impact of public administration in my own life, the reality is that, like so many others, I can only dimly perceive the extent of it.   If, for example, I feel safe in my neighborhood, I owe that to the police agencies in place.   Similarly, if I am hopelessly frustrated by personal searches at the airport, I must attribute this inconvenience to the homeland security administration’s policies.   Government is no isolated presence, but in place in every aspect of our lives, and this occurs through the public agency.   Government is, essentially, the product of a united people, and it is evident in the form of public administration in every community occupied by the people.  The broken traffic light making me late, the social security deductions from my paycheck, and the army transfer of my cousin to a new base, are all manifestations of the range and influence of the public agency.

References

Denhardt, R. B.,  & Denhardt, J. V.  (2008).  Public Administration: An Action Orientation. Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning.

Frederickson, H. G.  (1993).  Ethics and Public Administration.  Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, Inc.

Geuras, D., &  Garofalo, C.  (2011). Practical Ethics in Public Administration. Vienna, VA: Management Concepts.

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