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The Scope and Purpose of Public Agency Administration, Essay Example

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Words: 1074

Essay

Introduction

Public Administration is the arm of the government which directly reaches the society. It invariably inculcates and asserts itself in the society as the state organ with the mandate to govern that society along specified norms. The powers of public administration are enshrined in a country’s constitutional documents. This organ of the state directly deals with the society to instill legal and constitutional discipline as well as guiding the society along the norms acceptable to a state’s customs. It should however be noted that the society in a given state is made up of different people of varying ethnic backgrounds as to culture, customs, religion and perhaps color. Thus what might be acceptable to the people of a given ethnic community might be totally unacceptable to others in the same state. Therefore public administration function sometimes finds itself confronted by contradicting situations when serving the society of a state. The public administration function must encompass the richness of this diversity in the society if it has to be of any relevance to the state. The term public administration however is broader than merely administration policing of the society.

The purpose of this paper is to bring onto the surface the scholars and practitioners view public agency administration with a view to outlining its scope as well as its importance to the general public. The biggest challenge will perhaps be in differentiating the administration department function in the private sector from administration department function in the public sector given the definition the of the term and terminologies like society members.

Scope of Public Administration as a Discipline

According to Stillman, (2010) Public Administration has seven elements; that is planning which involves settings goals and developing methods of achieving them while organizing is the act of bringing together the factors of production in the desired proportions. Staffing involves the recruitment and training of personnel whereas directing involves making decisions, issuing orders as well as instructing and tasking. Coordinating includes relating and networking all the relevant departments, divisions and subdivisions so that they can harmoniously work together (Stillman, 2010)  Reporting is passing on information about what is happening following the chain of command while budgeting is costing, financial planning, controlling and timing.

Stillman, (2010) argues that all institutions exhibit these elements in their activities irrespective of their nature. However, critics argue that Stillman, (2010) view ignores that each organization has problems unique to it which cannot be generalized and that the approach is inadequate since it is silent about policy formulation and implementation.

Chandler, (2003) on the other hand, contends that different institutions employ specialized techniques which are unique to the nature of their different activities. For instance, in the Criminal Investigations Department forensic evidence can only be obtained through means unique to the case in question. This is the subject matter view which focuses on substantive matters of administration. Stillman, (2010) concludes that Public Administration involves two concepts: that of deciding and that of doing. Thus the two views complement each other.

Undertaking a course in Public Administration is attributed to the importance played by this arm of the government to the society. One of the most important contributions of the public administration is promoting efficiency in public service delivery. It is the work of public administration to prove that the government is concerned with its public. The only way the government can ensure this is to task its arm of public administration. (Simon & Divine, 2001) defines public administration as promotion of efficiency in a widely changing field.

Public Administration has an interdisciplinary function: Public administration relates readily to social science in that all its activities directly focus on the society it serves. It is related to cooperative management through teamwork inherent in the pooling of resources while it relates to economics through policy decision implementation. It relates to environmental science through tree-planting advocacy campaigns and clean air policy implementations. In surveying the land board that sits involves the public administration, etc. Thus it involves people from diverse academic fields.

Public administration assists in implementing development policies. In developing countries this arm has influenced the speedy development of certain sectors of these economies, in the post colonial era. For instance, the administration had to be notified if farmer wanted to uproot cash crops like tea, coffee or pyrethrum. All development plans must be relayed through the administration for them to take off. Most such projects involve committees comprising administration development officers appointed by the public administration.

Appropriate knowledge in public administration is an essential tool in settling disputes between individuals and communities. Aggrieved parties seek redress from administration thereby uniting them. It acts as render of last resort when parties involved in dispute cannot settle it by themselves. Otherwise they go to seek other more expensive channels.

Differences With the Private Sector

Public administration is the law administrating arm of the government whereas corporate administration arm administers policies for that organization. Public Administration is military-oriented; that is its officers don uniforms regulated by the state and most have to wear the crown especially in common wealth countries. Corporate administrators on the other hand, may wear uniforms as dictated by the company culture and may wear the company badge. Otherwise these are absent. Public administration is at the heart of the national politics, where they have to administrate political barazas (Derthick, 2007).  Corporate administration becomes subdivided into departments specialized in human relations whose officers become involved in company politics and workforce disquiets. Public Administration is more concerned with the general society of the jurisdiction it serves irrespective of whether one is a member or not. Corporate administration, on the other hand rarely crosses boundaries of the functions of the organization it serves.

Conclusion

From the foregoing it is imperative the need learn public administration as a subject in its own right cannot be overemphasized. That the subject is highly interdisciplinary makes it all the more necessary to incorporate it in the faculties of the other disciplines. It is clear that learning administration of corporate affairs is just a small component of all that is involved in public administration. Also important to note is that both views of administration practice complement each other and should be applied in both public and private administration practices

References

Derthick, M., (2007). “Where Federalism Didn’t Fail,” Public Administration Review 36-47.

Chandler, J., (2003). Comparative Public Administration. Athens: Papazis.

Stillman, R. J. (2010). Public administration: Concepts and cases. 9th Ed.  Boston: Wadsworth

Simon, H.A., & Divine, W.R. (2001). Controlling human factors in an administrative experiment. Public Administration Review, 1, 485-492.

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