`development of administration`.
`development of administration`.
Political Science and Public Administration (Part 2)
Professor Dr. Mohammad Mohabbat Khan
University of Dhaka
Department of Public Administration
Public administration is both an art and
a science, with administration being as
old as mankind. Pre-historic humans
practiced administration, which may
appropriately be termed a cooperative
activity engaged in whenever two or
more people work together to pursue a
The science element of administration is
an indication that man’s development
has improved the activity. This is what
Wilson implied with his adage ‘the study
of public administration’.
Meaning of Public Administration
Public administration has and continues to
defy precise definition. One-sentence or oneparagraph definitions are avoided as
inadequate because they contain several
abstract words or phrases.
The abstract words or phrases can further be
explained by other abstract words and
phrases which may lead to ‘mental paralysis’
rather than enlightenment and stimulation.
Public administration must develop new
answers to questions that fit the changing
realities of public programs.
Public administration is undertaken in a
dynamic environment, hence the necessity to
develop new answers to changing realities.
In this sense, supplanting grand successful
solutions from one country to the other
without the necessary adaptations should be
The two ways in which public administration
is usually defined are as follows:
Public administration is the organization,
mobilization and management of human and
material resources to achieve the purposes of
Public administration is the art and science of
management as applied to the affairs of
Scope and Significance of the Discipline
It is widely acknowledged that the scope of the
discipline of Public Administration has to be wide
enough to respond to the complex social realities of
today. Major concerns of the discipline are:
Promoting (publicness): In a democratic society,
Public Administration has to be explicitly 'public' in
terms of democratic values, power-sharing and
openness. This calls for a new climate in the
bureaucracy. Public Administration, in practice, has
to absorb the principles of democracy as an
overarching form of the government.
Policy Sensitivity: As governments are called upon to
Implementation Capability: Effective policy
play increasingly active roles in times of rapid
changes and social crisis, innovative and timely
policy formulation becomes 'a prime necessity in the
government. This would necessitate a new
preparedness within the administrative set-up that
had hardly any precedence in the past.
implementation is going to test the coping capacity
of the governments in today's complex situations.
Goals have to be clearly set; planning, programming
and projections have to be followed step by step; and
project management in all its ramifications has to
have top priority in government.
Shared understanding of social reality: The capacity to
cope with social and administrative complexity can be
enhanced by a deliberate policy of organizational
openness. The underlying assumption here is that the
administration needs to understand the diverse interests
Administration as a learning experience: Shifting social
reality and complex environmental conditions impose
certain rigors on Public Administration today. Rusted
'principles' of the past or the administrative recipes of
bureaucratic routine are no longer appropriate tools for
analysis and problem solving. Public Administration in
modern time has to be proactive, innovative, risk-taking,
and often adventurous.
The significance of Public Administration as a
specialized subject of study was well brought out by
Woodrow Wilson the founder of the discipline. In his
celebrated essay on 'The Study of Administration'
published in 1887, he characterized government
administration as the practical or business end of
government that could be separated from the rough and
tumble of 'politics'. Urging for the establishment of an
autonomous field of academic inquiry, Wilson observed:
"There should be a science of administration which shall
seek to straighten the paths of government, to make its
business less unbusiness like to strengthen and purify its
organization, and to crown its duties with dutifulness."
The significance of public Administration as
social science lies in its methodical study of
government and attempts to organize
knowledge about governmental structure and
In this role, Public Administration as a
discipline is more interested in providing
scientific explanations rather than merely
solving public problems.
Administration is looked at, in this perspective, as a
social activity. Hence the concern of academic inquiry
would be to understand the impact of government
policies and operations on the society.
From this social science perspective, Public
Administration, as a discipline, has to draw on a variety
of sister disciplines such as History, Sociology
Public Administration's special status in the "developing
countries" has been widely acknowledged. The postcolonial, "third world" countries have everywhere
embarked upon ‘ speedy socio-economic development.
These countries have naturally to rely on the
government to push through speedy 'development'.
This means Public Administration, has to be organized
and operated to increase productivity quickly. Similarly
social welfare activities have to be efficiently and
Development Administration has emerged as an extremely
useful field that has great practical utility in the special
circumstances of the developing countries. The emergence of
'Development Administration' is indicative of a felt need for a
body of knowledge about how to study the Third World
administration and at the same time to bring about speedy
socio-economic development with government intervention.
All the developing countries in the Third World depend on the
government’s aggressive role in nation-building and socioeconomic reconstruction. Development Administration,
therefore, has emerged as a special sub-discipline to serve the
cause of development. This is a distinct branch of the
discipline, pursuing a distinct cause, viz. development.
The Concept of Development Administration has two
One facet of it refers to ‘development of administration’. By
this we mean to develop administrators. It involves
strengthening and improving administrative capabilities as
a means for achieving development goals.
The other facet is ‘administration of development’.
According to this interpretation, we expect development
administration (administrative organization) to act as an
instrument in the implementation of development
programs, projects and policies.
Elements of Development Administration
1. Planned and Coordinated Effort
Development Administration in operational terms
refers to organized efforts to carry out development
programs and projects in the direction of statebuilding and socio-economic progress.
2. Goal-oriented Administration
Development Administration is not just public
administration in the sense of carrying out activities ,
it is a goal- oriented administration with emphasis on
achieving social and economic goal.
3. Management Capacities
Development Administration involves creating and
enhancing management capacities as a means for
achieving development goals.
Progressive realization of social and economic goals
by developing countries has been considered an
important task of governments of these countries. To
achieve this objective, the instrument of development
administration is employed.
Progressive realization of development goals by
developing economy would involve greater participation
of the people.
6. Creativity and Innovativeness
An important element in development administration is
creativity. The term creativity is often understood as
the ability and power to develop new ideas. On the other
hand, ‘innovation’ generally means application of these
ideas. It means a new way of doing things.
7. Responsiveness and Accountability
Development Administration is required to be
responsive and accountable. A top-down/bottom-up
flow of communications and initiatives is recognized
as the main element in accountable administrative
8. People-centered Administration
Development Administration is a people-centered
administration. It aims at serving the people.
9. Keeping in Touch with Social Realities
In contrast to the traditional
administration is required to keep in
touch with realities, including grassroots
situations, local problems, etc.
New Public Administration
In 1968, using the fund supplied as part of a
‘super-professorship’ paid for by the state of
New York, Dwight Waldo facilitated a meeting
at Minnowbrook, Syracuse University’s
beautiful conference center in Adirondack
New Public Administration was markedly
different from existing perception of Public
Administration. It puts more emphasis on a
There were four goals and three anti- goals of the NPA.
The four goals were –relevance, value, equity, change.
The anti goals were –
Rejection of value neutral concept of public administration.
Rejection of the notion that public administration is
concerned with preserving the status-quo.
Public administration is not a sub-field of politics or
In order to achieve the goals the participants of
Minnowbrook put forth four solutions which have been
referred to as the 4D’s. These are: debureaucratization,
democratization, delegation and decentralization
According to George Frederickson (1971) New Public
Administration was less ‘generic’ and more ‘public’ than its
past counterparts less ‘descriptive’ and more ‘perspective’,
less ‘institution-oriented’, and more client-oriented’ and less
‘neutral’ and more ‘normative’. Frederickson (1980: 43)
further clarifies NPA as,
“to develop a concept of new public administration, one
must therefore begin by arguing that a different set of
values should predominate. These values would certainly
not be new. They would foster humanistic, decentralized,
democratic organizations that distribute public service
equitably. The objective of new public administration,
therefore, would be to organize, describe, or make
operative organization that further these values.
These objectives are much less ambitious than those
proposed by many public administrators”.
Bureaucratic responsiveness, worker
and citizen participation in decision
making, social equity, citizen choice,
administrative responsibility for
program effectiveness – these are the
values to be achieved in New Public
What, then, can be made of new public
administration, both theoretically and
First, new public administration would reject
the notions that administrators are valueneutral and that administrative theories are
value neutral models.
Second, it must be recognized that the values
are legitimate, although often in conflict.