What is Public Administration?
What is public administration? Why should we study public administration?
During the period 1776 until the present, who influenced public administration? What is meant by “Wilsonian Democracy?” Are the issues of the founding fathers similar or different from those of current day administrators? Describe and analyze the roles of bureaucrats, politicians and interest groups relative to policy-making, process and administration.
Public Administration is the carrying out of public policy. There are many reasons for studying public administration. Amongst them is a chance to serve others, being involved in city, state, and federal government, having the knowledge to work in a variety of public and private sector jobs, and just being an informed citizen.
Many people have influenced public administration over the years. Best known is Woodrow Wilson, who is considered the “father of public administration.” He is known for his 1887 paper “Study of Administration” and later as president for instituting the “merit-based” hiring system. Also influential was Frederick Taylor, who wrote “The Principles of Scientific Management,” Mary Parker Follett, a social worker who used the “principles of science and psychology to study industrial organizations,” Douglas McGregor, who wrote “The Human Side of Enterprise” and believed that workers had intrinsic motivation, potential, and the capabilities to work to great capacity, and Robert C. Weaver, the first Secretary of the Department of Housing, who used a holistic methodology to running the federal housing program.
Wilsonian Democracy was President Wilson’s thoughts on how he developed his foreign policy. It had four central tenets, which were; emphasis on self-determination of peoples; advocacy of the spread of democracy; advocacy of the spread of capitalism; and support for collective security, and least partial opposition to American isolationism.
I would say the issues are similar today as they were for the founding fathers. It’s how we, as a government, can best represent the people we govern. And because different people have different beliefs, just as in the past, it is hard for one administration to please all.
Bureaucrats, politicians, and interest groups all play a role in the development of public policy. A politician may declare their desire for the development and implementation for a particular policy, such as an environmental issue. As it is being developed, interest groups and bureaucrats are sure to weigh in. Groups, such as the Sierra Club or the Coal Council, will lobby the politicians creating the policy to argues their side of the issue, while bureaucrats working in the EPA or U.S. Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management may be consulted for their expertise on the matter.
Public Administration is defined as the management of public programs. Studying public administration serves several purposes including preparation for public administration jobs and continuation training. The study of Public Administration can result in trained professionals within the field and an informed public.
Future-President Woodrow Wilson greatly influenced the field of public administration as an area of study. His essay on the subject (1887) served as the launch pad from which the industry grew. Wilson’s ideas of democracy included self-determination, the advancement of capitalism and democracy and a collective national security.
The issues the Founding Fathers dealt with were, in my opinion, very different from those being dealt with today. They worked to establish a new system of government with “the people” at the helm. Administrators today are dealing with a system already bogged down in areas. The role of the bureaucrats, politicians and public varies based on the interest of the specific organization. Each group is working to further their particular interests.