Definitions of Public Administration In simplest terms, it means government in action.
Definitions of Public Administration • I. Political Definitions • -focuses on the political nature of administrative decisions • A. Defines government activity: refers to influencing the public’s business • B. Reflects the cultural norms and beliefs of its environment • C. Refers to when govt. provides services or contracts with others to provide them
Definitions of Public Administration • D. Refers to making decisions in the public interest (exercises personal judgment to protect citizens: Burke) • E. Refers to the community spirit: when people agree to provide services to those less well-off
Definitions of Public Administration • II. Legal Definitions • A. Focuses on the execution of public law. Administration cannot exist without a legal foundation • B. Focuses on regulations: the more economically developed a country, the more regulated • C. Refers to the goods and services that leaders are willing to share (the king’s largesse)
Definitions of Public Administration • III. Managerial Definitions • A. Refers to the management or running of existing programs • B. Uses government resources to accomplish agency goals • C. Often is symbolized by ‘red tape’/Mickey Mouse rules • D. Refers to judgment calls of decisionmakers
Definitions of Public Administration • IV. Occupational Definitions • A. Refers to the jobs public employees perform • B. Refers to a writing intensive job; success is based on how well you can write (and speak) • C. Refers to idealism in action; people trying to serve the greater good • D. An academic field that applies management to government
Definitions of Public Administration • E. Based on Wilson’s politics/administration dichotomy initially The core content of PA focuses on its political dynamics; it is a political process. Recognizes that reforms tend to follow cyclical patterns.