Public Administration and the Future Lecture 19 – Administrative Processes in Government
Introduction • Today, public administration stands at a crossroads. • The immediate problem of American public administrative practice and theory is to integrate or sort out the values, structural, and procedural arrangements associated with the traditional managerial, political, legal, and new public management perspectives.
Complexity Is Here to Stay. • Contemporary public administration is amazingly complex and it is become more complicated all the time.
Complexity Is Here to Stay. • Public administrative activities range from trash collection to space exploration, from regulation of complex economies to helping economies move beyond subsistence farming, from biomedical technologies to census taking. • The essence of public administration is dealing with relationships among political, economic, social, ethical, organizational, managerial, legal, scientific, and technological values and systems at both the microlevels and macrolevels.
Dominant Public Administration Will Be Defined by Politics • Historically, American public administration has always been defined by dominant political groups, parties, or coalitions. • “Government by gentlemen”. • Jacksonian Revolution. • Progressive movement. • New Deal. • Administrative Procedure Act of 1946. • National Performance Review.
Dominant Public Administration Will Be Defined by Politics • The reality that politics have always defined dominant administrative practice in the United States is only thinly veiled by reformers’ typical claims that their programs for change are apolitical. • The successful advocacy of major administrative change in the United States has always been part of the overall program or vision of those in or gaining political power.
Dominant Public Administration Will Be Defined by Politics • The New Public Management offers one prospect for change. • Another prospect is the reassertion of congressional influence over the administrative process through the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 and the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Act of 1996.
Law Will Continue to Be Central to Public Administration • In 1926, Leonard white correctly assumed that public administration was more concerned with management than law. • In 2002, the relative importance of law is much greater and likely to expand.
Law Will Continue to Be Central to Public Administration • A great number of administrative practices and activities must now be based on and responsive to constitutional rights and doctrines, especially due process and equal protection.
Law Will Continue to Be Central to Public Administration • The courts have been deeply involved in the operation of some administrative institutions and systems.
Law Will Continue to Be Central to Public Administration • The courts recently have enforced legal rights when functions are outsourced; Added constitutional constraints on administrative action; Weakened affirmative action; Strengthened eminent domain, freedom of expression, contractor’s rights, and barriers to gender discrimination; And strengthened the power of the states.
Performance • The New Public Management’s emphasis on performance is probably a permanent addition to the mix of public administration’s concerns. • Driven by two changes: • Tax and expenditure limitations at state and local level. • Globalization makes poor performance more of a liability.
Performance • The need for performance is clear, but prescriptions for it may be inadequate. • GPRA enhances legislative direction, but invites micromanagement. • NPR promises to do more with less, but may stretch administrative flexibility to the limit.
Disaggregation of Public Administration • Leonard White assumed that public administration was a single process. • Most modern public administrators would disagree. • Separation of powers and federalism. • Generalization versus specialization. • No coherent paradigm or conceptual framework.
Decomposition of the Civil Service • Disaggregation promotes decomposition of the civil service. • The concepts of a unified federal, state, or local employers and a unified civil service are disappearing. • The radical decentralization implemented by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in conjunction with the NPR places agencies in charge of their own personnel systems.
Decomposition of the Civil Service • Many agencies have gained exemption from Title V of the U.S. Code, the uniform body of law that regulates federal employment. • Information technology also promotes decomposition.
The Changing Face of Management • NPM is premised on the belief that as a function management must change. • NPM regards managers as bottlenecks, placing its faith in empowered employees, private-public partnerships, and entrepreneurs. • Information technology is already changing the need for managers and their functions.
Personal Responsibility • There is broad agreement that public administrators should be held responsible for their actions. • NPM assumes that employees will be held accountable for results. • Contemporary constitutional law makes public administrators legally liable for violations of constitutional rights.
Personal Responsibility • Ethics codes demand that public employees avoid even the implication of impropriety. • External methods of accountability are being reinforced with the belief that administrators should have a personal sense of responsibility. • Often generates conflicts with older, traditional managerial standards.
A New Administrative Culture • Whether public administration moves beyond its current crossroads, it is likely that a new administrative culture will emerge. • Public administrators of the future will have to be more at ease with complexity, law, and flexibility.
A New Administrative Culture • They will be performance oriented, have a strong service ethic, span boundaries, and be adroit at conflict avoidance and resolution. • The public sector will increasingly manage without managers.