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POLS2250 notes.docx

Political Science
Course Code
POLS 2250
Tim Mau

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Chapter 1
Importance and Meaning of Public Admin
2 major areas of gov’t activities
o Provision of services
o Enforcement of regulations
Service functions
o Delivery of mail
o Maintenance of roads and highways
o Administration of grants and loans
Regulation functions
o Prevention of unsafe workplaces
o Support of Canadian culture
o Enforcement of fair housing and employment regulations
Inspections done to carry out responsibilities effectively
Public Admin. Play large role in formulating and implementing policies to fulfill gov’t
service and regulatory responsibilities
o Performed through public bureaucracy
Organizational system for achieving gov’t objectives
Involve elective representatives
The Meaning of Public Administration
Public Policy an action or decision made by gov’t to address particular problem
Public Administration study and practice of tasks associated with conduct of the
administrative state
Public Admin and Public Bureaucracy often used interchangeably
o Do not mean the same thing
Public admin refers to a field of practice (or occupation) and to field of study (or
Public bureaucracy is system of authority, people, offices, and methods gov’t uses to
achieve objectives
o And organizational form
Public Admin V. Private Admin
Public admin overall mission is service to the public
Private admin mission is profit
o Profit oriented because the survival of private sector organizations
ultimately depends on making profit
Public admin less efficient
o Must satisfy several goals at once
o Some may conflict with one another
o Gov’t departments get funds through annual appropriations from public
Do not have to worry about profits; less incentive to cut costs and
operate efficiently
Business organizations operate efficiently because they must compete in
Public sector emphasizes on accountability

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HR management system more complicated and rigid in gov’t than private sector
o Harder to hire and fire gov’t employees
Public nature of public admin requires much of it be conducted in a fishbowl of
2 major characteristics of gov’t account in large part for differences b/w public and
o Vast scope and complexity of gov’t activities
o Political environment within which these activities are conducted
Study of Public Admin
Earliest general work in field was R. MacGregor Dawson
Luther Richter and R.A. Mackay established 1st degree program at Dalhousie
Study of public admin flourished in late 60’s
Environment and size of Public Admin
Public admin greatly influenced by broad environment it is conducted
Globalization everything that happens does so to everybody and at the same time
o Economic globalization puts premium on gov’ts ability to act quickly
Pressure to make decision making in public sector more flexible and
open to new ways of organizing itself
o Also puts at risk national cultures
Regulatory agencies try to provide for Canadian content in our culture
Internet, iPods, etc. tear away at efforts
Technological Change
E-gov’t gov’t increasingly reliant on electronic devices
o Makes gov’t faster
o More innovative
Tech. also produces problems
o Involves processing and sharing of info holds great potential for invasions of
o Scientific advances present gov’t with difficult decisions
Political Culture
Political culture values, beliefs, attitudes we hold about political life
Surveys say people less confident in gov’t
o Shows not willing to accept public authority as in past and wish for new ways
of interacting with elected and appointed officials
Financial Position
Public spending on programs often exceeded revenue
Gov’t responded with actions to reduce public obligations and restore fiscal health
to treasury
o Included elimination of programs
o Privatization of public corporations
Demographic factor
o Changing age composition
As number of elderly increase, so does need for health care, housing

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o Greatly increased participation of women in labour force
Implications for provision of child care services and other family-
related programs
o Countries becoming more multicultural through shifting patterns of
Gov’t will have to become more sensitive to possibility of shifting
preferences in more culturally varied society
Understand that public service will have to become more appealing to
attract talented minorities
Legacy of Past Reforms
20th century saw uproot of merit practice over patronage appointments
o Set stage for application of bureaucratic expertise and knowledge to difficult
public problems
Provided grounds for workable and mutually beneficial relations b/w
ministers and advisors
Size of the Public Service
Gov’t expenditures 1950 = 21.3%
41.5% in 2004
o Due to dramatic climb in provincial spending
This provided growing revenue available to resource-rich provinces and greater
demand for provincial services
Has resulted in large number of employees needed to carry out gov’t responsibilities
6 occupational categories in federal public service
o Executive management
o Scientific and professional
o Administrative and foreign service
o Technical
o Admin support
o Operational
Power of the Bureaucracy
Concern that expertise and experience of public servants along with sheer size of
public service put democratic practices at risk
o Highly educated, received extensive training
o Elected officials, while educated, receive little or no training
Federal level there are nearly half-million public servants
o Politicians, usually thirty or so
The Right Organizational Form
Continuous effort to locate new organizational forms
o Called “post-bureaucracy”
o Allow public servants to fully exploit their talents and gov’t to meet the
increasingly varied and complex demands of society
Quest extends to processes involving public servants and others participating in
formulation and admin of gov’t programs and policies
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