September 9, 2011
How do you understand by:
- Both a field of practice and occupation?
- Encompasses the broader conception of the inner workings of government and its
relationship with the environs (both domestic and international).
o Means by which society is run in an objective, professional and apolitical manner
leading to the development of national unity.
o Provides technical skill that can create opportunity for employment in the public
o The main study of public administration is the bureaucracy.
- Components of bureaucracy
o Hierarchy: employees in the public bureaucracy are vertically related; hence
decisions often flow downward.
- Bureaucrats/public servants
o Individuals who work in the public service are referred to as bureaucrats, public
servants, or civil servants.
o Bureaucrats usually hold office(s) for life.
Receive a fixed salary.
September 12, 2011
Public administration and democracy
- The most important measure of success of the public service is its ability to comply with
the tenets of a democratic society
- What is power?
o In public administration, power is defined as the ability to authorize, influence, or
o There are certain authorities of public administration and bureaucracies.
o Taxes are used for public goods and services.
o Power is the ability to cause a change in behaviours of others by virtue of ones
legal position of authority
- What is politics?
o David Easton (1965) defines politics as tahe authoritative allocation of resources
of values in society.
September 14 ,2011
- How do you understand democracy?!
- What is culture? POLS 225
- What is meant by political culture?
- How do you explain “federalism?”
- What does NAFTA stand for?
- What are the “three founding cultures” in Canada?
- Origin: demos (people) are kratos (authority).
- Political democracy
o Equal right to determine the government of the state, eg: the right to vote,
majority rule, competitive elections, universal adult suffrage
- What is political culture?
o The values, beliefs, attitudes and symbols that citizens share with regards to a
- Types of political culture
Effective participation in politics, existence of society groups, political
parties; the media; high voter turnout
Properly aware of politics
Are not (significantly) aware of politics; they only focus on their
immediate communities, their traditions etc.
- Group work.
o Does Canada have a political culture?
A culture of individual rights is now on the rise.
There are party-defined cultures as well.
Decrease in collectivism.
All/most of our traditions come from the British.
September 16, 2011
Explanations of Canada‟s Political Culture
- Four main explanations:
o The founding of new societies (Louis Hartz, 1964):
Canada‟s political culture was shaped by the cultures or societies of early
- Parliamentary Actors
o The executive (the crown, the prime minister, the Cabinet, and the Public service)
serves as the arbiter of policy decisions, initiating and implementing policy and
law, and controlling finance and defence.
Political parties perform political recruitment, interest articulation and
aggregation; however, some represent particular region or culture.
September 19, 2011
Week Three: Theories of Organization POLS 225
Classic and Structuralist Theories
o To many people, organization exists in charts, line, titles, manuals of job
descriptions, formal procedures, etc.
o Organization does not imply the existence of any of the above.
o Provides members with info., and shapes their expectations and the goals and
strategies they pursue on daily basis and over a period of time.
- Organizational theories
o Several theories have emerged to explain organizations
The main ones are:
Theories X and Y?
o Classic theorists
Classic theorists are traced to the early writers on the works of public
organizations or the bureaucracy such as Karl Marx (1818-1883) and Max
Classics focused on the impacts of power relations on society and
questioned how ruling elites influence politics and whether bureaucracies
are designed to attain the public interest or designed to shape it.
o Marxism (Karl Marx)
It was originated by Karl Marx and has been expanded by its adherents
The basic argument of this school is that that class divisions and alienation
in society should serve as the basis for understanding the works of
o It has many contradictions
It perceives both policies accumulation and legitimization as serving the
interests of the capitalist class
It views bureaucracy as instrument of the capitalist class, yet subscribes
that the bureaucracy also powerful on its own accord
o Structuralist theory
Structuralist theorists view humans as “cogs in a machine lubricated by
Theorists seek to devise the appropriate mechanisms by which work can
be rationalized to improve organizational efficiency.
In organizations, workers should simply be told what that „one best way‟
was and how to exercise it.
September 21, 2011
- This theory was developed by social and industrial psychologists in their efforts to find a
much better understanding of an organization. POLS 225
- It‟s not unilateral, a one-way street, a linear process, top-down. Rather power is a circular
response, a shared interaction, a kind of feedback loop.
- Human factor
o The human element is the most crucial element in organizational performance
- System theory
September 26, 2011
Week Four: Organization Theory and Canadian Public Administration
- Structuralism: Bureaucrization and Scientific Management
- Organizations require strict rules and regulations to run efficiently
- Chain of command, rules and expertise.
Impacts of Weber
- Weber‟s theory of bureaucratization made significant impacts on the structure and
operation of Canadian public service than any other theory.
o Hierarchy and chain of command
o Professionalism and competitive exams.
- Civil Service Acts of 1908 and (1918)
o Established the Civil Service Commission to oversee all public service
appointment rather than allowing politicians to do it.
Impacts of Taylor
- Focus: how the formal and informal relations impact organization. Eg: emotional,
normative, environmental and peer group influences.
- how do you motivate people in a large organization?
October 5, 2011
In Canada, the solution was to adapt the basic approach of “central agency.”
- They are essentially coordinating mechanisms.
o Principal functions include:
Providing decision-making support to Cabinet regarding information and
Coordinate activities of line departments
Providers direct partisan service to the PM.
Plans and coordinates new policies and programs
Liaise with party structures, ministers, pollsters and think-tanks
Builds healthy relationships with the media
Speech writing and provides advice on appointments and nominations
Briefs PM on potential issues in daily debates and questioning in
o Comparatively a small organization, providing policy advice and administrative
support to the prime minister, cabinet and Cabinet committees.
Advisor on the public service. POLS 225
Advises the PM on public service reforms
- Department of Finance
o It is the “powerhouse” of economic policy, advising cabinet on key economic
issues and decisions:
Fiscal policy, international trade policy, etc.
- Agents of Parliament
o There are statutory bodies set up to perform scrutiny on the works of the
executive and report to Parliament of its findings
October 7, 2011
- Often times, governments in Canada (AND EVERYWHERE) are drawn into providing
services that are business-like, eg. Airline services, rail services, liquor, radio etc.
- Governments are advised not to use the services of the line departments and central
agencies because they are overly bureaucratic or the market which is excessively profit-
- They are institutions with a corporate form brought into existence by government action
to serve a public function.”
- They are established by Act of Parliament or through a company code
- They operate as commercial entities but must focus exceptionally on the public interests
- They are significantly autonomous of government
- They may enjoy regulatory privileges unavailable to the public?
- Basic structure (eg., Canada Post)
o Minister of Transport Canada Post Corporation‟s Chair and Board of Directors
Canada Post Corporation – President and CEO The Canada Post Group
o The Canada Post Group consists of Canada Post, Purulator, SCI Logistics and
- Rational for creating Crown Corporations
o National-building: to promote communication, transportation, and resource
development across provinces and regions and to boost national development
o To prevent U.S. influence
o They are greatly autonomous of government, making them less political.
o Relatively more flexible and efficient than the traditional departments, which are
o They tend to have their goals more specified than the departments
o Some argue that corporations have exhausted their relevance
o Some engage in corruption and conflicts of interest
o Some of them also allow for undue interference from the executive
- Organizations established by government to make rules, impose constraints, and modify
behaviour-usually of the private sector… for the common good?
- Rationale for Regulations
o To correct market failures POLS 225
o Sectorial planning: eg: telecommunication, airlines etc.
October 14, 2011
Constitutional Law and Administrative Law
- Constitutional law: the aspect of the constitution comprising of written documents and
that are enforceable by the courts.
o It involves the basic rules, practices, and institutions that characterizes the state.
- A constitutional law case occurs when individuals, institutions and organizations
challenge a law as unconstitutional.
Peace, Order and Good Governance (P.O.G.)
- It is the fundamental value upon which federal government‟s intervention in the affairs of
the provinces can be justified.
- Over time, this power has been limited to emergencies, crises, or war situations that
concern the whole nation.
- Rightful exercise of this power is determined by the courts, but only Parliament can
declare a crisis as of national importance.
- Aside from using the courts, both the federal and provincial governments could settle
their conflicts though a process of bargain referred to as Executive Federalism (EF).
- However, EF has been criticized as elitist and undemocrat