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1 - The Study of Public Administration.doc

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Public Administration
Frank Ohemeng

The Study of Public Administration • How would you define public administration in one phrase, one paragraph, or an essay? • Is public administration a profession or just an occupation? • How does a public administration career offer the potential of a great adventure? • What are the differences between public administration and private administration? Scope of and Understanding Public Administration 1. What is the “public” in public administration? 2. What is meant by “administration”? 3. The Concept of the “Publicness” 4. The idea of “administration” Determining the “Publicness” of Public Administration Public goods that are produced in the public interest. Some goods are found to be beneficial to the public, and therefore government looks after the production of these goods and services. a. The Extent of Public-Private Distinction  Publicness is understood from the public’s distinguishing features: including its service norms, such as impartiality and openness; its principles, such as equality and representation; its monopolistic and complex nature; and its longer and broader social implications. b. The Composition of Service Recipients  The public, in this sense, represents a shared and universally accessible domain involving the interests of all citizens. c. The Magnitude and Intensity of its Socioeconomic Role Nature of the Role PA Places in Society  PA’s broader and more intensive roles represent its wider societal impacts, and thus greater publicness, whereas its narrower and weaker role implies its limited social impacts, and thus less publicness.  Example: beer in Quebec vs. beer in Ontario d. The Degree of Public Accountability  The process in which the public extracts accountability from the public sector.  Example: procedures to address people’s grievancese. The Level of Public Trust  The credibility, leadership, and responsiveness to serve the people. Administration In its broadest sense it refers to: • The activities of groups cooperating to accomplish common goals, that is, a cooperative group behaviour. In its narrow sense, it means: • Those patterns of behaviour that are common to many kinds of cooperating groups and that do no depend upon either the specific goals toward which they are cooperating or the specific technological methods used to reach these goals. Administration: • How a job is done, not the method used. • How the method was chosen. • How the people were selected. • How the task was divided. • How employees learned their particular job. • How they learned to perform. • How their efforts are coordinated to achieve the goal. What is Public Administration? Why do we need Public Administration? • US President Woodrow Wilson: “Most important part of government.” • Prime Mister Harper wouldn’t exist if there’s no administration. Public Administration is: • a government in action • the executive • the opportunity to operate • the most visible side of government • as old as government 1. According to Frank Marini:  A professional practice  Vocation, occupation, field of activity  An academic field  …seeks to develop an understanding, criticisms, and improve professional practices. Public administration simple reflects, on one hand, to the administration or management of issues which have principles to do with the society, and its sup-parts which are notessentially private (your family is not public), commercial or individualistic, and on the other hand, to the disciplined study of such issues. In its simplest form, public administration has to do with managing the issues and affairs of government and other public activities. 2. Jay M Shafritz and EW Russel have clustered the various definitions into:  Political  Public administration cannot exist outside of its political context. It is this context that makes it public, that makes it different from private or business administration. a. Public administration is what government does b. Public administration is both direct and indirect  Government employees provide direct services to the public.  Direct example: Canada post delivers mail for the country. Canada post employees are bureaucrats.  Direct example: electricity is a direct service.  Indirect example: garbage  Hybrid services – public city hires a private company to pick up garbage. c. Public administration is a phase in the public policymaking cycle  P
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