- What is public administration? Operations of government.
- We will be looking at relationship between public administration and
governance. Public/private public admin.
- Public admin in history: Egyptians (pyramids), Chinese (great wall). The
Greeks came up with democracy (direct). The catholic church is the epitome
of public admin and general bureaucracy. There is structure, power is linked
to rank and authority and responsibilities delegated from Vatican to parish
levels. The agricultural and industrial revolutions were made possible by
improvements of public admin. Public admin has always been the natural
way of doing things.
- Modern public admin: an academic field of study derived from economics,
sociology, political science etc… it can also be a set of practices and
institutional arrangements. Public policy is what a government decides to
do or not to do. How to put the policies in to action is by public
management. The two together form public administration.
- British tradition directly influenced Canadian public admin. American
discussions and traditions are reflected on Canada as well. In Canada public
admin is like an orphan in a hybrid nature. It can be all things, everything or
nothing. It has been influenced strongly by traditions and business practices,
law, political science. Why orphan like and hybrid?
- What is the difference between politics and administration? Woodrow
Wilson came up with the concept of politics-admin dichotomy. He said that
administrative questions are not political questions. Politicians are
concerned if the policy will win them the elections or give them power.
Administrators don’t deal with those types of questions. Politicians are the
ones who make the decisions, and bureaucrats are the ones who implement
- In reality, the line between politics and admin is blurred. To aid elected
officials, public servants constantly engage in both policy formulation and
implementation. The public servants have discretion (police officer example,
let you off the ticket). He decides based on who you are and what you say and
in that way creates a policy. Public servants can influence public policy
because they advise the politicians. In the 60s and 70s there was a request
for more public servants, but from the 80s to 2000s scholars argued that
public servants had amassed too much power and advocated means to
curtain and limit their influence.
- Lasswel: Politics is who gets what, when and how. Government answers
these political questions by a structure known as bureaucracy. It is made up
of structure and personnel with norms and traditions and principals of
government. When you work with a certain type of people (elderly, soldiers)
they end up influencing and shaping you and changing your professional
view. The bureaucracy uses policy instruments to implement the wishes
of policy makers no matter how vague or contradictory they might be.
- Difference between a bank loan and passport? Entitled to passport, bank loan
you are not. (client/citizen difference). When you go to pay your ticket, or file taxes you run into bureaucracy and here you are a citizen. As a customer or
client, you have choice for your services and are determined by price, and
you can also be denied. The private sector is based, however, on the concept
- Regan: government is not the solution, government is the problem. They
wanted to cut the “fat” out of the government, meaning public servants. What
is wrong with bureaucracy? There is rules, regulations and controls and risk-
adversed. It carries a connotation as corrupt and inefficient.
- Similar to the politics-administration dichotomy, the public-private
conundrum goes back a long way in the study of public admin. In modern
times the lines between public and private sectors are getting blurred. Public
admin have copied ideas and transferred theories from private to public
sector. Through contracting, privatization, the two sectors have become even
closer. The professionals from both public and private sectors interact at
personal and professional levels, they attend conferences together and share
- Private sector is committed to the bottom line, meaning the CEO looks at
profits at the end of the year and see how well they are doing. In the public
sector there is no bottom line, it is geared toward provision of public
goods and services. There are two forms of tenure, one way is as a public
servant you have a job for life, that is only in public sector. Public servants
are commonly moved around and its usually not like that in the private
sector. In public sector there are changes when there is a change of
government. Goal ambiguity and target measurements is another difference
between public and private sector. Private sector and a single goal – profit
and they will do whatever needs to be done. Public sector (cigarette
example) has different objectives. Difference is also how you are hired- there
is a process for public sector. “Free rider effect” becomes important in public
- Results and performance in both sectors. The result is the same in both (?).
Barbara Carroll identified 5 problems with identifying results. Publicness- if
the right result is difficult to decide on in the private sector, it becomes
infinitely more difficult in the public sector because of the nature of public
goods. In private sector- making money, public sector- how many people
did we save? Amount of money made vs money spent is not as important.
Indivisibility- things that can not be divided, the things you cant have a little
of- defense, for example, or transportation systems. Exclusion (or non-
exclusion)- is the impossibility of excluding people from consuming the
service or good. In private schools, they can pick and choose between
students, and the ones that are not accepted, get moved to the public sector.
And the public sector can not choose what they want, the must accept
everyone. Spillovers- the negative effects can have an impact which is not felt
right away but in many years. For example- immigration. - The business of government is not business. Despite the difference above, the
government still tries to be efficient. Efficiency, efficacy and economy have
become core modern values of public admin in Canada. They also have a
traditional governance role to provide fairly, equitably and transparently in
an accountable manner.
- Professionalism in the public sector. Examples are bilingualism, fairness
no matter who you are. Must have a public servant who is well trained,
motivated and committed. Under the patronage system was based on who
you know, people were appointed for jobs based on that (1984
confederation). The civil service act of 1918 was aimed at changing this
system with a merit based alternative. It also created the public service
commission. Merit principle is the principle (giving people jobs based on
what they know) and the system is putting it into practice.
- Behaving and acting ethically. One of the main differences between public
and private sectors is the core values and ethics in the public service. Most
laws and codes of conduct are instituted in response to a scandal in public
- Conflict between efficiency and democratic governance. Public sector norms
and values vis-à-vis the need for 3Es and what the proper role of the state is
and which values the state should project. Questions about proper role have
occupied minds of politicians for ages. Important in explaining questions
about role and size of state: The minimalist state, Keynesian welfare state,
- The minimalist state. At 1867, Canada was a minimalist state. There was a
laissez-faire attitude and the role of the state was limited to national defense
and provision of infrastructure to help facilitate expansion of business. In the
minimalist state there is no room for provision of public service and
management of public programs.
- Shrinkage in the state. The minimalist state is a shrunk state when it is only
relevant to national security, defense and peace. These are to be reserved for
the family, church or market to provide and deliver. The role of education is
also reduced in the minimalist state.
- Keynesian Welfare State. Keynesianism is an activist, interventionist and
involved state. Involved in the political “left” or democrats, liberals. It
emerged after the great depression when the minimalist state was
inadequate and incapable of treating problems. Support from family and
church was also unsustainable.
- John Maynard Keynes. Godfather of keneysian welfare state. He argued that
in tough times the government could grow by investing and spending.
Keynesianism advocates more involvement in public sector to provide safety
- Is Canada a Keynesian welfare state?In 1940s, social safety net was created
like healthcare, UE insurance, pensions and medicare. As a result, a well
trained public service was also created.
- Neo-conservative state. Lecture 4
- Sources of organizational theory. Public bureaucracy is the primary
organizing principle and machinery of government. It exists in all parts of
our lives. Organizational theory is often associated with schools of business
management. That is because issues that affect the private sector, affect the
public sector as well. Theories from business have been adopted and adapted
into the public sector. Organizational theory is the need to understand what
people do, how things are done and why we have organizations.
- Types of organizational theories. Three main types: Classical, Structuralist
- Karl Marx. Manifesto of the Communist party. He sees it as a class struggle
between workers and the owners of capitol. It all comes down to labor and
ownership of labor. Marx argues that the bureaucracy and public policies
are made for the benefit of a few privilege classes in society (interest of
- Summary of Marx. Capitalist oppresses and exploits the working class in the
pursuit of profits (made for cheap and sold expensively). State tax policies
always tend to benefit businesses. Bureaucracy is a living organisms and
everything done is for its own interest.
- Demise of Bureaucracy. It is a closed corporation, with secrets, mystery and
secured by hierarchy. It is nothing more than a special interest that hides
behind a more dignified picture of a faithful servant. Increase of power,
status and prestige is what motivates bureaucrats. His conclusion: that
class struggle will result in revolution, leading to a classless society in
which bureaucracy will gradually whether away.
- Critics of Marxism. The revolution has not yet occurred, but capitalism is
getting more powerful. You cant prove that capitalists sent instructions to
policy makers to benefit them. It also cant explain why some policies are
passed when they are directly against the capital (ex: tax hikes in france and
healthcare reform in US). Elections have also turned out more voter-friendly
- Max Weber. Most influenced theory if public admin than anyone.
Constructed the “Ideal Type” or model of bureaucracy- he looked at
ancient studies of Egypt, Rome, etc. He said bureaucracy is continuous and
done by trained professionals according to prescribed rules. Saw it as a
rational, systematic, logical and scientific approach to organization. Karl
was more of an idealist, whereas Max was more of a realist and just
described what it is. Max weber says bureaucracy is a natural process, and
Karl thought it was something that needs to be abolished (not continuous).
- Ideal Type Bureaucracy. Hierarchy: having a boss. Clearly defined roles based
on division of labor. Continuity: people have full time salaries and career
structures. Impersonality: work is based on rules and written records, not on
whims and individuals. Expertise: personnel, selected based on education and merit. Political Neutrality: people should serve any government that’s in
power at that time.
- Criticisms. Its an ideal type and may not work in real world. May lead to
discrimination against people who, due to circumstances beyond their
control, cant have access to participate in the system (women, minorities,
- Political opposition to Weber. His theory hinders the risk taking initiative
and entrepreneurial spirit of capitalism.
- Weber today. Most institutions are manages based on Weberian structure.
Most private firms are also structured this way. When there is a scandal in
government, they all run back to Weber (rules and accountability etc)
- Structuralist theories are focused on getting the 3 E’s, are mechanical in
nature and not much attention is given to the workers needs.
- They see human beings as tools. They say that people are mostly motivated
by money, and should work according to the rules are regulations set forth
- Fredrick Windslow Taylor- father of scientific management. During his time
workers didn’t have routines or rules and mainly worked by themselves. He
viewed this as being inefficient.
- He used a stop watch to determine how long a specific job would usually take
to finish (shortest possible time)- time and motion studies. Under no
circumstances should workers be allowed to solve problems themselves. He
conclueded that division of labour was needed, and constructed a hierarchy.
- Henry Fayol: Planning, organizing, commanding, coordinating and
- Humanist theories: paying equal attention to the workers as individuals.
- Last week POSDCORB: planning, organizing, staffing, directing, coordinating,
reporting and controlling.
- We will learn about the shape and structure of public admin in Canada,
relationship between and within these structures.
- Three foundational pillars of admin. First one is that it is fundamentally
based on the capitalist economic structure; and thus Canada is a capitalist
society. We looked at Marxist theory, where we said Canada is not
communist, but socialist. It is more socially democratic than USA. The second
is that Canada shares its powers between feds, province and municipalities. ,
- When we say Canada is a capitalist society, what does that mean? Market is
run by the free market system (so, in a way yes). Root of capitalism is
“property rights” where they can sell their property as they wish. Almost
everything is determined by the free market. Our people have the power to
choose our system of government. Entering and exiting the “free market” is free so you can buy/sell whenever you want legally. At the same time, the
will of the majority must prevail, and protect majority rights.
- In Canada we have 3 levels of government. The constitution gives certain
powers to certain levels of government. Most of the power to raise and spend
money belongs to the feds and they can spend it however they choose. They
have the most money but lack the constitutional jurisdiction in the most
expensive policy areas whereas provinces are responsible for the post
expensive policy areas but lack resources to fund them.
- Westminster tradition. Executive branch, legislative branch and judicial
branch. Its how they work together in the Canadian system that makes it
different from the US system. Executive is monarch, governor general, PM
and his ministers. Public service and be an advisor and executioner for the
executive branch. In us there is no monarch or governor general there is just
the president and the cabinet. The legislative branch is made up of house of
commons and are appointed by the senate. The judicial is supreme court of
Canada and all courts below them, this is similar to the US.
- Myths. That the queen is at the top of the state and everything has to be done
in her name. The governor general is supposed to act in her name. Also a
myth that she has the right to say which political party will form govt, which
parliament will be dissolved, when a new election will be called. This is what
is supposed to differentiate Canadian system with American. In reality, this is
not the case. If you become Canadian prime minister and have majority in the
house, you are a dictator (have a lot of power). If you are an American
president, you can not have that much power because if the congress
disagrees then nothing happens. American presidents are lucky if they get a
second term but in Canadian they usually rule for a longer period of time.
- Realities. All the roles and functions are ceremonial and symbolic. Most
decisions are made by PM and governor general just stamps them. Courts in
Canada have also become very important in legislation. Originalist court:
original meaning of the intent of the constitution. Activist court takes into
consideration the circumstances of today (internet), and in between original
intentions and what is happening today they find what the appropriate law
is. Courts stand alone but they inevitably create policies. Just by ruling gay
marriage legal, policies have to change to comply to that.
- Cabinet. Led by prime minister and other ministers chosen by him. Almost all
big decisions in Canada are made in the cabinet.
- Privy council. Advisory body that consists of all current and former ministers
of the crown. Led by the clerk, the PCO helps government implement its
vision and respond effectively and quickly to issues facing the country.
- Rules. 3 main roles: brings together quality, objective and non-partisan
policy advice and information to support PM. As secretary to cabinet, PCO
facilitates the smooth, efficient and effective functioning of cabinet ad the
government of Canada on a day-to-day basis. Ensuring that Canada and
Canadians are ser