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Final Notes

14 Pages

Public Administration
Course Code
Frank Ohemeng

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Section A(60 Points) Define and provide examples for the following terms. *Choose four out of 8 given 1. Objective and subjective responsibility • Objective Responsibility o Involves responsibility to someone, or some collective body (accountability), and responsibility for certain tasks, subordinate personnel, and goal achievement (obligation) o Takes into consideration hierarchical structure of authority  Public servants have the authority to make decisions of a certain nature of scope while other matters must be pushed up the ladder to others with greater authority for resolution. • Ex) a customer service representative bringing their manager on the line to resolve an issue that might require superior action that the initial agent had no authority to move on. o Forces public servants to work within official job description and nothing outside of it (use of Codes of Conduct to establish boundaries)  Ex: Regarding Harper and the Senate Scandal, members of the Office of Prime Minister were privy to inappropriate conduct pertaining to the allocation of public funds. Stephen Harper is responsible because his subordinates were supposed to delineate any activity within his office. His Chief of Staff was working outside of his powers in ‘gifting’Mike Duffy money to square up his expense discrepancies. o It creates a concern for the quality of decisions. Making informed decisions based upon all of the relevant considerations. • Subjective Responsibility (or Psychological/Personal Responsibility) o Focuses not upon whom and for what one is responsible (according to law and the organization chart) but to whom and for what one feels responsible and behaves responsibly o It is more synonymous with identification, loyalty, and conscience than it is with accountability and answerability  The identification with and loyalty to certain value positions, certain actions, or the organization o Less mechanistic and procedural than objective responsibility and takes into account habits or what clients/co-workers begin to expect/predict from an individual or action (takes place over many years) o Values, ideals, and beliefs guide public officials in process of public decision- making o Ex) Serving the public interest and not what is delegated to you by superiors? Not sure about a concrete example yet 2. CentralAgencies in Canada Canadian Central agencies serve to coordinate ‘line departments’but mostly to support the decision making activities of Cabinet, with information and advice; relaying information to other departments; and ensuring consistency across departments. There are four central agencies in the Canadian public service. These include: • Department of Finance: Created in 1967 under the Financial Administration Act and it plays the leading role in making economic policy. It deals with the macro-level finances that go in to and out of the federal government. Deals with preparation and delivery of the gov’t’s revenue and expenditure budgets. Monitors economic performance in Canada. • Treasury Board Secretariat: It is the only Cabinet committee to have a statutory basis. Provides advice on policies, directives, regulations, and program expenditure proposals (at the micro-level) that regard management of government financial, human, and material resources (e.g. Lands and Buildings). Provides advice on policies, directives, regulations, and program expenditures regarding these things. • The Privy Council Office: The secretariat to the Cabinet which reports directly to Prime Minister and is headed by the Clerk of the PCO (Secretary to the Cabinet), the highest position in the public service. It provides support to the deputy prime minister, leaders in the House of Commons & Senate, president of the Privy Council, and minister of IGA; it informs the prime minister on the entire spectrum of policy questions and operational issues that confront the government. • The Prime Minister’s Office: Staffed by partisan supporters of the government in power. The individuals in this agency are responsible for coordinating much of the Prime Minister’s daily activities (speech writing, scheduling, media relations, providing advice on policy, liaising with other ministers) and essentially exist to make the PM look good. 3. The Rational Comprehensive Model When met with a problem or when approaching a task: • Assumes everyone in the organization is rational and have: o Clear goals (based on classical-economic theory) o Complete information o Cognitive capacity to analyse/understand the problem/information • Series of sequential steps when dealing with a problem: o Identify the problem o Diagnose and determine origin of problem o Define alternatives that are potential solutions o Examine the consequences that anticipates each alternative o Choose alternative that maximizes goals and objectives o Implement not on impulse but on rational thought (cost-effective for example) • Criticisms of RCM and counter-theories o It is difficult to both clarify and rank goals, values, and objectives o It is time consuming o Limits predictability o Bounded Rationality by Herbert Simon  There are bounds to human thinking ability at times  People spend huge amounts of time searching for the ideal solution to a problem (ex: not using a manual and thinking instead about what you did the previous time this problem occurred) o Incremental Model by Charles Lindblom  Policies are changed incrementally as a result of successive limited comparison between the status quo and some bery close alternatives. In the real world of politics and administration there are multiple decision- makers with different qualities and perspectives 4. Crown Corporations These are corporations, also known as public enterprises that the state owns wholly or partly in order to fulfil national interests. They operate at an arm’s length of the government but with no ministerial control. The CBC is an example of a (previous) crown corporation but it is now privately owned with some national ties. • Purpose of Public Enterprises (some of them): o National building and community & economic development (CBC,AirCanada) o Job preservation o Enhancing global competitiveness o Attracting business people to public management o Providing window to the private sector to monitor the economy and adopt new ways of managing/delivering goods o Freedom from central agencies and other controls • They can be the subject of political scrutiny because of the governmental ties 5. The Canadian Model of the New Public Management NPM focuses on: (a) Results and increased value for money, (b) Aclient-and service-orientation, (c) Strengthened capacity for developing strategy and policy, (d) The introduction of competition and other market elements, and (e) Changed relationships with other levels of government, (f) Explicit standards and measures of performance (g) Stress on private-sector style management practices, (h) Agreater discipline and parsimony in resource use. In Canada, movements towards New Public Management were undergone during Brian Mulroney’s government in the late 1980s following the Pierre Trudeau years, which focused on the welfare state. According to Inwood, the NPM model imposed in Canada was ‘softer’than that of its origin, Britain. Formally, the Chrétien government implemented the 1995 Quality Service Initiative, and other attempts to privatize Crown corporations and forge public-private partnerships were made to bring the three Es of the private sector (efficiency, effectiveness, and economy) to the public sector. 6. Conflict of Interest In public administration, conflict of interest is any action that causes a clash between personal influences and the interest of the public. The public interest can be described as preserving humanistic values in life and health and other values in individual and societal freedom. There is a need for the common good to be upheld. Going against the public interest as a governmental actor usually pertains to the leverage of a family member or friend with information or materials that involves the public purse. Another way conflict of interest can arise is if the governmental actor’s private life converges with their public office life. For example, something as small as the use of governmental equipment (such as a printer) to serve one’s personal life (using the printer to print nongovernmental documents) could be a conflict of interest. • There are different kinds of conflicts of interest: o Using inside knowledge and influence and disclosing such info for personal gain o Self-dealing or nepotism: hiring/promoting/the recommending of a family or benefiting by considering oneself as in the private-capacity when actually in the official-capacity  Ex) Jim Love, former Chair of the Canadian Mint being appointed to the position by long-time friend Jim Flaherty. o Using government property: the printer example to using a public office to perform nongovernmental duties to using computers for private business o Outside employment: this could involve being employed at a nongovernmental job on top of the public job and the former affecting one’s performance at the latter. o Post-employment: the use of contacts acquired after one leaves office. This is one of the most difficult types of conflicts of interest to regulate o Giving gifts  Ex) Jim Love also used offshore havens to allow for wealthy clients to avoid being taxed.Also his wife and three of his colleagues donated $10,000 to Jim Flaherty’s wife’s political campaign. o Influence peddling: Rob Ford used Toronto City Hall letterhead when sending out letters relating to his football team he manages. He was able to solicit money from individuals for the football team possibly due to the letter’s influence on them. o Personal conduct: are public employees entitled the same amount of privacy as other citizens? Conduct could undermine the department and thus public trust • Managing conflicts of interest o Serving public interest o Supporting transparency and scrutiny; promoting individual responsibility and person o Engendering an organizational culture which is intolerant of conflicts of interest 7. Codes of Conduct In the public service this is a statement of professional standards of conduct to which the practitioners of a profession may subscribe. However, it may not be taken seriously because it is not legally binding. In Inwood, two professors lay out seven ‘commandments’that public servants need to follow: they must “act in the public interest; be politically neutral; do not disclose confidential information; protect the privacy of citizens and employees; provide efficient, effective, and fair service to the public; avoid conflicts of interest; and be accountable.” • Benefits of Codes of Conducts/Ethics: o Having rules written down leaves little room for argument or interpretation. The Code to which can always be referred. o Promotes public trust because we know there is a set of written rules public servants need to follow o Reduces unethical actions (does not completely eliminate though) o Helps with decision making o Establishes an ethical status to which members of a profession may aspire • Criticisms o The broad ethical principles contained in many codes are often difficult to apply to specific situations. o They are difficult to enforce customer’s always right o The large scale and complexity of government makes it difficult to draft a code that can be applied fairly and consistently across a large department. o They can adversely affect individual rights and private lives of public servants whose ethical behaviour is beyond reproach. Codes of conduct need to represent what is considered ethical to administrators. Ethics is concerned about what is right, fair, just, or good; about what we ought to do, and not just about what is the case/the most acceptable, expedient. It is often intertwined with morals; however, morals involve more of an environmental impact on the modes of behaviour (e.g. in Canada we expect children to move out at the age of 18, or at least start paying rent, which differs from other cultures). Morals are rooted in both formal rules and informal norms, whereas ethics is more universally understood (e.g. letting a senior take seat on bus). 8. The Merit Principle and the Merit System According to Weber, bureaucracy is based on the legal-rational model so people should be hired on merit, not patronage. Merit considers all things equal and movement is determined by performance. Public servants are hired/promoted on the competence rather than of party affiliation or contribution. Furthermore, it cannot be based on patronage, which involves the appointing of people to public services due to contribution—financial or otherwise—to the governing party. • The Merit Principle o Canadian citizens should have a ‘reasonable opportunity’to be consider for employment in the public service o Selections must be based exclusively on merit or ability to do the job o Distinguishes merit from fitness. For example, there may be four candidates for the position of professor but there may only be one who has extensive knowledge in the area. The one who stands apart is the best fit for the job. o The principle says that public servants should be appointed and promoted on the of competence rather than of party affiliation or contribution • The Merit System o Consists of policies, procedures, practices, rules, and other regulations o It is the mechanism or the means used at any time by which every Canadian citizen is given a reasonable opportunity to be considered for public service job and the person being fit to do the job. The principle is how merit should impact the subject and the system is how it impacts the subject. No? 9. Scientific Management theory Developed by Frederick Taylor, Scientific Management was a means to foster most efficiency in the workplace. This could be done by methodically analysing the way workers complete tasks and, like machinery, fine-tune every aspect in order to reduce redundancy and maximize productivity; this could be done by dividing up tasks and adding new positions to take care of each compartment. Frank provided the example of a shoemaker. Initially, there would be one individual using X amount of time to manufacture one pair of shoes, but Taylor found that if you enumerate the tasks to, let’s say, four additional individuals it would take 1/5 the amount of time of X to make the pair of shoes.Also, Taylor studied the basic motor actions of workers doing the task and sought to eliminate strenuous or excess actions, so as to maximize efficiency. • Criticisms: o This theory of management does not take into consideration human feelings or anything humanistic about the job; it merely focuses on moving towards machine- like labourers. o Creates a chaotic environment between the labourer and management due to increased workload or constant tinkering with environment and the way that they do things 10. Compare and contrast the public and private sectors According to Inwood there are three main differences between the public and private sectors: • Mandate and Goals o Public administration is gear toward the provision of public services not the “bottom line” o Public sector employees work within a relatively short time frame dictated by the electoral cycle o Goal measurement and contradictory ends sought by government muddy the job. The textbook provides the example: The Ministry of Finance may want to reduce government spending, while another department may want to reduce child poverty, a goal that requires more money. In the private sector there is a straightforward measurement of goals in the private sector: profits, market share, financial performance, and so on. o HR management: more complicated process to hire and fire someone in the public service because of strict merit principle (every hiring and firing done fairly) o Equity and efficiency: public sector managers emphasize equity among various constituents. The private is more oriented toward efficiency and competitiveness. o Public sector is open to public/media scrutiny whereas private is not (as much) o Public goods: provided for the benefit of all members of society. Ex) national defence or roads and bridges. Sometimes these aren’t even profitable. o Accountability: not even present in private sector o Private sector: efficient operation leads to enhanced profitability • Efficiency and Service o Public sector has become more focused on the “three E’s” of efficiency, economy, and effectiveness.  The Treasury Board Secretariat, the Office of the Comptroller, and the Office of theAuditor General ensure this is being upheld o Lack of competition amongst services in the public sector. Ex) there is only one police force and they don’t need to worry about the provision of services in the same way that a private corp. would have to. o Politicians seek re-election, so th
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