PAP2320 Lecture 3

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Public Administration
Joshua Zaato

Lecture 3 (Jan 14 ): Public and private sectors compared Management is management. Or is it?  Similar to the politics-administration dichotomy, the public-private conundrum goes back a long way in the study and practice of PA o In modern times, the lines between the public and the price sectors are getting closer and blurred  PA have copied, imported, and transferred theories, ideas, and best practices from the private sector into the public sector  Through privitization, contracting out, and public-private partnerships, the two sectors have become even closer  Finally, professionals from both the private and public sectors interact at a personal and professional levels, attend conferences together, and share ideas Difference Mandates and Goals  Private sector is committed to the bottom line while the public sector is geared towards the provision of public goods and services  Tenure of office is shorter in the public sector compared to the private sector due to the frequent electoral cycles  Goal ambiguity and targets measurement is another difference in both sectors o Anti-smoking policies and financial aid to tobacco farmers o How do you measure peace, security  Another difference is the merit principle and broader HR management in both sectors  The provision of public goods and the free rider effect Results and performance in both sectors Barbara Carroll has identified 5 problems associated with determining and measuring results in the public and private sectors (2000)  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  Indivisibility: Is about those things which cannot be divided, the things tha you cannot have just a little of – defence, transportation systems  Exclusion/ Non-exclusion: Is the impossibility of excluding people from consuming the service or good o Private schools can choose not to teach less bright or disruptive students, while publics schools don’t have that leisure  Spillovers: Are the negative externalities that can have an impact which is not felt for many years. For ex: Immigration The business of Gov’t is not business  Despite the above stated differences, Gov’t also strive to be efficient and many reforms have been instituted to achieve efficiency in the public sector  As a result, efficiency, efficacy, and economy (3E’s) have become core modern values of PA in Canada o Public managers are being held accountable for the 3Es  Apart from the 3Es, Gov’ts have a traditional role to provide services to citizens in a fairm equitable, transparent, and accountable manner o Balancing the 3Es and governance concerns therefore produces a paradoxical situation  There is also the problem of how to measure gov’t programs, how to cost them and what value to attach to their deniability o The free-rider effect Professionalism in PA  An efficient and effective public service therefore relies on a professional public service that is well trained, motivated and committed to the tenants of the profession  At confederation in 1867, appointment to and promotions within the public sector was based on Patronage  It is “The practice of rewarding loyal supporters, friends, and relatives with gov’t positions o Officeholders under this system are appointed based on whom they know not what they know  The Civil service act of 1918 was aimed at fundamentally changing and replacing this system with a merit based alternative o The Act also created the Civil Service commission which is today the Public Service Commission  Further reforms emphasising competence, training education, and affirmative action on gender, language race and disability were introduced progressively Behaving and acting ethically  One of the main differences between the public and private sectors are the core values and ethics that undergird the public service  Because of the immense discretional power and resources at their disposal, public servants are held to a very high standard of ethical behavior  But what is ethical behaviour? o “Ethics involve the study, implementation and enforcement of the activities designed to promote ‘proper’ behavior and to punish ‘improper’ behavior”  Through laws, regulation, peer pressure, and socialization, various checks have been established to promote and ensure ethical behaviour in the public sector  Most of these laws and codes of conduct are instituted in response to a scandal in the public service The Conflict between efficiency and Democratic Governance  From the above, an inherent conflict exist between o Public sector norms and values vis-a-vis the need for the 3Es, and o What the proper role of the state is and which values the state should project  As a result questions about the proper role and size of the state have occupied the minds of politicians, philosophers, theologians, and scholars for ages  The three key historical and ideological developments are important in explaining these critical questions about the role of the state. These are: o The minimalist state o Keynesian Welfare State o The Neo-conservative state The minimalist state in Canada  At confederation in 1867, the Canadian state was a Minimalist state  “The prevailing ideology was a laissez-faire attitude that suggested the role of the state be limited to the national defense and the provision of infrastructure
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