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Public Admin - Textbook Notes.docx

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University of Guelph
Political Science
POLS 2250
Tim Mau

1/11/2013 2:30:00 PM What is Public Administration? (Week 1) p 3-15 2 Major areas of government activities 1. Provision of services  Include the delivery of mail  Maintenance of roads etc. 2. The enforcement of regulations Public Administration – “the study and practice of the tasks associated with the conduct of the administrative state”  Refers to a field of practice and to a field of study DIFFERENCES OF PUBLIC VS PRIVATE ADMINISTRATION 1. the vast scope and complexity of government activities 2. the political environment within which these activities are conducted  Focus on the people  Operates less efficiently than Private o Not oriented towards a specific goal  Greater emphasis on accountability  Human resources is much more complicated and rigid than the private admin  Requires Most of Public to be seen by public  Private admin – focus on making a profit Public Bureaucracy – the system of authority, people, offices and methods that government uses to achieve its objectives Factors influencing the change in public admin - Globalization - Technological Change - Political Culture - Financial Position - Demography - Legacy of Past Reforms Issues and Themes in Public Admin - Power of the Bureaucracy  Concern that the expertise and experience of public servants along with the size of the public service put at risk democratic practices - The Right Organizational Form  continual effort to locate new organizational forms that allow public servants to fully exploit their talents and government to meet the increasingly varied and complex demands of society - Crowded World of Public Admin  Public Admin has expanded greatly in size and processes, must deal with media, pressure groups, etc. - End of the Bargain  relationship of ministers and public servants is vital  Public servants were loyal and professional advisors  This is beginning to crumble - Competitive Relations  Public servants are competing with each other and with others in the political process in the pursuit of differing values and interests Chapter 2 p 17-33 – The Structural Foundation Characteristics of a Weberian Bureaucracy 1. Hierarchial Structure  bureaucratic organization is arranged in a series of superior- subordinate relationships.  Unity of command: that for each position in the hierarchy, there is only one supervisor 2. Specialization of Labour  Allocate responsibilities to subordinates in a clear fashion  Specific jobs = more efficient 3. Employment and Promotion Based on Merit  promotion based on an objective test of merit provided assurance and increased efficiency 4. Full-Time Employment  this ensured that the official would develop allegiance to the bureaucracy 5. Decision Based on Impersonal Rules  these rules apply equally to all clients  Bureaucrats cannot substitute their own set of rules for legitimately proclaimed by superiors 6. Importance of Written Files  Must maintain written records of decision making and the rationale for the decisions made 7. Bureaucratic Employment is Separate from the Individual Bureaucrat‟s Private Life  Do not own his/her own position and the rights that go with it Webers 2 views of Bureaucracy 1. Most efficient method of organization 2. He foresaw many of the problems familiar to anyone who interacts with these organizations a. They might overwhelm people / political leaders Criticism of Weber - Weber dwelt too much on the structural aspects of bureaucracy and not enough on the human side of the organization - perceived internal inconsistencies  relies on expert decision making to ensure efficiency Fredrick W. Taylor - „Soldering” or slacking off was taking place in the workplace - employers had no idea this was going on  solution was to establish scientific standards based on the proven physical capacities of workers and then refrain from adjusting those standards arbitrarily Canadian Experience – Patronage to Merit (keep your job on how well you perform) Span of Control – refers to the number of subordinates who report to one supervisor  Smaller span provides more control of employees o Depends on o 1. Nature of the work supervised o 2. Level of training o 3. Extent of geographical decentralization o 4. Overall stability Organization of Duties 1. PURPOSE 2. PROCESS 3. PERSONS 4. PLACE Staff/ Line Functions Line: is directly involved in producing and distributing the goods or services provided by the organization Staff – aids, advises, and supports the employees providing the line function Decentralization – suggests a placing of real discretionary authority in the outlying unity Deconcentration – suggests a physical dispersal of members of the organization with only very limited delegation of decision-making authority  Both intertwine Best style of organization depends on the nature of the programs to be delivered and the need for regional responsiveness. Chapter 3 – pg 34-48 Mary Parker Follett  One of the first to understand the importance of the informal system was not a conventional researcher but a very perceptive student of human nature  REJECTED THE CONVENTIONAL USE OF RAW POWER IN ORGANIZATIONS  Circular response means no one unilaterally acts on someone else  Conflict would inevitably develop in any organization because of the existence of circular response Hawthorne or sympathetic observer effect – the idea that workers given special attention will experience an increase in morale, which will lead to greater productivity Chester Bernard  An organization is a cooperative system held together by a good communication system and by the continuing desire of individual members to see the organization thrive o Members make contributions, get inducements for it to encourage them  If inducements are inadequate, workers will slack off  Inducements such as loyalty, good working conditions, and pride in work are more effective than monetary Maslow‟s Hierarchy of Needs – monetary rewards are too simplistic  1. Psychological – food shelter, clothing, sex and sleep (low)  2. Safety – security, stability, freedom  3. Belongingness and love – friendship, love  4. Esteem – achievement, competence, independence, prestige  5. Self-actualization – self-fulfillment, attaining to ultimate life goals (high) o some concepts are poorly defined Douglas McGregor‟s Theory X and Theory Y Theory X – depicts people as seeking to do as little work as possible and who must be threatened and closely supervised Theory Y – Work is a natural activity – not something to be avoided  Employees act differently on how they are treated  McGregor‟s and Maslow‟s thinking both have a very positive view of human nature o Workers can be positively motivated without recourse to threats Organization Development (OD)  All organizations tend to become rigid, and the environment around the organization changes, and this has serious consequences o Purpose of OD is to locate the barriers to change and to show the organization how to engage in planned, goal-directed change Total Quality Management (TQM)  Is eliminating quality control as a separate function and instead making every employee responsible for quality and giving each a role in designing production processes to ensure maximum quality All styles of managements seem to have little impact on the Canadian government Katz and Kahn‟s Open Systems Approach  Felt that organizations could be approached in the same manner as other management theories  All organizations are a part of their environments Negative Entropy – the process of importing and storing more energy than it expends Contingency Theory  There is no one best way to organize  The best way to structure an organization is contingent on a number of factors affecting the organization o Size, technology, environment etc Chris Argyris maturity-immaturity theory  All social organizations are composed of individuals and a formal structure, but that tensions inevitably develop because there is a basic incongruence between mature individuals and the needs of the formal organization Week 4 – Chapter 5, Government Departments and C
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