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POLS 2250 (89)
Chapter 1

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University of Guelph
Political Science
POLS 2250
Nanita Mohan

WEEK 1 – Jan 7 – 11 Chapter 1: What Is Public Administration Importance & Meaning of public administration • Enormous expansion of Canadian governmental responsibilities • Range of governmental responsibilities includes: -traditional functions of administration of justice -conduct of external relations -defence of the country -newer responsibilities (health care, environmental protection, science research) • Two major government activities: 1.Provision of goods 2. Enforcement of regulation • Service functions -delivery of mail -maintenance of roads -administration of grants and loans • Regulatory functions -prevention of unsafe workplaces -support of Canadian culture -enforcement of fair housing -employment • Governments are actively engaged in research on matters to perform/carry out responsibilities effectively • Research activities are costly but essential • Canadians are unaware of the importance and magnitude f government operations since everything doesn’t affect them directly • Public administrators play a large role in formulating and implementing policies to fulfil their government’s service and regulatory responsibilities • These responsibilities are preformed though public bureaucracy -is an organizational system for achieving government objectives Meaning of Public Administration • Most definitions indicate purpose of public administration but don’t explain it will -insufficient recognition of role of bureaucrats in formulation of programs and policies • Public administration: -refers to a field of practice (or occupation) and to a field of study (or discipline) -“the public, civil or civic service, including all matters of concern within itself, all matters which impinge on it, and all matters on which it impinges.” • Public bureaucracy: -the system of authority, people, offices and methods the government uses to achieve its objectives • Bureaucracy includes investigation of behaviour or internal forms of bureaucratic forms ALSO the relations between bureaucracy and other political elements Public vs Private Administration Similarities: -administration in all government involves cooperative group action -all large organizations must provide for the performance of such functions of general management (planning, staffing, funding, budgeting) Differences: 1. Overall mission -for public administration its service to the public -there is a need for bureaucrats to assist elected politicians to respond to public demand -for private administration its profit aka “the bottom line” -survival of private sector organizations ultimately depends on making a profit 2. Efficiency -public administration operates less effectively than private administration -governments typically must satisfy several goals simultaneously -therefore less incentive to cut costs and operate efficiently -politicians first and foremost want to win public support -business organizations are more efficient cuz they compete in the market place 3. Accountability -greater emphasis in public sector on accountability -everyone is forced to finance the government therefore we expect to have some say over its operation or to know matters are being handled 4. Human Resources Management -is a system that is more complicated and rigid in government than in the private sector -harder to fire and hire government employees -complexity and inflexibility of HRMS results from general emphasis on accountability and the need to demonstrate that required procedures have been properly established and followed 5. Public nature of public administration -most government deliberation are conducted behind closed doors but fall under bigger public scrutiny -front page headlines con reveal inefficiency in government rather than developments in private sector -important question: is public administration conducted as efficiently as can reasonably be expected -2 major characteristics of government (caused by the differences between public and private administration): 1.vast scope and complexity of government activities 2.political environment within which these activities are conducted **The study of public administration is a relevant recent development Environment & Size of Public Administration Globalization • turns the whole planet into a “single social space” producing a sense of “simultaneity” •
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