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POLS 2250 Chapter Notes -Human Resource Management System, Public Administration, E-Government

Political Science
Course Code
POLS 2250
Tim Mau

of 3
Public Admin
Chapter 1 Introduction to Public Administration
Importance and Meaning of Public Administration
The spheres of our lives that the government touches has grown exponentially since WWII
Two major areas of the government activities: provision of services and the enforcement of
The meaning of public administration
Public administration the study and practice of the tasks associated with the conduct of the
administrative state; the coordination of individual group efforts to carry out public policy; use of
managerial political and legal theories and processes to fulfill legislative, executive and judicial
governmental mandates for the provision of regulatory and service functions for the society as a whole
or some segments of it
Public administration is an occupation or a field of study whereas public bueacracray (aka public
service/civil service) is an organizational form
Public policy- an action or decision made by the government to address a particular problem
Program set of activities used to carry out the policies of government
Public Administration vs. Private Administration
Public administration
Private Administration
Goal is to service the public
Goal is profit aka “the bottom line”
Operates less efficiently
-have to achieve multiple goals at once
-receive provisions so are less worried about profit
-usually monopolistic
Operates more efficiently
-focused on one goal
-have to compete
Much more accountability
-it is our tax money
-less alternatives
Less accountability, more into pleasing
Human resource management system is much
more rigid
-harder to hire and fire government employees
-someone who is less qualified can be promoted
Less rigid
Many more decisions are vulnerable to public
More things can be and are done behind closed
Two reasons that there are so many differences:
1) The vast scope and complexity of government activities
2) The political environment within which these activities are conducted
This makes them hard to compare
The Study of Public Administration
- 1914 Doherty and Shortt wrote literature on certain aspects of public administration and public
- Canada Public Administration Journal commenced in 1958
- In the 1960s the actual study grew and in 1970 it blew up
Environment and Size of Public Administration
Forces national governments and their beuracratic agents to be creative in order to remain
competitive in the world and to guard individuals and industries against the hard effects of
Globalization threatens national cultures as it tries to establish common beliefs and values
Technological Change
Government workers can now easily access information and make better decisions
Clients can connect better with the government
Techonology also increases the chance of invasion of privacy
e-mails can clog up the arteries of our government
Political Culture
Refers to the values, beliefs and attitudes we hold about political life
People are less confident in government
Canadians are not as willing to accept public authority
Casued by higher levels of education, failures of the government and shifting constitutional
Financial Position
Overspending led to large deficits and public debts
Led to the eliminating of programs, the trimming of transfers to other governments and other
The machinery of government need to operate in a more timely and sensitive fashion
Ex. The changing age composition, all the baby-boomers turning 65 and older
More women working, more minorities working therefore government needs to become more
Legacy of Past Reforms
More specific to Canada
There is a recognition for a change in the public service but it is difficult to achieve
Size of the Public Serivce
Increase in government expenditures since WWII
Government spends like 41.5 cents per dollar spent in Canada
In 2005 over 3 million people worked for the public sector. .5 million for the feds - (a fifth of the
working force of Canada)
In federal public service there are 6 occupational categories : executive management, scientif
and professional, administrative and foreign service, technical, administrative support, and
Issues and Themes
Power of bureaucracy
Power and influence of appointed governmental officials
The speak for the people
Some officlas are educated but hardly trained for their position
Extremley high turnover rate in the Canadian government
The Right Organizational Form
There has been a continuous effort to locate new organizational forms
There is a quest to find the one right organizational form
The Crowded World of Public Administration
Much more interaction between very sector of the governemtn and the media
“the village has become a bustling city”
End of “Bargain”
Relationship between ministers and public servants was initially a type of bargain
Was the foundation of good government in Canada
Ministers more prone to seek the advice of those outside of the public service
Bureactras see themselves as the jilted party sometimes
Compettive Relations
Public servants compete with eachother and others in the political process in the pursuit of
different values and interests
Makes government process the products of committee rather than rational entity
This may mean that heiarchy has less of an influence than initially believed; ministers may just
be presenting different groups to compete against eachother