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Public administration is as old as society and state themselves. It evolved as the agency of state which runs the administration of the country. However, conscious theorizing about it is, perhaps, less than a century old. According to Woodrow Wilson the late evolution of public administration was due to the fact that the Governments had passed through three Stages-the period of absolute rulers; the period of struggle for constitutionalism and popular control; and the period when on winning political battles, people started thinking about freedom and perfect machinery for democratic administration. The first systematic writer on public administration was the American president Woodrow Wilson whose article entitled “The study of public administration” in the political science quarterly in 1887 set the ball rolling for the study of public administration as a separate discipline.

In 1900 Frank Goodnow in his influential work ‘Politics and Administration’, put forth the thesis that the fields of politics and administration were separate areas of public life and hence the two must be separate and public administration must study only the field of administration and the study of politics to political science which resulted in the development of permanent civil Service free from political influence.

Many later writers have attempted to reduce the scope of public administration in an attempt to provide focus to the study of modalities of policy implementation rather than policy formation. ” Introduction to the study of public administration “, by L.D White published in 1926 focused on the study of various principles of public administration and promoted further development public administration in the U.S. A. White has defined public administration as consisting of all those operations having for their purpose the fulfillment or enforcement of public policy. The emphasis here is on the activities of the executive branch of the government and the classic work L.D. White had the effect of directing the study of public administration towards the executive branch. Other prominent scholars like Luther Gullick and Herbert Simon also had the same opinion.

By 1939 public administration had made great strides in its development in to a science and in that year the American society for public administration was formed with its quarterly journal, the Public Administration Review. The American society of Public administration provided a forum for the scholars and practitioners to meet together and exchange views which helped in the spread of theories, ideas and led to the development of science of public administration. This development in the U.S.A was also aided by some management scholars who developed the scientific management movement in the country. The ‘father’ of the scientific Management Movement in the U.S.A was F. W. Taylor. The Human Relations school of Elton mayo (to which school Herbert Simon belonged) contributed a human dimension to public administration which emphasized on the individual and his behavior in organizations. This development turned public administration from purely a mechanical study of the process of policy implementation as projected by Willoughby in to a human subject interested in the role of the individual in the organization and in devising means to get the best out of the individuals manning the administration.

In the post war years, public administration changed its character and there was a change in its scope and methods of investigation. Till the end of the World War II, the development of the science of public administration was confined to the U S A and Europe and most of the scholars and practitioners in the field studied the administrative systems of the USA or Europe and arrived at generalizations which they tried to apply to in all countries. After World War II came to an end, there came about the independence of the colonies and the need for development of administrative systems suited to these colonies arose. Scholars, therefore, found the need to arrive at generalizations in the field of public administration which would be applicable in these countries with diverse political economic and social systems. Led by scholars like F.W. Riggs, Ferrel Heady, Gabriel A. Almond and others, the comparative public Administration came in to being and it started the comparative study of systems of public administration, comparing the systems of different countries, developed, underdeveloped, and arriving at principles applicable across a broad range of countries. The comparative public administration movement greatly broadened the study of public administration by emphasizing the development of principles of administration applicable across the board in different situations. It was a timely extension in the scope of the subject because it greatly helped the process of economic development in the developing countries of Asia and Africa and made the study of public administration truly universal. The contribution of Ferrel Heady and F.W. Riggs in this area is important, because they provided the impetus needed for the extension of the scope of public administration. This led to the development of the comparative administration movement and the rise of Development Administration as an important part of the public administration. The modern view of public administration is that it is government-in-action.

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