The Concept of Public Administration

Topics: Government, Democracy, Public administration Pages: 6 (1998 words) Published: June 16, 2011
The Concept of Public Administration
Historically, Governments have attempted to develop sound governance and public administration to support social, political and economic development. However, changing in political and economic context have made it increasingly difficult to determine what constitute the principles, foundations, quality and effectiveness of public administration. (UNECOSOC, 2005) The present report presents some initial thoughts and recommendations about the methodology that can generate consensus on these principles and foundations. Over the past few decades, the principle and foundations of public administration have experienced a radical transformation, owing to two major changes in the world. First , democratic states now outnumber their non-democratic counterparts, establishing a significant precedent in world history. This global movement for democratic governance has been pursued not only as a value in and of itself, but also highlighted the need to foster greater interaction among three sets of actors in the process of governance: those from government organization, the civil society and the private sector. According to Dimock (1973), says public administration is the fulfillment or enforcement of public policy as declared by the competent authorities. It deals with the problems and powers, the organization and techniques of management involved in carrying out the laws and policies formulated by the policy-making agencies of government. Secondly, the rapid pace of globalization has exerted new pressures on the public sector to increase its skills and capacity to deal with new challenges and opportunities, such as new information and communication technologies(ICT), the expansion of trade and investment, an increased focus on public goods such as the environment and human rights, and the proactive role of global institutions such as the World Trade Organization that affect development processes at the country level. In combination, these two tendencies have produced the need to re-evaluate some of the traditional approaches used for evaluating public administration. This situation has led to a dilemma in which the increasing emphasis on and expectations for representative government are coupled with often struggling state capacity, and a widening disparity in terms of resources and ability to access services and representation. In view of the above it is an all inclusive transparency and accountability, participation and pluralism, subsidiarity , efficiency and effectiveness, and equity and access to services. The challenge is to bridge wide gaps that exist between the theory and the practice of public administration. Nations around the world recognize the need for effective governance, and public administration structures and processes by providing opportunities for citizen participation in local decision-making, ensuring accountability of local political leaders and government officials, and promoting a system of checks and balances among various levels of government. A lack of State capacity is now widely acknowledged as the source of many of the problems that developing countries face today. On one hand, a State capacity deficit can refer to poorly managed public institutions; inadequate public sector human capacities in terms of knowledge, skills, motivation and commitment; inability to collect and manage public financial resources; or a dearth of knowledge, innovation, and technology strategies. (Ayo, 1998) On the other, it also relates to the State’s ability to create an enabling environment for private sector development and full participation of civil society in policy-making processes. One of the most critical issues emerging from the series of United Nations conferences leading to the landmark Millennium Summit has been the central role of governance systems and institutions in promoting economic development, increasing the access to services of the vast majority of the poor,...

References: Ayo, B. 1998. “A Review of the Performance of the Nigerian Public Bureaucracy”, in D. Kolawole (ed.), Issues in Nigerian Government and Politics. Ibadan: Dekaal.
Ipinlaye, O.2001. “The Nigerian Civil Service: An Insider’s View”, in F. Omotosho (ed.), Contemporary Issues in Public Administration. Lagos. Bolabay
Nnoli, D. 2000. “Public Administration” in R. Muantala (ed.) African Public Administration: A Reader. Harare: AAPS
United Nations, Economic and Social Council, 2005. New York
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