A fundamental assumption of administrative reformers in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s was that politics could have only adverse affects on administration. How valid is that belief? Why? How, and to what extent, do current administrative structures and practices reflect that assumption? Also discuss the contributions of various scholars (at least five but preferably more) to the development of public administration as a discipline.
Since man started living in organized group politics and public administration has been part of his life. Politics can be described as the processes and procedures of making choices reprocessing to all members of each community. Politics largely focuses on achieving and attaining as well as exerting positions of management and limited control over human activities particularly in a state. Additionally, politics emphasizes on the distribution of authority and backing within a given group and the relationships between communities and groups (Rose-Ackerman, Lindseth, & Emerson, 2017). On the other hand, public administration emphasizes on the organization of governing authority policies and programs and the conduct of those in authority who have an obligation to distribute power and resources to the common man. The primary objective of public administration is to evaluate public policies so that they can be designed and implemented in the right context and to benefit people at large (Weihrich, 2010). This assignment will focus on identifying the relationship between politics and administration while at the same time examining the validity of the assumption that politics could have only adverse effects of administration.
The relations between public administration and politics are often described in the context of the political process. However, there is a distinction made between the two, particularly during the policy making stages and policy implementation in which administration may play a less active part. Therefore, the fundamental assumption of administrative reformers in the late 1800s and early 1900s that politics could only have adverse impacts of administration is not entirely valid (Raadschelders, 2011). According to Woodrow Wilson, there is a clear distinction between politics and administration where he defined politics as the expression of will and administration as the execution of the will. Additionally, he goes further to state that a political council defines the goals which the administration will have to attain and those in politics and power can only implement the defined goals with the help of the administration. On the other hand, Leonard D. White went ahead to argue that four critical traditions warrants the need for public administration in all political set ups in a nation or a group. According to White, the administration is a crucial process that can be studied at all levels of the government, to boost and enhance management of people and resources, the concept that administration is a science and the fact that the administration is at the heart of problems in the modern government (Kickert & Stillman, n.d). Therefore, it is quite clear that administration is part and parcel of politics and politics do not entirely adversely affect administration in a group.
Some of the notable contributors of different scholars on the issues of politics and administration include Max Weber, Fredrick W. Taylor, and Woodrow Wilson. For example, in their work Max Weber and Woodrow Wilson on the study of administration, they stated that interactions and the relationship between administration and politics could be subjected to scientific debate and empirical debates. One of the primary questions according to these scholars is whether and to what degree officials should be actively involved in the political process. On the other hand, Fredrick W. Taylor as the father of scientific management felt that administrators who are compared to the scientific manager should break aware from politics to enforce the best way discovered onto the workforce (Taska, 2017). Moreover, William F. Willoughby felt that public administration had universal aspects that could be applied to all branches of the government. Therefore, it is correct to say that politics do not entirely negatively affect administration as the above study shows.
Kickert, W., & Stillman, R. (n.d.). Changing European States, Changing Public Administration: Introduction. Comparative Public Administration, 735-740. doi:10.1016/s0732-1317(06)15033-2
Raadschelders, J. C. (2011). Four Intellectual Traditions in the Study of Public Administration. Public Administration, 149-175. doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199693894.003.0006
Rose-Ackerman, S., Lindseth, P., & Emerson, B. (2017). Comparative Administrative Law. doi:10.4337/9781784718671
Taska, L. (2017). Scientific Management. Oxford Handbooks Online. doi:10.1093/oxfordhb/9780198708612.013.2
Weihrich, H. (2010). Management. Tata McGraw Hill Education Private Limited.