In the studies of the 1880s and later scholars have collected an impressive body of data how best to carry out and manage routine operations to gain productivity in industry. Principles of scientific business management were worked out and people were trained to follow them.
Later successful business was seen as the model for the proper management of government, and the field of public administration was seen as a field of business, because management of all organizations in both the fields involves planning the activities and establishing goals; organizing work activities; staffing and training; directing or decision-making; coordinating to assure that the various work activities come together; reporting the status of work and problems to both supervisors and subordinates; and budgeting to assure that work activities correspond to fiscal planning, accounting, and control.
Some scholars argued that administration is a more general term and a more generic process than management. Administration takes place at factories, schools, hospitals, prisons, insurance companies, or welfare agencies, whether these organizations were private or public. Accordingly they started speaking about business and public administration.
There is an obvious difference between administration of business, or private organization, and administration of public organizations. Thus, the word public in ‘public administration’ is meaningful, and the study of public affairs will have to take into account not only management subjects common to both public and private sectors, but also the special environment in which the public servant has to live, an environment constituted of the mix of administration, policy making, and politics. And then, public organizations are more dependent on government allocations, more constrained by law, more exposed to political influences, and more difficult to evaluate than business organizations. These differences suggest caution in applying business management techniques to government agencies.
Public Administration as an Academic Discipline
Originally the discipline of public administration was not strong on theory. Early public administration was marked by a concern for applying the principles of business management to a higher level of business – public affairs. The method of case study was borrowed from business schools and applied to public administration. It was a prescriptive method and it told the student what he “ought to do” and what he “should not do” in specific situations of managing of public agencies. But by and by public administration developed a theory and a method of investigation of its own.
In the 1950s it began to borrow heavily from sociology, political science, psychology, and social psychology that led to the formation of organization theory that helps to understand the nature of human organizations.
Then, the 1950s and 1960s witnessed a dramatic upsurge of professional and academic participation in comparative administration studies. Comparative administration was focused on the developing nations and the analysis of “transitional societies”. Considerable attention was paid to studies of particular areas of the world. There were detailed case-by-case examinations of administrative situations in both the developing countries and the older, established bureaucracies of the industrialized world. They developed elaborate and highly generalized models of development administration and managed to explain many development situations.
Another situation that has drawn from the management science traditions is the emergence of public policy analysis as a major branch of public administration studies. Writings on decision-making took into account economic, political, psychological, historical, and even nonrational, or irrational processes. The National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA) advocates public policy analysis as one of the subject areas that should be included in any comprehensive program in administration.
An interesting development in American public administration in the late 1960s is known as the New Public Administration which was a reaction against the value-free positivism that had characterized much of American public administration thought since World War II. It reasserted the importance of normative values, particularly social justice. The disclosures of the Watergate scandals have reinforced these positions and stressed anew the importance of integrity, openness, and accountability in the conduct of public affairs. This concern for the needs of human beings in the modern world can be seen in the growth of consumer and environmental protection functions domestically, and pressure for human rights around the world.
The politics of public administration becomes increasingly interesting. Citizens, students, and scholars all round the world have come to understand the enormous impact of public administration on all of us, which is an important reason for the renaissance of their interest in public administration.
Английский язык для студентов, изучающих государственное управление. Л.М.Лещёва и др. Учебное пособие / На англ. яз.; Под ред. д.филол.н., профессора Л.М. Лещёвой. Часть I. – Мн.: Академия управления при Президенте Республики Беларусь, 2006. – , 203 с.