Definitions and Typologies in Public Administration


Public administration is the broad collection of activities that include the development; execution and study of the divisions of government policy. Public administration holds the role of ensuring that public service is run effectively, fairly, and with justice. It also seeks to promote the good of the public by augmenting the development of civil society. Public administration is practiced by workers of the government working within government agencies and departments at the different levels of administration within the government system. The work of public administrators usually centers on the making of legislation; policy development; lawfully execution of directed government activities; collection and analysis of statistics; and the monitoring of national budgets. Public administrators work in different capacities that range from direct public service to executive public administration duties. These role capacities include public service like the work of policy analysts; administrators like government auditors; and the executives of the different agencies and divisions of the government (Shafritz, Russell & Borick, 2009)

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From the history of public administration that dates to the 19th century; the concepts applied in administration include; the disjointing of administration and politics; proportional analysis of private and political organizations; development of competence using business-related practices and attitudes towards daily operations; advancing the efficiency of public service through merit-based evaluation of workers and offering training and managerial practices to public service. It is also evident that Public administration is greatly dependent on other disciplines like public economics; sociology; administrative legislation; and political science. Public administration to a great extent constitutes the application of theoretical models and contentions into practical enforcement and should be treated as a science as it is involved in the generation of knowledge and statistics to do with governmental welfare and management that are administered from a scientific perspective (Diane 2008).

Among the public administration officials interviewed; is Dan Dionisie who is a specialist on public administration restructuring and anti-corruption at the Bratislava district center. He has previously worked in public administration capacities with UNDP; Romania presidency; as a lecturer at Bucharest University; central administration; policy-making and organization; public sector transparency and civil service training. The information from the one-hour interview encounter with the socio-political scientist about public administration is discussed below. (Shafritz, Russell & Borick, 2009)

The socio-political scientist argued that corruption is an imminent problem rooted in the functional and structural system of the government, since the fall of the Soviet Union and into the development of democracy and the market economy. This situation has therefore resulted in the introduction of new procedures to deal with the shortages of the anti-corruption mechanisms in place. There is also the problem of influential oligarchs where there is no democratic transparent and accountable governance. This situation leads to the need for extra careful analytical installation of corruption measures in addressing the problems of public administration. This problem further creates the need for the establishment of democratic governance standards that greatly influence the working of anti-corruption laws and regulations. This is the case because the new laws and regulations can be used against the promotion of democracy through political repression and to undermine restructuring politics. The communist system also suppressed civil liberties that left no space for the creation of social structures outside party control; that further means that the civil society could not manage itself in the endorsement of collective interests separately from the state. (Shafritz, Russell & Borick, 2009)

As a measure to control the corruption situation as reviewed from the study; Dionisie argued that the corruption situation could be dealt with through the formation of a Multi-task corruption agency; within this region that would investigate and prosecute corruption culprits, prevent instances of corruption, offer monitoring and coordination of the anti-corruption activities as well as promoting education and awareness about corruption. The other measure is the formation of a law enforcement agency that specializes in the investigation and prosecution of corruption cases. This could also take the form of the creation of various types of corruption prevention agencies, for the different areas that portray corruption instances. Civil service restructuring can help realize the goal of uprooting corruption in the community, including civil service reforms that promote institutional capacity expansion; the advancement of integrity systems; improving the policy capabilities; the improvement of responsiveness and still maintaining the balance. The development of an anti-corruption practitioners’ network would support teamwork and shared learning among anti-corruption agencies and institutions in helping correct the situation (Dubois, & Fattore, 2009).

The other public administrator that was interviewed was Ms. Haiyan Qian; who is the Chief Manager of the UN online network in public administration. She has also served at different levels of public administration, therefore, is endowed with a great deal of knowledge. The ideas from the fifty minutes interview are reported in the following discussion and according to him, public administration stands for the government at work performing politically drafted objectives, goals, and values. Due to this, the most important aspect of public administration is the position it holds within the political structure; and the extent of influence it can exercise in the implementation of sustainable development efforts. However, with the lapse of time changes have taken place influencing the concepts of political systems that influence the act of governance. Changes affecting the practice of public administration have taken place within the environment, postulations, and dynamics of public administration. These changes have resulted from the pressures of globalization; innovations and technologies in communication; and increased movement of people goods and capital. As a result of the dynamics of these aspects of life; more opportunities, challenges, and threats that demand fundamental changes in the general approach to public administration have come into place (Georgi, 2008).

An efficient public administration system is fundamental in enhancing and realizing the ability of the society in solving new challenges; utilizing the available opportunities, and carrying out national development. One of the major challenges is the creation of a friendly environment by the government that will allow for the operation and success of the private sector. However, the reforms that have taken place so far vary to a large extent from one country to the other, depending on the political system and socio-economic conditions. (Dubois, & Fattore, 2009).

Within the Global picture, administrative reform is sought for the realization of factors like advancing performance in public administration through the modernization of methods and techniques; improving work practices, and implementing a more effective organization of human resources. Other factors include adopting a market-oriented economic development within the concept of globalization and decentralizing of public service. This can be achieved through the transfer and allocation of power/ authority to basic levels of administration by modifying policy coordination and departmental functions. (Georgi, 2008).

The process of public administration reform involves performance management, modification of the roles of the government, decentralizing planning, and greater involvement of the public in decision making. It can also be achieved through the use of a supportive organizational structure; adopting effectual information and financial administration systems; and the employment of proactive personnel. (Dubois, & Fattore, 2009).

The other public administrator interviewed was Pia Marconi; who is the director-general of the office for innovation in public administration. She has worked at numerous executive public administration posts; therefore yielded a great deal of experience in public administration and program management. The information and ideas collected from the forty minutes interview with her are discussed next. According to her, the process of government reform that started in the 1990s emphasizes the local and central government; healthcare, and educational institutions. In the 1990s the strategies developed included the efficiency and accountability of the government; empowerment and participation of citizens; and making the public service delivery better at the least possible costs. She proposes that these reforms can be achieved through decentralization of government operations; that can be achieved through the devolution of decision-making powers and the deployment of funds and personnel at the local levels of public administration. Reforms will also take the form of restructuring the central government that involves merging of the activities of institutions with similar missions, as well as the ejection of unimportant public functions. The state budget should also be reformed to replace incremental budgeting using the zero-base budgeting that has the view of increasing the initiative and accountability of managers. The complementation of financial accounting with cost accounting as a control system; has the major role of promoting the value of money in integral accounting and auditing functions of administration. These reforms are also to be put in place through the improvement of public service provision, through the privatization of some public sector activities especially those in the class of utilities and public enterprises. (Wilson, 1989).

The current nature of public administration is not in its best form in the current society, because of the deep-rooted problem of corruption that undermines the reliability of the public administration system. Other causes for the ineffective public administration system include; the non-separation of the political and managerial aspects of the government; the centralized nature of the system; lack of multidimensional accounting; lack of transparency and accountability to the citizens; and the lack of a system that cultivates performance improvement. (Georgi, 2008).

The challenges encountered in the field of public administration include the undermining effect of corruption on public service; the oligarchy in leadership that brings about lack of transparency and accountability; the combined nature of administration and politics; and the centralized nature of public administration which is partly born by the communist past. (Dubois, & Fattore, 2009).

From the study, the perspectives that can be developed from the information collected from these professionals include; the uprooting of corruption that greatly undermines the work of public administrators. This is the result because corruption touches all aspects of societal performance and therefore, there is the need for the creation of a multifaceted corruption agency that enforces the policies to do with corruption at the different levels of administration. Another perspective that can be applied in the administration to curb the current public service deficit; is the separation of management and politics that advocates that the political aspect should engage in policy formulation while the administrative role focuses on the enforcement of the policies formulated and augmented. The other perspective that can be devised from this study is that the only way forward is for the decentralization of the government functions that would encourage performance appraisal at the different levels of administration. However, this may demand a restructure in the central government; reforming the state budget practices and the implementation of a multidimensional accounting that will enable the system to become performance-oriented. (Shafritz, Russell & Borick, 2009)

The insights offered in the study regarding the improvement of public administration include the improvement of citizens’ performance; gender mainstreaming in administration; implementation of multidimensional accounting; separation of public administration from politics; simplification of administrative procedure and decentralization of the administrative functions of the government. Other insights that can be used to improve public administration include changing the political concepts adopted; and the formation of a multi-task law enforcement agency that will be helpful in the enforcement and detection of faults in public administration. The insights provided could help realize better public administration through cultivating performance orientation in public administration; improving the decision-making policies, and changing the techniques and concepts that affect the administration of public service. (Shafritz, Russell & Borick, 2009)

Some of the unique duties that public administrators are exposed to include the formation of a proactive public service system; that involves the use of positive enforcements like performance appraisal in helping promote the levels of service. Other unique duties in public administration include Gender mainstreaming, which seeks to level the provision of services across the different genders; involvement in environment protection; family and women affairs, and addressing the needs of the different vulnerable classes in the society that include the poor, elderly and disabled. These public administrators are involved in the empowerment of these marginalized groups; in the pursuit of creating an understanding of public service institutions in the promotion and support for change. (Wilson, 1989).

The lessons and additional information received from the study include the far-reaching impact of corruption on public administration that undermines the transparency, accountability, and enforcement of policies. The changes in political systems and assumptions due to the impacts of globalization, innovation, and increased movement are core in the administration of public service currently and in the future. The separation of the political and administrative aspects of society is core; in the administration of public service because otherwise, the political aspect influences the decision-making and choices made in the administration sector, therefore, undermining its reliability. Performance improvement, citizen involvement, and the adoption of leadership and management that is change-oriented are very important as it plays an important role in adjusting to the new challenges and opportunities. (Wilson, 1989).

My future professional career is supposed to lead to the practice of administration because from the study; it is evident that the field of public administration is very important in the execution of the state’s goals and objectives, which is core in the development of society as well as in improving the standards of individuals. The choice is also driven by the interest in improving the standards of living; involvement of the public in decision-making and development; and addressing the problems of the marginalized in society.


Public administration is the executive arm of the government’s goals and objectives in promoting the good of the public and the nation in general. However the work of public administration is greatly undermined by corruption; the combined nature of administration and politics; and the different political structures adopted. As a solution, the functions of the government need to be decentralized; administration should be transparent and accountable and performance realization should be cultivated. Citizen involvement can also form an important role in the future of public administration.


Diane, S. (2008). “Global Public Policy, Transnational Policy Communities and their Networks”. Journal of Policy Sciences, 45-52

Dubois, H. & Fattore, G. (2009). ”Definitions and typologies in public administration research: the case of decentralization”. International Journal of Public Administration, 32(8), 704-727.

Georgi, R. (2008). Capacity Building for European Integration (CBEI) Project, Final Report. 45-54

Shafritz, J., Russell, E. & Borick, C. (2009). Introducing public administration (6th Ed). New York: Pearson Longman.

Wilson, W. (1989) “The Study of Administration,” Political Science Quarterly, 2, 50-55

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