According to several scholars and theorists, Public Administration originated in the progressive era as the reform of government and society. During the 19th century, the system of the United States’ dual federalism was based on the American states (Johnson, 2003). However, states; principles of rights and sovereignty led to highly negative and even bloody consequences. Thus, at the beginning of the 20th century, the political reformers of the progressive era attacked the states, regarding them as “bastions of corruption, partisanship, and inefficiency” (Johnson, 2003, p. 144). Founding a new discipline of public administration, they aimed to create an image of the bringers of rationality, truth, and order, while state and city governance was perceived as a threat to social and political order. Thus, Public Administration in the political universe of the United States presupposed the absence of states’ political power, governmental administration, and the implementation of political principles on the basis of neutrality, efficiency, rationality, and science.
In the present day, the initial principles of public administration are challenged. For instance, the principle of neutrality contradicts the cores of democracy that state that the government and social institutions should develop different policies in response to different issues. In addition, the initial principles presuppose the existence of only one efficient and neutral solution to any public issue – however, the existence of multiple frameworks is currently acknowledged. Finally, nowadays, Public administration deviates from its roots due to the introduction of new public management based on the principles of minimum government, transparency, flexibility, decentralization, de-bureaucratization, and privatization. In other words, instead of centralized governmental administration with neutral approaches and solutions, modern Public Administration embraces the reduction of governmental control, the importance of public sectors’ responsibilities, and individual approach to any policy problem.
In relation to Political Science that may be regarded as a field of study focused on the evaluation of the government’s theory and practice at the national, state, and local levels, Public Administration has fundamental differences on the basis of its scope. Thus, Public Administration may be defined as a subfield of Political Science’s broader field. As a comprehensive study of politics and all its aspects, Political Science focuses on the analysis of the impact of political events and figures on societal outcomes. In turn, Public Administration is responsible for the implementation of processes for producing these outcomes and focuses on shaping society through direct intervention.
Therefore, there is a need for trained and educated Public Administrators as they play a highly essential role in the public sector and ensure that regulations, laws, civil rights, safety and health codes, and municipal budgets are enforced for the protection of the community. Public Administrators collect and analyze both quantitative and qualitative data, including budget reports, public records, historical data, and surveys, for the improvement of existing programs. Subsequently, they research and plan the most efficient policies and programs within budgets and on the basis of governmental and administrative legislation for their recommendation and implementation. Finally, they monitor the application of policies and communicate their effectiveness with constituents, stakeholder groups, and other employees. At the same time, training of Public administrators helps them face multiple challenges and issues within this field. They include the broadness of the populations, the perception of governmental corruption, the impact of new technologies on communications, implicit bias and discrimination, and a lack of citizen participation.
Johnson, K. S. (2003). Modernity, public administration, and the disappearance of the American states: A necessary development? Administration & Society, 35(2), 144-159.