Politics is a term that refers to the existence of authority and power, that enable the governing and influences the allocation of resources. It entails making a decision by a group of individuals in a collective way. It also plays a major role in policymaking. The administration is the state of putting authority into practice to achieve desired goals. The dichotomy is divided into two contrasting parts; therefore politics and administration dichotomy is the exclusive separation of political issues from administrative matters (Rabin and Bowman 28). In the politics and administration dichotomy model, Woodrow Wilson tries to show administrative issues should be separated from issues of politics. He further states that the roles of elected and appointed leaders should be isolated and separate.
Politics and administrative dichotomy is not practical and workable. It is very difficult to distinguish and separate politics from the administration because in most cases, the elected leaders have the authority and mandate to appoint, demote, promote and sack leaders in the administration. Due to this, the appointed leaders will always be under the jurisdiction and control of the elects. They would therefore conform to the political leaders. It is also difficult for them to work in isolation because politics is concerned with the allocation of resources, and the administrative uses the allocated resource to implement and carry out government projects and plans. The appointed leaders are then questionable and accountable to elected leaders.
Politics and administration cannot also be distinguished and separated because there is a close relationship between their roles. For instance, elected leaders will make laws in which the administrative play their daily activities within. They also make policies, which affect the operation of administration in a positive or negative manner. The administrative also gives advice to elected leaders before some policies are made and implemented. The professionalism in the administration may give advice on issues like taxation policies, security, and investment and so on. Of course, elected leaders make policies for the country but mostly they get advice from the administration.
The advantage of this dichotomy is that it prevents public administration from interference by elected leaders and party organizations. When public administration experiences no interference from politicians, there is the enhancement of its operation because they can make wise professional decisions rather than following directives from elected leaders, which might be even inappropriate in solving or achieving the desired goals in the area of operation (Rabin and Bowman 32). For instance, elected leaders will try to manipulate the running of the administrative system, especially when the election period is around the corner so as to advance politically.
The dichotomy also provides public administration with job security, because it separates mandates of elected leaders from those appointed, thus make politicians operate within a given jurisdiction and prevent unnecessarily sackings or demotions by the political class. In most cases, the political class will punish the public administration in situations where they do not conform to their directives, which often pertains there political aspirations. This has been seen in the present days where elected even promote public officials on unconstitutional and unprofessional grounds. For example in Zimbabwe (a country in Africa), the president is known to appoint his close family members to higher offices.
It also helps to prevent corruption; the dichotomy prevents situations that would lead to collusion of public and politicians to squander public resources. Cases of politicians manipulating and giving certain instructions to those they appointed to allocate resources to non-existence projects have been witnessed in many countries all over the world, or either unequal allocation and favorism to the advantage of close allies, at the expense of economic development.
The disadvantage of the dichotomy in present days is that it gives more powers to the appointed leaders in comparison to the elected leaders, yet the public administrators are not accountable to the public because they did not elect them but the politicians. This leads to decline in political will because the politicians fill undermined, which leads to a decline in reforms especially in developing countries (Al-Buraey 16).
The dichotomy can also lead to delay in implementation of policies and government projects. This is because there will contrasting ideas from politicians and those from administrators. For instance, we might find the political class has plans to reduce taxation, especially during election period whereas administrative is not of the opinion, and because the two are separated none of them will follow directives from the other.
- Al-Buraey, Muhammad. Administrative Development: An Islamic perspective. New York: Routledge, 1985. Print.
- Rabin, Jack and Bowman, James. Politics and Administration: Woodrow Wilson and American public administration, Volume 22. Dekker, 1984. Print.