Friday, December 19, 2014

Tracing the development of Public Administration as a field of study

Ques.14. How would you trace the development of Public Administration in terms of different paradigms from the politics administration dichotomy of 1900-1926 to the rise of Public Administration as Public Administration after the formation of the National Association of schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA) in the USA in 1970 ?

Ans. Public Administration evolution as an independent discipline started with the publication of Wilson’s essay. The study of Administration in the political science quarterly in 1887. From 1887 to 1926 was the first stage of evolution of PA in which the doctrine of Politics Administration dichotomy was put forward. Its aim was to separate the domain of policy formulators and policy implementers. Wilson also gave the concept of “Science of Administration” during this period.

The second stage of Public Administration was from 1927-37 in which proper research in this discipline was carried out and many popular theories were propounded. Some of them are –

Creative Experience (M.P. Follett) 1924
Gulick and Urwick (Papers on the Science of Administration) 1937 
Henri Fayol (Industrial and General Management) 1916
Mooney and Reiley’s (Principles of Organization) 1939

It was being said that the Public aspect of Public Administration was dropped in this second stage and now full focus was on the efficiency aspect.

The third stage of evolution of P.A. was from 1938 to 1947. This stage put forward a massive challenge to the developing discipline of P.A. First the concept of Politics Administration dichotomy was rejected saying that it is not possible to totally separate politics and administration. Second various theories put forward in the second stage like Scientific Management Theory of Taylor, Ideal type bureaucracy of Max Weber, Administrative Management theory were all criticized and challenged on the basis that they were not universally applicable and lacked scientific validity. Adding to this Human relations theory and Behavioural approach theory were propounded in this period which posed further challenge to the preceding theories of second stage. Robert Dahl criticized the views of second stage scholars who viewed Public Administration as a Science. Dahl said Public Administration can not be termed as Science in its present form as it lacked many vital elements which are required to declare it as a Science.

In the fourth stage of Public Administration which lasted from 1948-70 the voices against the discipline of Public Administration intensified and it seemed as if Public Administration as a unique subject was losing its identity. In this period of doubt, scholars of Public Administration left the discipline. Some of them moved to the field of political science whereas some others started studying administrative science. Due to this movement of scholars to other streams of study, P.A. lost its distinct identity further.

The first Minnowbrook Conference was organized in 1968 to bring about radical changes in administration pattern in the US and the outcome of this conference was New Public Administration. It was in the aftermath of this conference that the fifth stage of evolution of Public Administration came into being. It was multi disciplinary in approach and main focus during this period was on public policy. Many reforms were made in this period and scholars started analyzing the related fields of policy science, political economy, policy making, policy analysis etc to enrich the discipline of Public Administration. Concept of value, equity, change and relevance were propounded during the fifth stage of evolution.

Then came the sixth stage of evolution of Public Administration with the advent of concept of New Public Management from 1991-2000. It focused attention on economy, efficiency and effectiveness. It also endorsed the idea of Liberalization, Privatization and Globalization.

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