Evolution of Public Administration

Public Administration as a discipline is not very old and it is only a hundred years. During these years Public Administration has passed through several phases of development. We can broadly divide the history of Public Administration into the following five periods:-
Period I 1887 – 1926
Period II 1927 - 1937
Period III 1938 - 1947
Period IV 1948 - 1970
Period V 1971 – continuing

Period I (1887 – 1926) Public Administration Dichotomy :
The discipline of Public Administration was born in the USA. The credit for initiating as an academic study of Public Administration goes to Woodrow Wilson, who was teaching Political Science at Princeton University and who later became the President of USA. He is regarded as the father of the discipline of Public Administration. In his article entitled “The Study of Administration”, published in 1887, he emphasized the need for studying Public Administration as a discipline apart from politics. This is known as Principle of politic administration dichotomy, i.e., a separation of Politics and Administration. Wilson argued that, “Administration lies outside the proper sphere of politics. The administrative questions are not political questions”. The field of politics is not the field of business, it is removed from ……. & strife of politics.
According to Frank J.Goodnow, politics “has to do with the expression of the state will” while administration “has to do with the execution of these policies.” In short, Goodnow posited the politics-administration dichotomy and he developed the Wilsonian theme further and greater courage and conviction.

Period II (1927 - 1937) Principles of Administration :
The central belief of this period was that there are certain ‘principles’ of administration and which is the task of the scholars to discover and applied to increase the efficiency and economy of Public Administration. Scientific management handled the business of administration becomes a slogan. Administrative practitioners and business school join hands to mechanistic aspect of management. They claim that Public Administration is a science. The great depression in the America contributed a lot to the development. These periods were the golden years of ‘principles’ in the history of Public Administration. This was also a period when Public Administration commanded a high degree or respectability and its product were in great demand both in government and business.

Period III (1938 – 1947) Era of Challenge :
The main theme during this period was the advocacy of ‘Human Relationship Behavioral Approach’ to the study of Public Administration. The idea of administrative dichotomy was rejected. It was argued that Administration cannot be separated from politics because its political nature and role, Administration is not only concern with policy decision but it deals with the policy formulation. Similarly, the principle of Administration was challenge. It was considered as a proverb and naturalistic facilities they criticized due to it’s depend on formal structure of organization.

Period IV (1948 - 1970) Public Administration As Management:
· Partly because of their second-class citizenship status in a number of Political Science Department of universities, some public administrationists began searching for an alternative.
· the management option —which sometimes is called "administrative science" or "generic management“— was a viable alternative for a significant number of scholars in public administration.
· Management is a field that covers organization theory and behavior, planning, decision making, various techniques of "management science" such as path analysis and queuing theory, human resources management, leadership, motivation, communication, management information systems, budgeting, auditing, productivity, and marketing.
· Management thinking many stemming from the business schools fostered the alternative paradigm of management.
· Scientific management and principles gave way to administrative management science.
· Foremost among these voices was that of Catheryn Seckler-Hudson (basic concepts in the study of public management, 1955).
· She recognized the policy and political implications within the setting of public administration but gave primary weight to the problems of Public Management.
· She argued that management is the Effective utilization of human resources and material to reach the known goal.
· Such other works as James G. March and Herbert Simon’s organization (1858), Richard Cyert and March’s a behavioral theory of the firm (1963), March’s handbook of organization (1965), andJames d. Thompson’s organization in action (1967) gave solid theoretical reasons for choosing management, with an emphasis on organization theory as the paradigm of Public administration.

Organizational development
· In the early 1960s organization development began its rapid rise as a specialty of management. As a focus, organization development represented a particularly tempting alternative to political science for many public Administrationists.
· Organization development as a field is grounded in social psychology and values the "democratization" of bureaucracies, whether public or private, and the "self-actualization" of individual members of organizations. Because of these values, organization development was seen by many younger public Administrationists as offering a very compatible area of research with-in the framework of management.
· Democratic values could be considered, normative concerns could be broached, and intellectual rigor and scientific methodologies could be employed.

Period V(1971 - Continuing :Public administration as publicAdministration: 1971-?
· In 1970, the national association of schools Of public affairs and administration (NASPAA)\ Was founded.
· The formation of NASPAA represented not Only an act of secession by public Administrationists from political science or Management science, but a rise of selfconfidence As well.
· Progress, particularly in the area of Organization theory and information\ Science, has been made in this direction. Additionally, considerable progress has been made in refining the applied techniques And methodologies of public administration.

The New Public Administration
· An important development was that of the "new public administration." in 1968, Dwight Waldo, sponsored a conference of Young public administrationists on the New public administration.
· The proceedings were published as a book In 1971, titled toward a new public Administration: the Minnowbrook Perspective. The focus was disinclined to examine such Traditional phenomena as efficiency, Effectiveness, budgeting, and administrative Techniques. Conversely, the new public Administration was very much aware of Normative theory, philosophy, and activism.
· The questions it raised dealt with values, Ethics, the development of the individual Member in the organization, the relation of the Client with the bureaucracy, and the broad Problems of urbanism, technology, and Violence.
· The overriding tone of the new public Administration was a moral tone.
· the new public administration can be Viewed as a call for independence from Both political science (it was not, after All, ever called the new politics of Bureaucracy) and management (since Man-agement always had been emphatically Technical rather than normative in Approach).
· And it developed with strong geographic Communities –tightly knit neighborhoods and Towns.
· today’s environment demands institutions that Are extremely flexible and adaptable
· it demands institutions that deliver high Quality goods and services,
· It demands institutions that are responsive to Their customers, offering choices of Non standardized services; that lead by Persuasion and incentives rather than Commands; that give their employees a sense of Meaning and control, even ownership.
· It demands institutions that empower citizens them Rather than simply serving them.
· Most government institutions Perform increasingly complex tasks, in competitive, rapidly changing Environments, with customers who Want quality and choice.
· David Osborne and Ted Gabler in reinventing government (1992) introduced the concept ofEntrepreneurial government.
1. Catalytic government: Steering rather than rowing.
2. Community owned government: Empowering rather than serving.
3. Competitive government: Injecting competition into service delivery.
4. Mission-driven government: Transforming rule-driven organization.
5. Results-oriented government: Funding outcomes, no inputs.
6. Customer-driven government: Meeting the needs of the customer, not the bureaucracy.
7. Enterprising government: Eraning rather than spending.
8. Anticipatory government: Prevention rather than cure.
9. Decentralized government: From hierarchy to participation and Teamwork.
10. Market-oriented government: Leveraging change through the market.

The New Public Management (NPM)
· in the early 1990's, a new managerial Approach to public administration began to Take hold. Like the traditional managerial Approach at its inception, the new approach Is reform-oriented and seeks to improve Public sector performance
· It starts from the premise that traditional, bureaucratically organized public Administration is "broke" and "broken“, and Consequently the public has lost faith in Government.
· In the U.S. NPM approach was adopted by Vice president al gore's national Performance review (NPR). Its 1993 Report, from red tape to results: Creating a government that worksBetter costs less, explicitly sought a New customer service contract with The people, a new guarantee of effective, efficient and responsive government.
· It called for among others: putting Customers first, making service Organizations compete, creating Market dynamics, using market Mechanisms to solve problems, Empowering employees to get results, Decentralization decision making Power, streamlining the budget Process, decentralization personnel Policy, and streamlining procurement.
· Today, the NPM is becoming the Dominant managerial approach. Its key concept-somewhat evolutionary A decade ago- are now the standard Language of public administration. Terms such as "results oriented", "customers focused", "employee empowerment", "entrepreneurship", and "outsourcing", have dominated the Mainstream.
Overall, public administrative Culture is changing to be more flexible, innovative, problem solving, Entrepreneurial, and enterprising as Opposed to rule-bound, process oriented, and focused on inputs Rather than results.


Bose said...

I am grateful to you and expect more number of posts like these. Thank you very much.
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Ivan Meyer said...

Thank you very much, I found this post extremely helful in my pursuit of acquiring my Public Administration Honours Degree.

Anjali Godayal said...

could you just clear my confusion is only about India evolution as I require the answer specificaly on evolution of Indian public administration

Suadxasan Xasan said...

what was the best evolution of public adminsitration

Kwctas said...


Wizz Wizzlo said...

think wilson woodrow was good when he wanted people to knw admin

Abhishek Pandey said...

This was so helpful

unknown said...

I don't see this helpful because I'm looking for the evolution of public administration in Nigeria

Mlondolozi Hulushe said...


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