September 30, 2011


Presented by J. B. Nangpuhan II (MPA Student) to Dr. C. G. Song, professor of Public Administration at Chonnam National University, South Korea under 'introduction to public administration'. Date presented: 29Sept2010.

Key Terms:
1. paradigm
2. locus
3. focus

Five paradigms of public administration[1] will be discussed in this chapter to indicate that public administration is a new unique synthesizing field. This is because many conceived that public administration as a discipline is an amalgam of organization theory, management science, and the concept of public interest. It is now time to establish itself as an institutionally autonomous enterprise in colleges and universities in order to retain its social relevance and worth. Some new words in this chapter are: a. baroquism – a reexamination by public administrationists of where the field has been and where it is going appears worthwhile; and b. paradigm – a term that conveys the concept of a field’s self-identity and the changing dynamics of that identity.

1. Sketch the development of the field by describing four broad paradigms of American public administration;
2. Speculate on what the emerging paradigm of public administration may turn out to be; and
3. Attempt to justify why it is mandatory that public administration “come to its own” as an identifiable, unique, and institutionally independent field of instruction, research, and practice.

Public Administration’s Eighty Years in a Quandary
Public administration’s development as an academic field may be conceived as a succession of four overlapping paradigms. As Robert T. Golembiewski noted, each phase may be characterized according to whether it has “locus (where)” or “focus (what).” A recurring locus of public administration is the government bureaucracy but often this traditional locus has been blurred. One focus of public administration has been the study of certain “principles of administration” but again this has been altered with the changing paradigms of the field. He observes that when locus has been relatively sharply defined, the other has been relatively ignored in academic circles and vice-versa. Below are loci and foci of reviewing the intellectual development of public administration.

PARADIGM 1: THE POLITICS/ADMINISTRATION DICHOTOMY, 1900-1926 - The concentration of study during this period was on locus, where public administration should be.
A. Frank J. Goodnow (1859-1939) – in his published book on Politics and Administration(1900), he identified two distinct functions of government:
1. Politics – has to do with policies or expressions of the state will.
2. Administration – has to do with the execution of these policies.
Goodnow and his fellow administrationists view public administration to center in the government bureaucracy. During the “public service movement” taking place in American universities in the early part of the century, public administration received its first serious attention from scholars.
In 1914, the Committee on Instruction in Government of the American Political Science Association issued a statement that political science was concerned with training for citizenship, professional preparations such as law, and training “experts and to prepare specialists for governmental positions.”

B. Leonard D. White (1891-1958) – he published in 1926 the first textbook devoted in toto to the field of public administration, Introduction to the Study of Public Administration. The book is considered by Waldo as quintessentially American progressive in character.
1. Politics should not intrude on administration;
2. Management lends itself to scientific study;
3. Public administration is capable of becoming a “value-free” science in its own right;
4. The mission of administration is economy and efficiency.

In this paradigm, the notion was to strengthen a distinct politics/administration dichotomy by relating it to value/fact dichotomy. Everything that public administrationists scrutinized in the executive branch was imbued with the colorings and legitimacy of being somehow “factual” and “scientific”, while the study of policy making and related matters was left to the political scientists. In political science departments, it is the public administrationists who teach organization theory, budgeting, and personnel while political scientists teach virtually everything else.

PARADIGM 2: THE PRINCIPLES OF ADMINISTRATION, 1927-1937 – the concentration of study during this period was on focus – essential expertise in the form of administrative principles.
1. 927 - F. W. Willoughby published his book, Principles of Public Administration, the second fully fledged text in the field depicting certain scientific principles of administration.
2. 1930s and early 1940s – Public administrationists were in demand for their managerial knowledge, courted by industry and government alike. ‘Principles were principles, and administration was administration.’
3. 1937 – Luther H. Gullick and Lyndall Urwick’s papers on the Science of Administration called the “high noon of orthodoxy” pointed out the importance of principles to favor ‘focus’

THE CHALLENGE, 1938-1950
1. Politics and administration could never be separated in any remotely sensible fashion.
2. The principles of administration were logically inconsistent.
3. Questioned the assumption that politics and administration could be dichotomized. This is supported by “A theory of public administration means in our time a theory of politics also.”
4. There could be no such thing as a “principle” of administration.

The first and second challenges were revealed in the books of Chester I. Barnard’s The Functions of the Executive and Herbert A. Simon’s Administrative Behavior in 1938. The third challenge was revealed by Fritz Morstein Marx’s Elements of Public Administration in 1946 and John Merriman Gaus’s Trends in the Theory of Public Administration” in 1950. The fourth challenge was revealed in the books of Robert A Dahl, Simon, Waldo, and others. Simon’s Administrative Behavior pointed out that for every “principle” of administration there was a counter-principle therefore it is questionable.

Positive (on the part of public administration)
Alternative suggestions from Simon’s “A comment on ‘The Science of Public Administration’” as reinforcing components for public administrationists:
1. “Pure science of public administration” – a thorough grounding in social psychology
2. “Prescribing for public policy” – resurrecting the unstylish field of political economy

However, public administrationists didn’t want to be ban from the richest sources of inquiry which is the normative political theory, the concept of the public interest and the entire spectrum of human values.
Public administration considered the formulation of public policies within public bureaucracies and their delivery to the polity.

Negative (on the part of political science)
Political scientists resisted the growing independence of public administrationists. Lynton K. Caldwell called for “intellectualized understanding” of the executive branch rather than “knowledgeable action” on the part of public administrators.
The drawing card for student enrollments and government grants favoring public administration affected the field of political science.
The formation of the National Science Foundation in 1950 brought the message to all that the chief federal science agency considered political science to be distinctly junior member of the social sciences based on increasing evidence that political science was held in low esteem by scholars in other fields.

 1950s – Establishing linkages between public administration and political science. Public administration is an “emphasis”, an “area of interest”, a “synonym” of political science.
 1962 – Public administration was not included as a subfield of political science in the report of the Committee on Political Science as a Discipline of the American Political Science Association.
 1964 – A survey of political scientists indicated that the Public Administration Review was slipping in prestige among political scientists relative to other journals and signaled a decline of faculty in public administration.
 1967 – Public administration disappeared as an organizing category in the program of the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association.
 1972 – A survey indicated that only four percent of all the articles published between 1960 and 1970 could be included in the category of “bureaucratic politics”, the only category of the 15 possible that related directly to public administration.

 1956 – An important journal, Administrative Science Quarterly was founded by an administrationist on the premise that public, business, and institutional administration were false distinctions. Thus, administration is administration.
 1960s – Organization theory should be the overarching focus of public administration according to Keith M. Henderson and others. “Organization development” began its rapid rise as a specialty in administrative science due to its involvement in social psychology, opening up of organizations, and self-actualization of the members.
 A conflict arises between the public administration and private administration as triggered by administrative science. However, after years of painful dilemma, it was conceived that the concept of determining and implementing the public interest constitutes a definition of public administration.

 The term “public affairs” became popularized.
 Public administrationists have been increasingly concerned on areas of policy science, political economy, public policy-making process and its analysis, measurement of policy outputs.

 Public administration is, at last, intellectually prepared for the building of an institutionally autonomous educational curriculum. This is because of the presence of a paradigmatic focus of organization theory and management science and also a paradigmatic locus of the public interest as it relates to public affairs.
 1971-1973
1. 1970-1971 – Undergraduate enrollments in public administration increased by 36 percent.
2. 1971-1972 – Graduate enrollments went up 50 percent based on figures provided by NASPAA (National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration)
3. Graduate public administration programs that were part of political science departments sank from 48% to 36% during these periods.
4. Those programs connected with business schools (13%) appeared to be declining.
5. The percentage of separate schools of public administration more than doubled from 12% in 1971 to 25% in 1972.
6. Separate departments of public administration accounted for 23% of the 101 graduate programs surveyed in 1971-73.
7. In an 18-month period between 1970 and 1972, the number of units pertaining public administration more than doubled to approximately 300.
 It is time for public administration to come into its own as substantial progress has been in this direction intellectually. However, it remains to be done.

[1] Korean Association for Public Administration (1980). Selected Readings in Public Administration. South Korea: Da San Publishing Company. 49-65


Ashikur Rahman said...

A very good synopsis of the issue. Found it useful...

Vee-Lamark Gean said...

Still baffled over what Locus and Focus are. Understood the rest.....

Vee-Lamark Gean said...

Still baffled over what Locus and Focus are. Understood the rest.....

Vee-Lamark Gean said...

Still baffled over what Locus and Focus are. Understood the rest.....

Surbhi Dahiya said...

@ vee
locus is the "place" in layman language i.e where the public administrators r supposed to be placed.
and focus is the theory building of PA.