Public administration comprises establishments, which majorly engage in the management of activities that concern the government, that is, the implementation and judicial interpretation of laws and regulations, as well as the delivery of government programs to the public. Government programs are those programs that the government has the responsibility of offering to the public. These include legislative activities, public order and safety, health services amongst other general public services. Public administration is governed by public policies. Public policies can be defined as the sum of government activities, that act directly or directly or through agents, and that have an influence on the life of citizens (Stillman, 2009).
Development of public policies from theories
Theories can develop into public policies by incrementalism. This method works by adding very small policies to the theory (mostly unplanned) to provide incremental changes over time. Over time, the theory will change to a broad based policy (Afonso, Schuknecht & Tanzi, 2003). This process does not require extensive planning; the problems that arise in due process are dealt with at that time. For example, the state and the executive system have developed over time. Originally, a state was just a military institution. It was a territory ruled by king, court official and a group of warriors. However, this slowly changed with time and people gained political representations where one became a member of the state with a right of having a say in the process of policymaking.
Difference between public administration and private administration
The government administration puts in fewer measures of progress and development than the private administration sector (Losco & Joseph, 2010). Public administration can spend the same amount with the private administration but the two sectors cannot produce equivalent yields. This is because the private administrators adopt strong measures that are profit oriented. On the other hand, civil service provides compensation policies, which make it complex to promote good performance and discourage poor performance.
Private sector administrators worry about providing quality products and services to their clients to remain competitive in the public. This is quite different in the public sector. The administrators in the government entities often understand what is supposed to be done but some laws; policies and regulations restrict them from doing so when necessary. The government is very slow in taking actions than the private sector. They show little sense to matters that require urgency or time conscious (Losco & Joseph, 2010).
Most of the administrators in the public sector are political appointees who know that their job tenure is finite. They spend more of their time figuring out the next activity they will pursue in the private sector rather than working towards delivering services to the public (Losco & Joseph (2010). This form of distraction has negative implications on individual performance; this does not happen in the private sectors.
One gets little personal gain from the government for taking risks on policies or programs; and effectively becoming successful in achieving this goal. However, there is substantial public criticism and more personal loss one suffers from, in case the attempt fails.
Reasons why public administration is often referred to as difficult as and subject to less efficiency than private did administration
One common notion among many experts is that efficiency is very prevalent in the private sector, while the public sector is universally considered ineffective. This statement needs careful considerations so that it does not fall on the bracket of unfounded speeches because it is not entirely accurate. The private sector representatives are the one who show off their achievements by comparing the low-level achievement of the public sector. Furthermore, a problem arises when comparability of the sectors is looked into, and the effectiveness compared. This is because the objectives pursued by the private and the public sectors are not the same (Afonso, Schuknecht & Tanzi, 2003). The private sector aims at making profits while the public sector aims to; obtain economic benefits, social benefits and ensure the welfare of the public.
What bring administrative difference between public and private sector is as summarized below, according to (Afonso, Schuknecht & Tanzi, 2003)
Public administrators usually focus on serving the citizens, while private administrators work towards achieving maximum profit on investment.
The activities of public administration are directly or indirectly driven by politicians, and are essentially supposed to represent public interests. In the private sector, the managers of companies are answerable to the shareholders or to the board of directors whose objectives are profit maximization.
The decision-making process and implementation by state owned organizations are very rigid since strict protocols and chain of command are very long. Decision-making and implementation in the private sector is more flexible because a single leader can take a decision and implement it (Mandl, Dierx & Ilzkovitz, 2008).
Citizens are more often less informed and suspicious of the government in the public sector, while in private sectors, investors and shareholders are far much informed on the ongoing company activities and the market dynamics (Mandl, Dierx & Ilzkovitz, 2008).
Public administration is sometimes poorly funded by the government thus making the work of the administrators difficult in delivering services to the public. This is not the same in the private organizations, where finances are adequately provided in relation to productivity or if the decision on investment is feasible (Mandl, Dierx & Ilzkovitz, 2008).
Efficiency, effectiveness and performance of the public sector do not match that of the private sector because of the difference in the nature of goals they pursue, and resources available for each sector. However, policy makers need to look into the cost and rules, and make necessary changes in order to boost performance, and create efficient programs, which focus on future social and economic changes.
Losco & Joseph. (2010). American Government. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Richard Stillman J. (2009). Public Administration: Concepts and Cases. Cengage Learning. ISBN13: 9780618993017
Afonso A., Schuknecht L. & Tanzi V. (2003). “Public sector efficiency: an international Comparison.” European Central Bank.
Mandl U., Dierx A. & Ilzkovitz F., (2008). “The effectiveness and efficiency of public Spending”. European Commission, Directorate General for Economic and Financial Affairs.
Riggs, F. W. (1998). Public administration theory a futurist vision. International Journal of Public Administration, 23(12), 111-116.