Encyclopaedia Britannica defines public administration as ‘the application of a policy of a state through its government.’
01.Definition of public adminstration
White observes that although public administration varies in form and objects, and although the administration of public and private affairs differs at many points, there is an underlying similarity, if no identity.
As an integral aspect of such generic concept, public administration could be related to that type of administration, which operates within a specific ecological setting. It is a means to carry out the policy decisions made by political executive.
To be seen along with it is the ‘Public’ aspect of Public administration, which attributes a special character and focus to it. ‘Public’ can be looked at formally to mean ‘government’. So, public administration is government administration, government in action, or a socio-economic and politico-administrative confluence, the focus being especially on public bureaucracy.
Encyclopaedia Britannica defines public administration as ‘the application of a policy of a state through its government.’. Public Administration, therefore, refers to that part of administration, which pertains to the administrative activities of the government.
Public administration is the non-political public bureaucracy operating in a political system; deals with the ends of the State, the sovereign will, the public interests and laws; is the business side of government and as such concerned with policy execution, but it is also concerned with policy-making; covers all three branches of government, although it tends to be concentrated in the executive branch; provides regulatory and service functions to the people in order to attain good life; differs significantly from private administration, especially in its emphasis on the public; and is interdisciplinary in nature as it draws upon other social sciences like political science, economics and sociology.
02.Definitions provided by various scholars
Public administration is the detailed and systematic application of law. Every particular application of law is an act of administration.
“Public administration consists of all those operations having for their purpose the fulfilment or enforcement of public policy”. As per White, this definition covers a multitude of particular operations in many fields the delivery of a letter, the sale of public land, the negotiation of a treaty, the award of compensation to an injured workman, the quarantine of a sick child, the removal of litter from a park, manufacturing uranium 235, and licensing the use of atomic energy.
It includes military as well as civil affairs, much of the work of courts, and all the special fields of government activity-police, education, health, construction of public works, conservation, social security, and many others.
The conduct of public affairs in advanced civilisations requires the employment of almost every profession and skill-engineering, law, medicine, and teaching; the crafts, the technical specialties, the office skills, and many others.
03.Percy Mc Queen
Public administration is related to the operations of government whether local or central.
Public administration is that part of the science of administration, which has to do with the government; it concerns itself primarily with the executive branch where the work of the government is done; though there are obviously problems also in connection with the legislative and judicial branches.
“Administration consists of getting the work of government done by coordinating the efforts of people so that they can work together to accomplish their set tasks”.
“When administration has to do with the affairs of a state or minor political institutions like the municipal or country council (district board), it is called public administration. All the acts of the officials of a government, from the peon in a remote office to the head of a state in the capital, constitute public administration.”
07.H.A. Simon, D.W. Smithburg and V.A. Thompson
“By Public Administration is meant, in common usage, the activities of the executive branches of national, state and local governments, government corporations and certain other agencies of a specialized character. Specifically excluded are judicial and legislative agencies within the government and non-governmental administration.” Corson and Harris “Public administration … is the action part of government, the means by which the purposes and goals of government are realised.”
“Public administration is the art and science of management as applied to the affairs of State.”
“Public Administration is concerned with ‘what’ and ‘how’ of the government. The ‘what’ is the subject matter, the technical knowledge of a field, which enables the administrator to perform his tasks. The ‘how’ is the technique of management, the principles according to which co-operative programmes are carried through to success. Each is indispensable, together they form the synthesis called administration”.
“Public Administration is a broad-ranging and amorphous combination of theory and practice; its purpose is to promote a superior understanding of government and its relationship with the society, it governs, as well as to encourage public policies more responsive to social needs and to institute managerial practices attuned to effectiveness, efficiency and the deeper human requisites of the citizenry”.
The traditional definitions of Public Administration, which are given above reflect the view that the Public Administration is only involved in carrying out the policies and programmes of the government. It reflect that it has no role in policy making and also locates the administration in the executive branch but today the term public administration is used in a broader sense that it is not only involved in carrying out the programmes of the government, but it also plays an important role in policy formulation and covers the three branches of the government.
In this context, we may reflect on the definition offered by F.A. Nigro and L.G. Nigro.According to them Public Administration: is co-operative group effort in a public setting;covers all three branches-executive, legislative, and judicial, and their inter-relationships; has an important role in the formulation of public policy and is thus a part of the political process; is different in significant ways from private administration; and is closely associated with numerous private groups and individuals in providing services to the community"