Saturday, July 14, 2012


There has been a lot of anxiousness for the next blog. I wish all the people keeping up with my blog, success in all their endeavours.


Click on ' JOIN THIS SITE ' to get instant updates on new posts on this blog. And also for 'INTERACTIONS AND DISCUSSIONS' regarding this blog's posts 'JOIN ITS FACEBOOK COMMUNITY/GROUP' that is mentioned on the right hand side of this page.

Enjoy the read and to remain updated via email alerts for new posts here so that you dont have to check the whole link everytime,kindly click Subscribe by email at the bottom of this blog and let google alert you.


So as mentioned in the previous blog,this blog is to cover the topics : Wilson's view of public administration,New Public Administration,Public Choice Approach,Good Governance and New Public Management.


Here it begins.



Wilson's complete essay :


Wilson is regarded as the founder/father of public administration courtesy his special attention to the art of public administration in his seminal essay mentioned above.


In the U.S during the last two decades of the nineteenth century there was a movement started that was a response to increasing Urbanization, immigration, the seeming loss of traditional values, inefficiency,Corruption, etc. The spoils system in administration was given the patronage of president jackson and thus loyal supporters of the victorious party were given plum administrative posts whether they merited it or not.


Woodrow Wilson was influenced by this movement and thus published his essay that insisted on major reforms in the govt. and administration to make it efficient and also this gave birth to the thought of public administration holding enough substance in itself to be a seperate study/discipline independent of Political Science which was popularly referred to as ' politics - administration dichotomy'.


He defined public administration as the detailed and systematic application of law. He believed that politics is about policy formulation and public administration is concerned with the execution of the same. And if both are mixed up then it will only lead to confusion,overlapping,inefficiency and not a stable administration.


He stated that public administration was businesslike and mechanistic and not laced with the ups and downs of politics. He asserted that politics did not have answers to most of the questions of administration and thus is to be out of the sphere of administration and vice versa


According to him administration is to be technically competent and politically neutral for a democracy.


Politicians were elected by people whereas civil servants were trained for the job and were technically sound to carry out the job in the best possible way.


Thus for Wilson, it is said, the Study of public administration, derived from the Study of politics, was to be distinguished from it, but never divorced from its “maxims” and “truths”. To Wilson, public administration was much more than technical detail and it was to be conducted in a political context .Thus he treated “politics and public administration as two sides of a coin”.




NPA through the Minnowbrook Conferences was the response to the world wars and social upheaval in the 20th century and how traditional public administration was not equipped to respond to this and the societal needs.


It put a lot of emphasis on having values in public administration instead of just bothered about production and profit all the time and make policies for the underprivileged and society.


It was a humanist approach to traditional public administration being practiced at that time.

Its themes were:

  1. Relevance: Traditional public administration has too little interest in contemporary problems and issues. Social realities must be taken into consideration.

  2. Values: Value-neutrality in public administration is an impossibility. The values being served through administrative action must be transparent.

  3. Social Equity: Realization of social equity should be a chief goal of public administration.

  4. Change: Skepticism toward the deeply-rooted powers invested in permanent institutions and the status quo.

  5. Client Focus: Positive, proactive, and responsive administrators rather than inaccessible and authoritarian "ivory tower" bureaucrats.

Since it was very prescriptive(instructive) and not descriptive ( detailed and practical) as in very preachy without any means to practically implement them, it could not prevail for long or have a bang on impact as scholars were unsure and confused because of the abovementioned.

It was criticised that though it brought public administration closer to political science, it was criticized as anti-theoretic (not having any theory and not following any pre existing theory) and anti-management(not businesslike). Robert T. Golembiewski describes it as radicalism in words and status quo in skills and technologies.  Golembiewski considers it as a temporary and transitional phenomena. Further, it must be counted as only a cruel reminder of the gap in the field between aspiration and performance. So, NPA is important for the change in thought it brought about viz. the practice of traditional public administration.



Public choice approach is the use of modern economics tools to study problems that traditionally are in the province of political science. Please note that 'public' here refers to the administrators and the choices they make while implementing and formulating policies. From the perspective of political science, it is the subset of positive political theory that models voters, politicians, and bureaucrats as mainly self-interested. In particular, it studies such agents and their interactions in the social system either as such or under alternative constitutional rules and on what basis do they take decisions while implementing policies and also formulating policies.. These can be represented in a number of ways, including standard constrained utility maximization, game theory, or decision theory. Public choice analysis has roots in positive analysis ("what is") but is often used for normativepurposes ("what ought to be"), to identify a problem or suggest how a system could be improved by changes in constitutional rules, the subject of constitutional economics.

Public choice theory is intimately related to social choice theory, which uses mathematical tools to study voting and voters. Much early work had aspects of both, and both use the tools of economics and game theory. Since voter behavior influences the behavior of public officials, public choice theory often uses results from social choice theory.




 Governance describes "the process of decision-making and the process by which decisions are implemented (or not implemented)".The term governance can apply to corporate, international, national, local governance or to the interactions between other sectors of society.


It looks to reform governance through a variety of ways like comparitive studies and democratisation and decentralisation,transparency,etc. All international organisations like the UN, IMF & World Bank have put their weight behind this movement.


The criticism it has invited is that these very same international organisations who are behind it should not arm twist governments in all countries especially underdeveloped and developing ones into following their ways of functioning because their is a sea of difference.




It advocates the incorporation of more management practices into public administration to reform it and make it more efficient.


It proposes reforms such as incentives for administrators,deadlines and contracts outsourced and more public-pvt partnership.


However,the criticism it has drawn is that this needs to be implemented with caution especially in countries like India where administrators are still not evolved and will become all the more selfish and would only be bothered about profiteering.


Click on ' JOIN THIS SITE ' to get instant updates on new posts on this blog. And also for 'INTERACTIONS AND DISCUSSIONS' regarding this blog's posts 'JOIN ITS FACEBOOK COMMUNITY/GROUP' that is mentioned on the right hand side of this page.



The next blog will cover in detail : Scientific management and movement,Classical theory,Max Weber and his ideal bureaucracy theory and its critique as well as post weberian developments,Dynamic Administration of Mary parker Follet, Human relations theory,Barnard's theory,Herbert Simon's theory and Rensis,Likert Argyris and Mcgregor's theories.







  1. Please explain Blacksburg Manifesto(BM) in relation to Minnowbrook Conference and the following statements
    1. The BM thus releases public administration from the stifling hold of behaviourlism and positivism
    2.The BM is an example of high modernism. It goes beyond the functionalist paradigm and presents a post-modern perspective.

  2. @BabjiIITR: The Blacksburg Manifesto is context specific discussing the competency and legitimacy of the American Public Administration which is grounded in the USA Constitution and which cannot & should not be done away with at all. The Administration/Bureaucracy during the Carter and Reagen was bashed publicly by their own governments and termed irrelevant by the politicians and the public alike,close on the heels and findings of the Minnowbrook Conference and the Management theories gaining momentum.
    The Blacksburg Manifesto redefines the legitimate role of the Public Administrator and creates a normative theory of the development of American Public Administration and this Manifesto was in response to the bureaucrat bashing that was going on as well as to provide the present and future development of the administration. It plants adminstration into the normative concepts of governance and constitutionalism and argues that such a regrounding is apt to discover the legitimate role of the public administrator in matters of governance. It thus releases the Public Administration from the stranglehold and stifling hold of behaviourilism(Herbert Simon approach/behaviour of administrator) and positivism (a theory that theology and metaphysics are earlier imperfect modes of knowledge and that positive knowledge is based on natural phenomena and their properties and relations as verified by the empirical sciences ) and might be termed as " structuralism,institutionalism or neo-institutionalism". It contrasts with the Public Choice Theory and emphasises upon conceptualising public adminsitration as "governance" rather than management or administration in the public sector, in this perspective the institutions of public administration are looked as instruments/agencies of action in pursuit of public interest.
    The Minnowbrook Conference overlooked the institutional and structural base of public adminsitration and focussed only on the new path that Traditional Public Administration should now tread upon in these changed socio-economic conditions which the Blacksburg Manifesto filled up and visualises administration as a part of policy process engaged in search of public interest. The Manifesto is an example of high modernism and goes beyond the functionalist (focussing only on how to function properly & techniques) paradigm and presents a post modern (agency) perspective.
    The Blacksburg Manifesto referred to “debilitatingly irrelevant intellectual baggage” inherited from the field’s founders – “(borrowing) heavily from private-sector management techniques” rather than developing “its own theories, concepts, norms, or techniques.” The “own theories” sought mostly involved justifying wide participation by officials in policymaking: “The popular will does not reside solely in elected officials but in a constitutional order that envisions a remarkable variety of legitimate titles to participate in governance. The Public Administration, created by statutes based on this constitutional order, holds one of these titles. Its role, therefore, is not to cower before a sovereign legislative assembly or a sovereign elected executive [but rather] to share in governing wisely and well the constitutional order”.
    Both empirical and normative inquiries regarding administrators’ role in policymaking, and the public’s role in administration, are legitimate, and there is no reason to criticize the field’s initial postwar engagement, especially given the oversimplified view the founders had articulated.

  3. Hi,

    Can you explain the meaning of this line
    The public choice theory suggests that both the goals and the motives of the private sector are identical goals like equality and distributive justice, which do not have any parallel “in the market-led private sector”

    Ref: Mohit Bhattarcharya, New Horizons of Pub Ad; Chap: Administrative Processes: Decision making; Topic: Approaches to decision-making

    1. It is advised that you may go through a previous post on this Blog which details the Public Choice Theory in totality in order to get a completely clear picture pertaining to your query. However, to sum up your query: Mohit Bhattacharya analyses in this particular work/book of his that Public Choice Theory somehow displays the rosy picture that the reason of being as well as functioning of the private market led sector is exactly the same as that of the Public Sector which is of giving everybody in the society equally, without partisanship and equal distribution for the development of society. Therefore, people need not think twice before choosing a private company's goods and in turn completely wiping out the Public Sector from that business. However, this is not the reality as one is very well aware that the market led private sector's only reason of existence and its goals and motives are only profit for themselves and nobody else. In the long run this will only lead to further adverse conditions such as extreme poverty and the rich becoming richer and poor becoming poorer.

  4. Like other comments THIS POST IS ONE OF THEE BEST I HAVE CAME ACROSS! Its all i ever learnt in Public Admin on one page! No need for me to go back home to pick up my text book! AWESOME!! :D