Public Administration Discussion
Public Administration Discussion
Are there limits to what public administration can be?
Public administration is the implementation of government policy and also an academic discipline that studies this implementation and prepares civil employees for working in the public service. As a “field of inquiry with a diverse scope” whose fundamental goal is to “advance management and policies so that government can function.” Some of the various definitions which have been offered for the term are: “the management of public programs”; the “translation of politics into the reality that citizens see every day”; and “the study of government decision making, the analysis of the policies themselves, the various inputs that have produced them, and the inputs necessary to produce alternative policies.” The word public administration is the combination of two words—public and administration. In every sphere of social, economic and political life there is administration which means that for the proper functioning of the organization or institution it must be properly ruled or managed and from this concept emerges the idea of administration.
Public administration is “centrally concerned with the organization of government policies and programs as well as the behavior of officials (usually non-elected) formally responsible for their conduct”. Many non-elected public employees can be considered to be public administrators, including heads of city, county, regional, state and federal departments such as municipal budget directors, human resources (HR) administrators, city managers, census managers, state mental health directors, and cabinet secretaries. Public administrators are public employees working in public departments and agencies, at all levels of government.
In the United States, the civil employees and academics such as Woodrow Wilson promoted civil service reform in the 1880s, moving public administration into academia. However, “until the mid-20th century and the dissemination of the German sociologist Max Weber’s theory of bureaucracy” there was not “much interest in a theory of public administration”. The field is multidisciplinary in character; one of the various proposals for public administration’s sub-fields sets out six pillars, including human resources, organizational theory, policy analysis, statistics, budgeting, and ethics. Public administration is a segment of the larger field of administration. It is simply regarded as bureaucracy, heedless to the fact that bureaucracy as a particular organizational form is not only found in the government, but also in private and third sector organizations.(Dhameja,2003, p.2). Public Administration is a discipline which is concerned with the organization and the formulation and implementation of public policies welfare of the people. It functions in a political setting in order to accomplish the goals and objectives, which are formulated by the political decision makers. The focus of the public administration, thus, is on public bureaucracy.
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Administrators tend to work with both paper documents and computer files: “There has been a significant shift from paper to electronic records during the past two decades. Although government institutions continue to print and maintain paper documents as ‘official records,’ the vast majority of records are now created and stored in electronic format.” (pictured here is Stephen C. Dunn, Deputy Comptroller for the US Navy)
In 1947 Paul H. Appleby defined public administration as “public leadership of public affairs directly responsible for executive action”. In a democracy, it has to do with such leadership and executive action in terms that respect and contribute to the dignity, the worth, and the potentials of the citizen. One year later, Gordon Clapp, then Chairman of the Tennessee Valley Authority defined public administration “as a public instrument whereby democratic society may be more completely realized.” This implies that it must “relate itself to concepts of justice, liberty, and fuller economic opportunity for human beings” and is thus “concerned with “people, with ideas, and with things”. According to James D. Carroll & Alfred M. Zuck, the publication by “Woodrow Wilson of his essay, “The Study of Administration” in 1887 is generally regarded as the beginning of public administration as a specific field of study”.
Drawing on the democracy theme and discarding the link to the executive branch, Patricia M. Shields asserts that public administration “deals with the stewardship and implementation of the products of a living democracy”. The key term “product” refers to “those items that are constructed or produced” such as prisons, roads, laws, schools, and security. “As implementors, public managers engage these products.” They participate in the doing and making of the “living” democracy. A living democracy is “an environment that is changing, organic”, imperfect, inconsistent and teaming with values. “Stewardship is emphasized because public administration is concerned “with accountability and effective use of scarce resources and ultimately making the connection between the doing, the making and democratic values”.
More recently scholars claim that “public administration has no generally accepted definition”, because the “scope of the subject is so great and so debatable that it is easier to explain than define”. Public administration is a field of study (i.e., a discipline) and an occupation. There is much disagreement about whether the study of public administration can properly be called a discipline, largely because of the debate over whether public administration is a sub-field of political science or a sub-field of administrative science”, the latter an outgrowth of its roots in policy analysis and evaluation research. Scholar Donald Kettl is among those who view public administration “as a sub-field within political science”. According to Lalor a society with a public authority that provides at least one public good can be said to have a public administration whereas the absence of either (or a fortiori both) a public authority or the provision of at least one public good implies the absence of a public administration. He argues that public administration is the public provision of public goods in which the demand function is satisfied more or less effectively by politics, whose primary tool is rhetoric, providing for public goods, and the supply function is satisfied more or less efficiently by public management, whose primary tools are speech acts, producing public goods. The moral purpose of public administration, implicit in its acceptance of its role, is the maximization of the opportunities of the public to satisfy its wants.
The North American Industry Classification System definition of the Public Administration (NAICS 91) sector states that public administration “… comprises establishments primarily engaged in activities of a governmental nature, that is, the enactment and judicial interpretation of laws and their pursuant regulations, and the administration of programs based on them”. This includes “Legislative activities, taxation, national defense, public order and safety, immigration services, foreign affairs and international assistance, and the administration of government programs are activities that are purely governmental in nature”.
From the academic perspective, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) in the United States defines the study of public administration as “A program that prepares individuals to serve as managers in the executive arm of local, state, and federal government and that focuses on the systematic study of executive organization and management. Includes instruction in the roles, development, and principles of public administration; the management of public policy; executive-legislative relations; public budgetary processes and financial management; administrative law; public personnel management; professional ethics; and research methods.”
Spirituality is the way to find meaning, hope, comfort, and inner peace in life. Many people find spirituality through religion. Some people find it through music, art, or a connection with nature. Others find it in their values and principles. Spirituality involves the recognition of a feeling or sense or belief that there is something greater than myself, something more to being human than sensory experience, and that the greater whole of which we are part is cosmic or divine in nature.
Healthy spirituality gives a sense of peace, wholeness, and balance among the physical, emotional, social, and spiritual aspects of our lives. However, for most people, the path to such spirituality passes through struggles and suffering and often includes experiences that are frightening and painful. Positive beliefs, comfort, and strength gained from religion, meditation, and prayer can contribute to well-being. It may even promote healing. Improving your spiritual health may not cure an illness, but it may help you feel better.
Patients who are spiritual may utilize their beliefs in coping with illness, pain, and life stresses. Some studies indicate that those who are spiritual tend to have a more positive outlook and a better quality of life (Bogue, 2020).
Similar to other caring activities and procedures, spiritual care improves people’s spiritual well-being and performance as well as the quality of their spiritual life. Spiritual care has positive effects on individuals’ stress responses, and spiritual well-being such as the balance between physical, psychosocial, and spiritual aspects of self, a sense of integrity and excellence, and interpersonal relationships. Spiritual well-being is important for an individual’s health potential and the experience of illness/hospitalization can threaten the optimum achievement of this potential. Professional nursing embraces spiritual care as a dimension of practice.
Nurses’ practice patterns in the area of spiritual care can be grouped into two categories including religious and nonreligious interventions. Religious interventions include treating patients’ religious beliefs without prejudice, providing them with opportunities for connecting with God and expressing their values and beliefs, helping them practice their religion, and referring them to clerical and religious leaders (O’Brien, et al., 2019). Nonreligious interventions include nurses’ presence for patients and their families, making direct eye contact when communicating with patients, sympathizing with patients and their families, listening to patients and their families attentively, and having love and enthusiasm for patients.
Although spiritual care is meant to help people, I frequently gain as a nurse. Interpersonal trust and a connection with the patient require high emotional intelligence. It’s important to realize that spirituality isn’t always theological care (Ross et al., 2018). Whereas the healthcare industry easily incorporates spirituality into therapy, spiritual care is essential in all sectors of operation. For the sake of our clients, we as caregivers must respect spiritual support, learn the required skills, and schedule time to satisfy these needs.
Bogue, D. W., & Hogan, M. (2020). Practicing dignity: An introduction to Christian values and decision making in Health Care. Retrieved from https://lc.gcumedia.com/phi413v/practicing-dignity-an-introduction-to-christian-values-and-decision-making-in-health-care/v1.1/#/chapter/1
O’Brien, M., Kinloch, K., Groves, K., & Jack, B. (2019, August 9). Meeting patients’ spiritual needs during end of life care: A qualitative study of nurses’ and healthcare professionals’ perceptions of spiritual care training. Edge Hill University. Retrieved from https://research.edgehill.ac.uk/en/publications/meeting-patients-spiritual-needs-during-end-of-life-care-a-qualit-2
Ross , L., McSherry, W., Giske, T., Van Leeuwen, R., Schep-Akkerman, A., Koslander, T., Hall, J., Ostergaard Steenfeldt , V., & Jarvis, P. (2018, August). Nursing and midwifery students’ perceptions of spirituality, spiritual care, and spiritual care competency: A prospective, Longitudinal, correlational European study. Nurse education today. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29763841/