PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION 7
Theimportance of public administration cannot be gainsaid as far as thesustainability of any government is concerned. Public administrationprimarily revolves around the implementation and actualization of thegovernment policy, as well as the academic discipline that examinesthe implementation while also preparing civil servants for jobs inthe public service. It may also be seen as a field of politicalscience that primarily deals with the workings and structure ofagencies that have the responsibility of administrating governmentfunctions. It is usually seen as incorporating some responsibilitypertaining to the determination of programs and policies of thegovernment, considering that it deals with the control, coordination,directing, organization and planning of the operations of thegovernment. Given its nature as a field of inquiry that has a diversescope, it has the primary goal of advancing polices and management,thereby allowing the government to function appropriately. At itscore is the organization of the programs and policies of thegovernment and the behavior of officials. In public administration,there have been concerns regarding the integration of politics (Basu,2004).It is worth noting that the contemporary public administrationemanated from the vigorous rejection of the dichotomy of politics andadministration, where the insurgents argued that administration wasinherently political and had to be comprehended as such.Nevertheless, it is noted that one of the largest challengespertaining to public administration revolves around the integrationof organization and politics (Basu,2004).It is well understood that bureaucracy is an offshoot of politics.Indeed, decisions pertaining to the location of agencies or theirstructures, control and staffing are not made through objectivemanners by organization theorists that have the sole aim of enhancingpublic good, rather they are made by groups and politicians who areprivy to the fact that the organization’s details are usuallyimportant determinants of who would be entitled to what in politics.This underlines the fact that the organization of public bureaucracyin the manner that it is today is effected by the incentives thatpowerful players who have incentives to keep it that way. This meansthat the absence of a political theory of organization would givecurrency to all manner of misconceptions. In coming up with theappropriate way for public administration, scholars have soughtrefuge in political theories, one of which is the Positive Theory.
Positivepolitical theory underlines the study of politics by the use offormal techniques such as statistical analysis, game theory andsocial choice theory. It is seen as a variant of the rational choicetheory in the modern parlance and incorporates two crucial aspects.First, the theory underlines a methodological commitment towards theplacement of political science on the same basis as other scientificdisciplines such as economics and physical sciences (Khan,2008).In essence, it underlines the fact that the political theory must becomposed of statements that are deduced from fundamental principlesthat provide an accurate description of the political events of theglobe. Political theories primarily aim at making positive statementspertaining to political phenomena or even descriptive generalizationsthat may be subject to empirical verification. Such a commitment tooffer a scientific explanation of the political processes recolvesaround the utilization of formal language such as mathematicalmodels, set theory, game theory, decision theory and statisticaltheory, as well as historical experiments and narratives (Holzer&Schwester, 2011).The second element of positive political theory revolves around theexamination of the individual that is making decision as the sourceof the collective political outcomes and underlines the fact thatindividual would operate in line with the logic pertaining torational self-interest (Holzer&Schwester, 2011).Scholars note that individuals rank their likes and preferences in aconsistent manner over varied possible outcomes, consideringuncertainty and risk and acting in a manner that would optimize theirexpected payoffs. The assumptions of rational self-interest would beused by positive political theory in postulating a certainmotivational basis for behavior (Milakovich&Gordon, 2013).Action, in this case, is thought to emanate from interests ratherthan attitudes.
Positivepolitical theories have the sole aim of building models that wouldpredict the manner in which the self-oriented actions of individualsblend together to give rise to collective outcomes. The technique isapplied in political processes, legislative behavior, treatyformation, diplomatic strategy in international relations and publicgoods (Denhardt&Denhardt, 2009).Formal models and game theory would be used in determining whetherthe complicated strategic political interactions incorporatepredictable and law-like outcomes that demonstrate stability. Stableoutcomes indicate that the actions of the agents blend in such amanner that no person would attain a greater payoff in instanceswhere he or she had unilaterally selected an alternative choice,given the collective social outcomes pertaining to the agents’self-oriented actions (Milakovich&Gordon, 2013).Such equilibrium would be crucial to positive political theory sinceit is indicative of the fact that the political processes beinginvestigated lead to stable and predictable social outcomes that mostappropriately serve the constituent interests of the individualsubject to the constraints that the situation imposes.
Positivepolitical theory pertaining to institutions comes as a productivecombination of new economics and social choice. After newinstitutionalism was first stared, social choice had already beenwell developed in which case it took the predominant role, therebypromoting the tendency to concentrate on voting and the institutionsthat vote. Over time, however, positive theorists started expandingto other areas, taking as their departure point the congressionalefforts to regulate the bureaucracy (Denhardt&Denhardt, 2009).Since political control has extremely little to directly do withvoting, the theorists relied a bit more on the new economics. The neweconomics, therefore, trained the theorists focus on staffingsystems, procedures and rules that comprise the organization ofbureaucracy, as these elements of organization are crucial mechanismsfor political control, as well as strategic means through whichpolitical actors would pursue and safeguard their own interests(Milakovich&Gordon, 2013).
Instudying institutions, two crucial branches of the theory becomeextremely relevant. First, there is the social choice, which firstdeveloped as a highly sophisticated and elaborated voting theory,before it started, in collaboration with the new institutionalism,started examining the manner in which different elements ofinstitutions such as formal decision-making procedures and agendacontrol determine the stability of voting processes and the outcomes(Denhardt&Denhardt, 2009).The second element revolves around the new economics pertaining toorganization, which started as a relatively explicit effort ofeconomists to offer an explanation pertaining to the basiccharacteristics of organizations such as decentralization,compliance, cooperation, control, authority and hierarchy, and hasbeen extended and applied in innovative manners to the comprehensionof political institutions (Milakovich&Gordon, 2013).In essence, it can be said that through the component theories suchas game theory, agency theory and transaction cost economics, thepositive political theory brings the economics methodology to bearthe organizational issues that have defied explanation untilrecently. Further, it easily extends to political institutions andpolitics that never involve voting as the primary decision-makingprocess since it is largely about exchange and bargaining.
Inconclusion, Public administration primarily revolves around theimplementation and actualization of the government policy, as well asthe academic discipline that examines the implementation while alsopreparing civil servants for jobs in the public service. It may alsobe seen as a field of political science that primarily deals with theworkings and structure of agencies that have the responsibility ofadministrating government functions. It is usually seen asincorporating some responsibility pertaining to the determination ofprograms and policies of the government, considering that it dealswith the control, coordination, directing, organization and planningof the operations of the government (Khan,2008).In coming up with the appropriate way for public administration,scholars have sought refuge in political theories, one of which isthe Positive Theory, which underlines the study of politics by theuse of formal techniques such as statistical analysis, game theoryand social choice theory. Scholars have noted that through thecomponent theories such as game theory, agency theory and transactioncost economics, the positive political theory brings the economicsmethodology to bear the organizational issues that have defiedexplanation until recently (Holzer&Schwester, 2011).Further, it easily extends to political institutions and politicsthat never involve voting as the primary decision-making processsince it is largely about exchange and bargaining.
Basu,R. (2004). Publicadministration: Concepts and theories.New Delhi: Sterling Publishers Private.
Denhardt,R. B., & Denhardt, J. V. (2009). Publicadministration: An action orientation.Belmont, CA: Thomson/Wadswort
Holzer,M., & Schwester, R. W. (2011). Publicadministration: An introduction.Armonk, N.Y: M.E. Sharpe.
Khan,H. A. (2008). Anintroduction to public administration.Lanham, Md: University Press of America.
Milakovich,M. E., & Gordon, G. J. (2013). Publicadministration in America.Boston,MA : Wadsworth/Cengage Learning