(Online Course) Pub Ad for IAS Mains: Chapter: 1 Introduction - Meaning of Public Administration (Paper -1)

Paper - 1
Chapter: 1 (Introduction)

Meaning of Public Administration

Public Administration carries two major dimensions:

  1. As an activity.
  2. As an area of study.

Practice – activity by government

  • Government in Action
  • Actional part of governance

As an area of study – as a systematic area of study believes in govt. in action and many more than that.

Epistemology of public Administration.

Public – specific meaning for public Administration

Dwight Waldo: It means State or government

Administration: Origin from two latin terms in combination has given rise to. Administration.

Ad + Ministrare: to take care, to save or to look after

E.N. Gladden: “Term Administration appears to be long and pompous but it carries a very humble meaning”.

Public Administration: All those activities instruments which are undertaken by the govt. to take care of the people, to serve or look after the people.

Meaning of public Administration from theoretical perspective: Waldo believes, precept flows from the practice, practice flow from the percept. Government Administration is ever evolving to the extent today it is all encompassing. Any definition is bound by the constraints of the time and background. Every theory is this victim of the time and surrounding. Narrow View School: Simon, Thompson, Gladden etc. According to them public Administration refers to the study of execution branch of the government. Enforcement of law, implementation of the law etc.


Willoughby, Nigro, Dimock.

Government in action does not mean only executive branch but it includes all the branches of government like executive, legislature and judiciary. Operations of Executive, Legislative, Judiciary and their interrelationship.

  1. Judiciary – primarily responsibilities for interpretation of law and adjudication of the litigation.
  2. Executive – responsibility for enforcement and implementation of law.
  3. Political View – Both of these views have been challenged by a third school which believes that public Administration as a discipline does not only include state but moves beyond that. Easton, Dahl etc.

Authoritarian allocation of values. Public Administration means the authoritative allocation of values. Government is the legitimate institution to provide for various values. Government’s functioning depends on many factors like place and presence of civil society and non-state institutions. Study includes not only state but non state institutions and many anti-state institution also.

Legalistic View: White, Dimock, Wilson etc.

Public Administration as a discipline means the study of the enforcement of the public law.

They have taken a legalistic view: Include all those operations having for their purpose enforcement of public policy or public law.

Wilson: Systematic and detailed implementation of public law.

However, Government in action does not remain constrained to the legal aspect, or the strict boundary of public policy only.


Weal – Welfare.

Public Administration means that it is the study about the welfare actions of the government. But it excludes all those actions of the government which are not towards the welfare of the people. Also it might for or in a suppressive way,

PROCESS VIEW: It believes that Public Administration is all about the study of tools and techniques of or processes of Administration (Tayol, Gulick, Urwick etc.)

Challenged by one of the most contemporary view of Public Administration. Which is referred to as substantive view or content or Subject-Matter View.

SUBSTANTIVE VIEW OR CONTENT OR SUBJECT-MATTER VIEW: These theorists believe that Public Administration is the study of the tools and techniques of administration in the context of Public Policy and Subject Matter. With this meaning of Public Administration became broader. Scientific basis of tools and techniques lies in detailed understanding of public policy. Multi-disciplinary or Polyglot. This definition makes Public Administration “multi-disciplinary” or “Polyglot” in nature.

MARKET VIEW: Public Administration deals with all those activities which are financed out of tax-payers money. It has broadened the meaning of Public Administration as a discipline vary widely. Every single sentence or is a mental paralysis rather than enlightenment. Administration of government is an dependent variable. Government’s is defined in its surroundings. So it can never remain static, it has to change with the changing circumstances.

Nature of State – Very philosophy on which state functions. Government in action is by and large reflection of the philosophy of the state. With the change in circumstances the nature of philosophy of state changed from being. Police State to welfare state to New liberal state.

Emergence of new concepts of

– NPM (New Public management)
– New Public Administration.
– Reinventing government
– Good Governance

According to Frederick C. Mosher, if is better that it next be defined.”

https://static.upscportal.com/images/promo/Arrow.gif  Go Back To Main Page