What is Public Administration (PA)? Is it similar to Private Administration?

According to Karl Marx; he defines Public Administration as “a determined action taken in pursuit of a conscious purpose”, as I have understood from reporters; a certain goal that needs a serious attention from the policymakers to come up with a best possible option to solve an issue that addresses the needs of the society as a whole. In addition, “It is the systematic ordering of affairs” wherein policymakers conduct stages of discussion and review of administering the issue that needs an effective and efficient solution. Furthermore, “the calculated use of resources aimed at making those happen which one wants to happen” making the policymaking body decides in which funds of the government should be utilized best, and caters an issue that needs a less output of the government profit but could make a huge positive impact to the society.

“Public administration is like any other administration which is carried out in public interest”, such as morale and welfare of Filipinos, health care of our senior citizen, amenities, the education of less fortunate who can’t afford, national security and many issues alike. As such, when we are dealing with Public Administration we are speaking and acting on behalf of the people for the people.

According to L D White, “Public administration consists of all those operations having for their purpose the fulfillment or enforcement of public policy”. In the pursuit to achieve the adoption of a policy; every aspect, branch, and type of agency that could be a catalyst in the success of a policy will be utilized by the government as long as it is under its jurisdiction, whether the policy will be used individually or as a group.

On the other hand as per Woodrow Wilson, “public administration is a detailed and systematic application of the law”. Detailed in a sense that before a policy will be adopted it is scrutinized in every stage it will pass through, when we place it in the setting of our country the Philippines, It will be given ample time in the plenary session for the author of the policy to defend its purpose and why should the policy be approved, but it doesn’t stop there, it needs the votes of the majority for it to be passed on to the higher chamber of policymakers and from there it will be once again scrutinized to the bone before presented to the leader of the state or the President. The President as we all know will give the final verdict after the policy is read, and it’s up to the President once the policy lands on his table. If the policy was rejected then it will be subject for revision and review.

F A Nigro who argues that “public administration is essentially a cooperative group effort in public setting”. As stated a while ago, diverse group of people who have a different point of views and beliefs has united to form a unified solution for a certain public issue, need-less-to-say, these groups of people set aside their differences to attain the betterment of the society. Secondly, as per the latter it [Public Administration] covers all the three branches of government machinery, the executive which acts as the approval or disapproval of the said policy, the legislative who works together to write laws, speak in behalf of the people and their concern, oversee other agencies to be used as policy enforcers, and could also pass bills/laws, and the judicial who reviews the policy whether it will contradict a constitution or a law.

Public administration differs from the private administration, in three important perspectives; Political character, Accountability and Scope. When we speak of political character, we speak of the government as a whole from which the administration rooted from the basic unit of the society until it reaches the President or the leader of the state, accountability in a sense whom to blame if things just messed up and which particular agency are we going to pass the administration to implement and enforce such policy and finally the scope where the policy is being applied on and to what extent in the population our policy caters.

In Private Administration; in the management organization of private business enterprises, they don’t give an ounce on what happens outside the organization as long as they are on the track of their company’s vision and mission they are good to go. The administrating body’s sole purpose is to come up with a profit to make the company running because through right administration and policies within the company could earn huge profit and as we all know, profits run the company and without it, the organization will fall. It includes a collection of doings like planning [how are we going to invite more stakeholders], organizing [Which office handles the human resource which office handles the morale and discipline, which office handles incentives and alike], coordinating [setting up meetings with other companies for collaboration], implementation [publishing of memorandums regarding misconduct and ethical standards] and controlling of programs and policies [what gimmick are we going to do this season? Which employees are we going to promote?], performed by the management of the organization which basically the CEO or the president of the company and the board of trustees.

So basically, it [Private Administration] revolves for the economic benefit of the organization, taking into consideration the employees, clients, investors, partners and the concerned organization that helps the growth of the company. There are several differences between Public and Private administration but let me explain at least 3 [three] examples based on my research and they are as follows:

First in the list is that private administration is a business activity and when we say business it focuses more on the end-profit of the company or organization and it doesn’t give a concern towards the society unless it affects their financial growth, they [Private Organization] keeps on working towards the sustainment of their organization which is profit-driven and as long as they have it [profit] they will keep on working for it as well as formulating new ideas on how to monetize their resource to get a huge amount of benefits/income in return. On the other hand, Public Administration is a political process [which we already discussed a while ago] unlike the PA [Public Administration] as what we have discussed caters the issue that has an important concern in the society and the output of such process caters back to the concerned society. Therefore, we could come up that the PA [Public Administration] caters society’s concern while Private Administration caters within the organization’s business interest.

Secondly, Private Administration is using the monopolistic decision-making, why? Because these private organizations have their own organizational structure straight from the CEO, President, Board of Trustees down to the Manager and basically when they opt to have a new policy regarding their organization, most of their decisions are formulated within their circle thus setting aside the thoughts and suggestions of their subordinate and it limits the growth of the organization, and as what we have been experiencing is that, these senior individuals within the organization creates such policies for their own interest within the company, it also caters the economic benefit of their organization and they themselves create their own policies. But, in public administration the decision making is pluralistic, why? Because as what we’ve been discussing before, the root of the policy came from the concerned society that needs important attention, it [policies] goes through various stages of scrutiny that will be reviewed by different types of people [three branches of the government] until it reaches the highest position in the government and addresses the issue to the root of the issue so basically decision making from the public administration doesn’t only limit within the borders of a certain office but also adheres to the ideas and opinion of the public.

Finally, Public administration is welfare-oriented and runs in a government setting, therefore it directs its orientation towards the public. Policies, rules and regulations, services and benefits address the welfare of its people; it also works with service motive like national security, patrolling our borders and communities and so on. Conversely, the private administration is profit-oriented because their organization revolves around their economy as what we’ve stated a while ago, their bread and butter and the life of their organization is run by their profit.

After we’ve clearly discussed the difference between Public and Private Administration, we could say that these two could either complement the other or not, both could benefit from one another, although they have many differences; both aim to improve their goals for certain group of people. Nevertheless, both play a vital role in our society.


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