Now we shall proceed to see how Public administration is distinct from and

Now we shall proceed to see how public administration

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Now we shall proceed to see how Public administration is distinct from and similar to Private administration. 1. DISTINCTIONS BETWEEN PUBLIC AND PRIVATE ADMINISTRATION The common notion of Public Administration is that it is bureaucratic, characterized by red tapism, inefficiency and inertia, whereas private administration is efficient and businesslike. The more important distinguishing features of Public Administration may be described under the following headings: Page of 7 52
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1.1 Political direction Public Administration takes place in a political context and is subjected to political direction in most policy matters, while private administration is non-political. Public administrators work under political direction and scrutiny. They put into effect the policies made by the elected members of the legislature and political executive (Ministers). Business or private administration, on the contrary, is not subject to political direction except in times of emergency. It functions largely under the influence of market economic conditions. 1.2 Profit motive or marginal return Public Administration is service oriented and profit making is not its goal. A businessman will never undertake a venture which is not likely to yield any profit to him, even if it is essential for the public welfare. In addition, ‘profit’ serves as a simple criterion to judge the efficient or inefficient performance of a business firm. But, the abstract value of ‘social good’ promoted by public organizations cannot be measured in terms of monetary gain or loss. There is no direct comparison between the governmental agency’s costs and the value of its services to the public. Thus, ends of public administration are 1.3 Conformity to legal framework Public Administration operates within a legal framework. The activities of public administrators are fixed by a set of constitutional practices, laws, rules and regulations. Government officials must always act within their legal powers. They cannot act contrary to, or in excess of legal power. If they do so, their actions can be declared invalid or challenged in the courts of law on the grounds of ultra-vires. This is the reason why everything done by public officials must be supportable by reasonably clear statutory authority. The numerous legal constraints on the actions of public officials account for the limited discretion enjoyed by them in discharging their duties. However, such legal constraints are essential to prevent the officials from abusing their powers. By contrast, the behaviour of business organizations and the activities of business administrators are subject to less legal constraints. Business executives in the private sector can usually do anything which is not forbidden by law. This give them freedom to select and carry on only profitable activities.
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