Defining Public administration as a specialized academic field deals essentially with the machinery and procedures of government as these are used in the effective performance of government activities. Administrative has been defined as a cooperative human effort toward achieving some common goals .Thus defined, administration can be found in varies institutional setting such as a business firm, a hospital, a university, a government department and so on. As an aspect of this generic concept, defining public administration is that species concept, defining public administration is that species of administrative which operates within a specific political setting. It is a means by which the policy decisions made by the political decision makers are carried out.
“Defining Public administration is decision making, planning the work to be done, formulating objectives and goals, working with the legislature and citizen organization, to gain public support and funds for governments programmes , establishing and revising communications, determining work methods and procedures, appraising performance, exercising controls and other functions performed by governments executives and supervisions. It is the action part of government, the means by which the purposes and goals of governments are realized.”
Dwight Waldo, the veteran public administrative analyst cautioned us against the dangers of: ‘defining public administration. As Waldo said, ”The immediate effect of all one sentences or one paragraph definitions of public administration is mental paralysis rather than enlightenment and stimulation. “All definition seek to narrow down and limit the meaning of objects and in this effort, clarity and understanding suffer. Being an action and executive field of governments, public administrative has never had a settled boundary. The activities of governments have expanded and contracted on contextual circumstance.
An academic subject seeking to develop a body of knowledge on defining public administration has to reckon with the shifting boundaries of governments in society.
The basic concerns regarding defining public administration as a field of study would therefore include
(a) structure of public organizations are formed readjusted and formed,
(b) administrative process denoting the dynamic aspects of organization such as communication, control and decision-making,
(c) bureaucratic behavior with emphasis on the interpersonal and inter- group relationships in organizational and setting and
(d) organization – environments interactions conversing the influential and meaningful relationship that are found to exist between public administration and its surrounding forces and factors in the environment.
The study of structure, processes and behavior has been greatly facilitated by the emerging sub-discipline of organization theory. Its impact on public administrative as an academic field has been made to relate public administration to its environment in much the same way that the science of ecology is concerned with the mutual relations between organisms and their environment.
The “public” aspects in public administration lends special character to it. The adjective can be looked at formally to mean “governments “ So, public administrative is governments administrative, the focus being specifically on public bureaucracy .This is the meaning commonly used in discussing public administration. A wider meaning of “ public “ administrative has sought to expand its ambit by including any administration that has considerable impact on the public.
Form this aspect, a private electricity undertaking like the Calcutta electric Supply Corporation can be considered a fit subject of discussion under public administrative .It is, however, in the first sense that public administrative is usually considered. There has been a view point that “government” as a phenomenon is so diverse and multifaceted that no single discipline can monopolies its study.
Topics like political science, sociology, economics, business administrative from the vis-à-vis of each discipline. The discipline of public Administration has to acknowledge this diversity of approaches and yet build up its own way of dealing with the phenomenon of administrative. As Resenbloom has opined it, “Public administration does involve activity it is concerned with politics and policy and making it tends to be concentrated in the executive branch of governments, it does differ from private administration and it is concerned with implementing law.”
Necessarily, the discipline of Public Administration has to have a wide scope. Correspondingly, to quote Rosenblomm again, “Public Administration is the use of managerial, legal and political theories and processes to fulfill legislative, executive and judicial governmental mandates for the provision of regularly and service function for the society as a whole or for some segments of it.” One way go a step further and add that economic, sociological and behavioral science theories are all relevant are all relevant to the study administration.