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Definition of Public Administration: Nature, Scope, Function, Purpose, and Theory – know about public administration? Public administration is a social science that studies the state administration system of a country and everything related to the public which includes public organizations, public policies, public management, and public services.

Public administration is like any other administration that is run for a series of public interests. Thus, in public administration there are quite diverse definitions and from various experts.

For example, some academics argue that all government-related work falls under the category of public administration, while others choose to argue that only the executive aspect of government functions comprises public administration.

In fact, in this modern era, public administration is often considered as the responsibility to determine the policies and programs of the government. Specifically, it is the planning, organizing, directing, coordinating, and controlling the operations of the government. Within a country, public administration is practiced at the central, middle, and local levels.

Of course, the relationship between the various levels of government within a country is an ever-growing issue of public administration. With the aim of clarifying  understanding of the notion of public administration, this article will review the meaning of public administration, its nature and scope, theories, functions, and objectives of public administration.

What is Public Administration?

Definition of Public Administration Nature, Scope, Function, Purpose, and Theory

Public administration is one of the social sciences that examines state management systems that relate to policies, organizations, management, and services. Public administration is always in touch with the Legislature, Judiciary, and Executive.

In addition, public administration is closely related to various regulations and policies related to the public, state goals, development administration, and ethics that govern the proper administration of the state.

If viewed grammatically, public administration has two constituent words, namely administration and public. Thus, administration can be interpreted as an activity or cooperation of a group of people that aims to achieve predetermined goals. While the word public is defined as the state and citizens or society

That way, we can interpret public administration as a process of carrying out decisions or policies for the benefit of the state, citizens, or society. We need to know together that public administration is like any other administration which is carried out with the aim of being in the public interest.

Marx defines administration as administration determined by the actions taken to achieve a recognized goal. This is a systematic arrangement of affairs and the use of calculated resources with the aim of realizing what a person/organization wants.

The next opinion comes from Frederic Lane who defines administration as the organization and maintenance of human and fiscal resources to achieve the goals of a group. A complete definition of public administration is however difficult to achieve because of the many tasks involved in public administration.

Meanwhile, according to L D White, public administration consists of all operations aimed at fulfilling or enforcing public policy. On the other hand, according to Woodrow Wilson, public administration is the detailed and systematic application of law. It can also be said that public administration is nothing but policies, practices, rules and regulations, and so on.

At present, can public administration be separated from the social and political system? The answer, of course, is no and because of that, another definition has emerged given by FA Nigro, who argues that public administration is essentially a cooperative group effort in a public setting.

Second, it covers the three branches of the three principal branches of government, namely the executive, legislative and judicial branches. Furthermore, it was explained that because public administration plays an important role in policy formulation, therefore it becomes part of the political process as well, for example Draft Laws and Laws.

In addition, Nigro also revealed that public administration differs from private administration in many ways. Furthermore, public administration interacts with various private groups and individuals in providing services to society.

What is the Nature of Public Administration?

Of course, on the nature of public administration there are two views that are popularly known to us, one integral view and the other a managerial view.

The integral view is all-encompassing and comprises the sum total of all managerial, administrative, technical, and manual activities as well as employees of all levels. This view was later supported by L. D. White and Dimock. This may differ from one institution to another depending on the field of work involved.

On the other hand, according to the managerial view, as the name implies, public administration only involves managerial activities. This view was then supported by a number of figures, including Simon, Smithburg, Thompson and Luther Gulick. In addition, the word administration itself is very contextual and can vary in meaning and definition from one organization to another openly.

Thus, if you want to understand it from the context and setting in an organization, it can be roughly explained that the top leadership or board decides the vision, mission, goals both short and long term, and the head of the business unit then makes an action plan and creates or reforms processes, assign responsibilities, direct the planning, invite people to join, and start working to achieve the goals that have been set and according to the guidelines that have been set.

In essence, the administrator could be the head of the government and the business unit and its team could be the public administrator who is the executor and actually the person running the show as well.

What is the Nature and Scope of Public Administration?

Public administration is the most important aspect of bureaucracies worldwide; be it a country with democratic, socialist, or even capitalist characteristics. Moreover, in a socialist state, because all aspects of citizens’ lives are influenced and determined by the government, the role of the government is very, very strong.

However, there has been a major change in the way public administration was implemented from ancient and medieval times when initiatives were nothing more than sporadic administrative functions such as maintaining law and order and collecting income with little or no activity to achieve prosperity.

The people who carry out these activities of public administration are chosen by kings and are no better than their personal servants. Along with the times, the objectives of public administration also changed and in the nineteenth century; an organized approach to serving civil and public administration was adopted.

This approach is based on a complete legal framework replacing patriarchal and hereditary functions with a deeply entrenched bureaucracy. The existence of a new approach to public administration occurs for a number of reasons. One of the main and most important reasons is the industrial revolution.

With the industrial revolution, the government in a country enters trade, which is then followed by the notions of ism, namely imperialism, nationalism, and internationalism which add to the expansion of the duties and responsibilities of a government.

In today’s world, it is again very different from what it was a century ago. In addition, the scope of public administration has also experienced a shift, including it is difficult to decide whether it is a paradigm or not.

However, with increasing awareness among the public especially in developing countries and gaining knowledge of rights, privileges and laws among people in developed countries (e.g. the debate over the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act 2010 ) has created new challenges for public administrators and policy makers in a government.

The demand for unified national services, conflicts of interest between different parts of the economy in a society and with global migration and then globalization; protection of the interests of multi-ethnic groups of society has kept public administrators busy.

This administration is very important because it is not enough to make policies and laws on white paper alone. Interpreting, translating policies, and laws into action and their implementation is not an easy part.

Therefore, public administrators are obliged to play an important role in running the government as a running machine. The existence of a bureaucracy may often be ridiculed by the public, but when administrative work is stopped, nothing really happens.

In almost all countries in the world, the number of people employed in public administration jobs is very large, for example the superpower United States, the figure is approximately 2,036,000 civilians, excluding employees of Congress and the Federal courts. In addition to the United States, in England the figure reaches several thousand and in India there is also a test to become a civil servant.

Of the various important roles played by the state administration, the most important is implementing laws and policies properly, optimally, and compliantly, and acting as an adjudicator.

What is the Function of Public Administration?

There are several functions of public administration, including:

1. Traditional Function

Traditional functions are the main functions in a public administration. This function includes public welfare, taxation, foreign relations, domestic order, defense and security, public works, and so on.

2. Nation Development Function

The second function is nation building which aims to foster a sense of love for the homeland and the Indonesian nation in the midst of a very heterogeneous Indonesian society and unstoppable globalization.

3. Economic Management Function

Another function, public administration as a regulator for economic management.

4. Social Welfare Function

The fourth function is the social welfare function which is directly related to the welfare service system for citizens. The government is obliged to intervene in improving social welfare by providing services to citizens or the community, such as public housing, health services and social welfare social security in accordance with the constitutional mandate.

5. Environmental Control Function

The function of environmental control aims to prevent damage to the environment due to human greed in exploiting nature. Therefore, control of the environment is carried out such as research and development, conservation, urban planning, and so on with the aim of protecting the environment.

6. Function of Human Rights (HAM)

The last function is the function of human rights which guarantees democracy for citizens, so that the government can serve and protect the public well. As one of the functions of these rights, namely the protection of Human Rights (HAM).

What is the Purpose of Public Administration?

When viewed in general, public administration has several objectives, namely:

  1. Ensure good public safety
  2. Ensuring public welfare equitably
  3. Ensuring justice for all citizens regardless of anything

Well, in order to achieve this goal, good cooperation is needed between government institutions and of course citizens or the community.

It is undeniable that the main purpose of public administration is to achieve state goals in accordance with the wishes of the public. Some of the public’s wishes are as follows: security, welfare, justice.

In order to achieve the objectives of public administration, several things are needed, such as the following:

1. Social participation

Social participation is community participation in the implementation of public administration so that it is carried out properly

2. Social responsibility

Social responsibility is the responsibility carried out by the implementer of public administration to the community or citizens.

3. Social support

This social support is the support given by the public to the implementation of public administration

4. Social control

This social control is control or supervision carried out by the public on public administration activities carried out by the government.

From this we understand that public administration can participate in determining what development goals are and determining how to achieve these goals. Moreover, those related to public or public services for all Indonesian citizens.

Public administration can develop according to the needs of a country and its conditions. With the increasingly complex problems in a country, new ways will emerge as solutions to these problems as well. That is why the science of public administration develops dynamically according to the times, people and a country.

What are Public Administration Theories?

Public Administration Theory is an amalgamation of history, organizational theory, social theory, political theory, and related studies with a focus on the meaning, structure and function of public service in all its forms.

Public administration theory often explains the main historical foundations for the study of bureaucracy and the epistemological problems that are closely related to public service as a profession and as an academic field at the same time. There are several groups of theories regarding public administration, including:

1. Explanative descriptive theory

Descriptive theory is a theory that has the nature of giving an abstract explanation of the reality of state administration. An example is the theory that explains administrative incompetence.

2. Normative Theory

Normative theory is a theory that aims to explain situations with the future, ideally from a condition. An example is the theory of ideal leadership about the future.

3. Assumptive Theory

Assumptive theory is a theory that emphasizes preconditions, the assumption of a social reality behind a theory or a proposition. An example is the theory X and Y from McGregor which states that humans have good (Y) and less good (X) abilities.

4. Instrumental Theory

Instrumental theories are theories that focus on “how and when”, rather on the application or application of the theory. For example, namely the theory of policy, how the policy is implemented and when the policy is implemented.

Recommended Books About Public Administration

There are several readings about public administration that  can read, including:

1. Fundamentals of Public Administration (2017) by Beddy Iriawan Maknai

A book whose material is deliberately constructed into a flow of discussion starting from the basics of public administration. Before the reader goes further into the discipline of public administration, the reader must understand the basics first. This book provides material that is simple to understand.

2. Ethics of Public Administration (2021) by M. Chazienul Ulum and Luthfi J. Kurniawan

A book that makes readers aware that ethics seeks to deal with issues related to the duties and functions of the bureaucracy and its apparatus in acting ethically.

3. Public Administration: Theoretical and Empirical Study (2021) by Johanes Basuki

This book, written by Johanes Basuki, presents a discussion of public administration. At the end of the book, a discussion of the idea of developing maritime-based public administration science is presented. A suitable book for students or academics, practitioners, bureaucrats, and anyone who wants to learn about public administration.

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