Practice in Public Administration
Question 1 (a)
Public administration today seems to be in an identity crisis. This is a wide discipline, and its boundaries are hard to define, because they are unclear. While others consider public administration a science, some view it as an art. It is also possible to describe public administration in the contexts of an art and science. In the past, public administration was concerned with issues of politics and policies in the society. Unlike the past, public administration today is experiencing continuous changes in its structure and functions, since the world today is highly dynamic. Factors that have contributed to changes in this discipline include social and cultural inputs, influences from the economy, management, as well as organizational influences (Shafritz, Russell and Borick 32).
Public administration is a field of study and at the same time, a field of practice. As a field of practice, this involves executing governmental functions and administering public affairs. This also includes enacting of law, developing infrastructure, among others. As a field of study, public administration is involved with the advancement of practical and theoretical knowledge in the discipline, by use of both scientific and social science methods. From this, it is clear that public administration has characteristics of an art and a science (Khan 34).
According to Khan, public administration is regarded an art because it focuses on creativity in its processes and the people involved. This discipline also is concerned with the aspect of leadership. Since this mainly deals with the public and their affairs, there must be elements of leadership for successful execution of its function as a practical field. Public administration, as an art is also concerned with a sense of intangibles in administration. Mostly, the human resources employed in this field make use of resources that are intangible in furthering the different processes of public administration (45).
Public administration can also be regarded as a science, for various reasons. First, just like in science, the field of public administration has different theories, which it uses to provide an explanation, or different variables in the processes of public administration. These theories in public administration are used together with different concepts, as in the case of science. These theories and concepts are often developed after an empirical research, which mainly utilises different systematic methods. The theories and concepts in public administration are of use to the discipline. These, like those in science, help to improve the practice of public administration and its art (Khan 52).
Public administration is a science because, as a field of study, it is systematic. Public administration makes a broad generalization about administration. These generalizations are then verified by use of a variety of methods. Additionally, science used broad-based theories and concepts. Similarly, the field of public administration utilizes broad-based generalizations, and these can be widely applied to various spheres in the society. An example of this is the personnel management theories, which are widely used today. Waldo in Khan describes public administration as “the art and science of management as applied by the affairs of state.” This field is an art of getting things done. With this, public administration can be defined as the science and art of managing the state affairs (Khan 68).
Question 1 (b)
For most countries, including the United Arab Emirates, one of their top agendas is to improve the quality of their public administration, for it to be effective in the country. This increases the economic development of a country and citizens can be provided with quality services. The effectiveness of public administration is reflected in the services citizens receive, as well as the commitment the administrators portray. The UAE tries to improve its public administration each year, to reach higher standards. However, there are still loopholes, which need to be addressed in the public administration of UAE.
Some of the changes I would initiate in the public administration of UAE would focus on ensuring that all citizens regardless of their socio-economic status have good living standards, which include both the basic and social welfare needs, including education. This is the foundation of a healthy nation, when all citizens can afford important needs to live a comfortable life. This, I can achieve through the development of different strategies and actions. Additionally, I would aim at reforming some of the present strategies in UAE’s public administration, which I consider are ineffective. Situations of politicizing the public administration will be my main concern. This is the root cause of corruption, which is killing public administration. Therefore, getting rid of this phenomenon will be of great help, and setting up sanctions for those involved will lead to it to diminish (Khan 98).
Executive Masters in Public Administration is an advanced program that teaches about budgeting, leadership, policy writing, and public relations, among others. After this program, one can manage public and private organizations, including non-profit groups, and one can work in various departments of the government (Tarallo 43).
Managers should undertake this study, as it will add more value to their career. This will make managers to be effective and skilful public administrators. They will gain more skills in their area of practice. These include technical skills, which are core to public administration. These skills are important for policy analysis, which is core to public administration.
Apart from knowledge and skills, an executive Masters in public administration will enable a manager earn more income. If a manager furthers their studies, they are more likely to get a promotion in their field of practice. This promotion comes with an increased income. Additionally, an executive Masters in public administration will expose a manager to a variety of career opportunities within public administration. This manager can work as a director of administration in different institutions, a director of government relations, director of education, among many others. This therefore, helps a manager have security in his career, apart from helping them climb the career ladder (Tarallo 46).
Question 3 (a)
When employees are empowered, it means that power has been passed down to them; therefore, they can participate in major decision making, among other crucial tasks. Empowered employees also do not wait for orders, but instead use organization’s resources to get results. The employees will act out of their own responsibility, without being pushed by their seniors. For this to be attained however there must be changes in the structure of the government agency to accommodate employee empowerment (Shafritz, Russell and Borick 113).
First, there must be changes in the management of personnel in the organization. Here, employees will be given authority to perform various tasks, which they would not perform before, unless they were ordered. These include scheduling meetings and trainings, set the standards of job performance, administer discipline in the organization, hire new employees, and perform appraisals, among others. This way, considerable authority is trickled down to employees, who take up roles, which were previously restricted to the managers and other seniors (Tarallo 68).
The work processes in the agency will also be redesigned. In this case, employees will be allowed to identify what they consider problematic with the present work processes and contribute toward the solutions for the problems they have identified. Additionally, the management structure will be restructured for employees to experience empowerment. Management of the agency will be performed collectively with the employees. This includes problem solving in the agency, budgeting, contacting suppliers, and planning, among others.
However, for all these changes to be effective, the bureaucratic systems in the government agency have to be broken down completely. These normally constrain employees, and do not make them seem trustful. As a new manager, changing and destroying authoritarianism in the management of the government agency will be crucial. Introduction of improved reward systems in the agency will also go a long way in motivating and empowering employees (Tarallo 87).
Question 3 (b)
Employee empowerment gives more power and authority to employees in conducting the organization’s business. My greatest worry in implementing employee empowerment in this government agency is that the employees might at some point abuse the excessive power given to them. It is possible that some employees can take advantage of this power for their own selfish gains and interests. Another form of abuse of power is that, employees might become less responsible and less efficient in their work. This could be through taking long breaks or spending much time on employee meetings that are unnecessary.
The relations between managers and employees will be more likely to be affected upon implementation of employee empowerment. The managers might have a hard time adapting to the new organizational change of employee empowerment. This could lead to indifferences between managers and the employees. This becomes worrying because the organization will lack a conducive environment for effective working. This might then result in low productivity of the government agency, which makes it a poor performer in public administration. Nonetheless, employee empowerment is key to productivity in an organization. It must just be implemented in a way that will ensure employees are still held accountable for their actions and decisions. Empowerment of employees is crucial, but too much power and authority for employees might not realize positive outcomes in an organization.
Khan, Haroon. “An Introduction to Public Administration.” New York: University Press of
America, 2008. Print.
Shafritz, Jay, Russell, W. and Borick, Christopher. “Introducing Public Administration.” New
York: Pearson College Division, 2012. Print.
Tarallo, Michael. “Public Administration: Key Issues Challenging Practitioners.” New Jersey:
AuthorHouse, 2012. Print.
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