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Different scholars apply varying definitions to the term “public administration” depending on their use for the same. In essence, the term often describes the various aspects involved in the development and implementation of government policies.
As an academic discipline, public administration refers to the study of the development and implementation of such policies with the aim of enabling scholars to understand and apply such knowledge to their daily undertakings in both their personal and professional undertakings as citizens or public servants.
This paper explores the effect of public administration as an academic discipline from my scholarly experience. It contains a concise description of ways in which readings assist me to understand my professional experiences and involvements, my obligations as a citizen in a free state, and ways in which the course enhances skills such as writing, critical thinking, decision-making, and ethical awareness.
Impact on professional experiences and involvements
Readings on public administration, as an academic discipline, have enabled me to understand my professional experiences and professional undertakings and continue to do so in various ways.
Firstly, they have enabled me to understand the processes involved in the creation of policies that affect public administrators and other professionals with links to their offices in different capacities, which is an essential element when applying an analytical outlook to administrative duties (Fredrickson, 2005). It is usually easy for individuals with no knowledge of the creation and implementation processes that public administrators should apply in the fulfillment of their duties to complain and blame the wrong people for failures and delays in certain areas.
Often, such ignorance and misinformation results in delays when procuring assistance on specific issues related to various administrative offices. Information on the duties that each person within the administrative chain performs enables me to obtain help from the right individuals, thus saving me precious time in the resolution of problems linked to the same.
Secondly, readings in the course have so far enabled me to analyze various duties that players in the public administration sector play, which is an essential process when singling out career options.
Every year, hoards of scholars study hard with the aim of joining the public administration sector, but they lack concise targets as to which offices they would prefer to join and duties of each office. The readings in this course have enabled me to conduct an analysis on the duties that office holders in the sector perform and single out those that match my preferred skill set.
Such analysis ensures that I do not work too hard to attain skills that I might not need in the performance of a dream career while being careful not to overlook skills that I might need in case the prospects of my dream career do not pan out (Rhodes, 2002). In essence, the readings in this course have broadened my perspective on my career of choice and armed me with skills that I need to make my dream come true.
The third benefit that the readings have for me in terms of understanding my professional experiences is that they enable me to set realistic expectations regarding my career as a public administrator. It is a common occurrence for individuals to experience disappointment and frustration when performing their duties because things sometimes do not turn out as expected.
Through the utilization of the wide variety of reading material that the course offers, I now understand that various bodies in the public administration sector operate as independent entities working towards a common goal for the government and thus they formulate different policies depending on their goal at the time.
I have thus been in a position to adjust my expectations on consistency of operations and standard policy requirements for staff in organizations and keep an open mind on the same. This aspect ensures that I am ready for any eventuality in scenarios where bodies I choose to work for opt for changes in policies (Rhodes, 2002).
Another benefit that the readings afford me, as a scholar with a potential future in the public administration sector, is that they expand my understanding of the impact that policy changes have on public administrators in the performance of their duties. The importance of such knowledge lies mainly in the ability to adapt, whether in a professional capacity as a public administrator or as a professional in another sector of the economy applying such policy changes.
For most businesses, including the government in its financial operations, the ability to adapt to changes in policies ensures that the level of loss remains at its minimum and that the management of such institutions formulates contingency plans to mitigate the effects of such changes just in time (Kozol, 1996).
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Lastly, pubic administration is a multifaceted discipline that comprises various other disciplines including human resource management, organizational theory, statistical studies, policy analysis, budgeting, and ethics (Fredrickson, 2005). The breath of the spectrum of information available on the various disciplines enables me to understand circumstances surrounding situations with a view of the bigger picture.
For instance, when analyzing the budgetary requirements of an organization in the public sector, it is easy for an accountant to overlook possible policy changes that may require the provision of a contingency fund. Application of linkages between different sectors in public administration enables such an accountant to foresee possible social changes such as increase in population, which may render the applicability of such a budget impracticable with time.
Impact of readings on understanding of obligations as a citizen
Another important advantage of readings in the course relates to my understanding of my obligations as a citizen in a free state. Currently, numerous individuals lack knowledge on aspects that constitute their rights, freedoms, and those that constitute their obligations to their country as citizens.
Ignorance is one of the main reasons why most people find themselves on the wrong side of the law, especially when it comes to the interpretation of public policy regulations.
Often, most people think about what government bodies need to do for them as per the law and ignore the requirements that the same policies have for them in their capacity as citizens. The readings have enlightened me on the existence of such obligations from laws in my capacity as a citizen and an individual living in a free society under the protection of the government.
A good example that helps to explain the effects of ignorance of the obligations of citizens and the remedy that readings in public administration, as an academic discipline, provides concerns protection of property. Most people expect law enforcement agencies to protect their property through whichever means necessary, but they overlook their obligation to report crimes regarding violations concerning the property of other people, as is the case with community policing.
Another scenario similar to the one above is one whereby citizens expect the government to prosecute offenders, but fail to give the same importance to their obligation to testify at trial and bring perpetrators of the said violations to justice. Apart from ignoring obligations such as testifying in court and working with law enforcement bodies to protect property, some individuals misuse their rights under the constitution, thus violating their obligation to obey laws set by the state for their own protection (Jordan, 2012).
For instance, the American constitution, under the fourth amendment, provides for freedom of the press. However, individuals such as the paparazzi often use such freedom to violate the privacy of other citizens for financial gain (Jordan, 2012). Readings on public administration in relation to obligations of citizens have enabled me to relate to such issues and assess situations while taking responsibility for my obligations to the government as part of the same team.
Enhancement of skills in the course
One of the skills that studying public administration enhances is writing. The course has enabled me to filter information when writing and apply language that is easy to understand, which allows the reader to relate to the material without straining.
With regard to critical thinking, studying material in the course relating to various disciplines has enabled me to develop a mode of thinking that incorporates various aspects linked to the subject matter and come up with solutions that are improvements from the obvious. Thirdly, the course has enabled me to concentrate on problems and keep an open mind when formulating decisions on various issues.
Through skills such as policy analysis and solution assessment, I am in a position to make decisions that incorporate more considerations and work out better in the long-term. Lastly, through studying the materials and awareness of my obligations as a citizen, my level of ethical awareness when dealing with matters of ethical awareness is higher as compared to when I first started the course. I am now in a position to perceive situations for what they are without excluding my own actions from the equation.
Fredrickson, G. (2005). Public Administration with an Attitude. Washington, D.C: American Society for Public Administration.
Jordan, T. (2012). The U.S Constitution and Fascinating Facts About it. Naperville, IL: Oak Hill Publishing Co.
Kozol, J. (1996). Amazing Grace: The Lives of Children and the Conscience of a Nation. New York, NY: Harper Perennial Publisher.
Rhodes, L. (2002). The Public Manager Case Book: Making Decisions in a Complex World. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publishing.