Public administration focuses on the functioning of public service and its relations with people. Numerous theorists analyzed different facets of public administration and contributed greatly to the development of the discipline. Thus, Wilson, Goodnow, Addams and Taylor are some of the most influential theorists who made a profound contribution to the development of the public administration.
Woodrow Wilson is one of the most influential theorists in public administration. He believed it was crucial to divide administration from politics (Shafritz & Hyde, 2012).
Wilson stressed that people who were elected were often incompetent in many spheres and they could not govern the country properly; and the theorist noted that only people competent in specific areas can make sure laws are implemented effectively (Shafritz & Hyde, 2012). This approach had an immense impact on development of public administration. It is possible to state that the field obtained the necessary from and particular issues were identified.
Frank Goodnow shared Wilson’s views and stressed that the dichotomy of the US government should be addresses by dividing politics and administration. Goodnow stressed that the government consisted of the judicial, executive and administrative branches (Shafritz & Hyde, 2012). The theorist noted that the administrative branch should be free from political influences of the executive branch (Shafritz & Hyde, 2012).
Goodnow claimed that the administrative branch should carry out particular, ‘commercial’ activities and he also stressed that administrative branch could ensure adequate implementation of laws, if the administrators were not influenced by specific political views (Shafritz & Hyde, 2012). Therefore, the theorist unveiled the dichotomy of the US government and developed the approach. Remarkably, the approach has shaped the development of public administration.
Frederick Taylor also contributed greatly to the development of the public administration (Cox, Buck & Morgan, 2010). The theorist introduced the idea of scientific management. This concept focused on structuring and organizing efficient work of the government as well as organizations. Taylor focused on the structure and functioning of the administrative branch.
The theorist claimed that the administrative branch is also an organization where employees should be chosen accurately to be able to fulfill particular tasks (Cox, Buck & Morgan, 2010). According to Taylor, the organization could function effectively if each employee understood his/her functions and carried out activities assigned properly (Cox, Buck & Morgan, 2010). This approach had a profound effect on the development of the theory as it revealed imperfections of the then-government.
Notably, Jane Addams had a totally different view on public administration. Addams argued that the focus on efficiency of the structure and functions of the administrative branch was, ironically, ineffective (Shafritz & Hyde, 2012). The theorist claimed that empathy is central to effective public administration as administrators had to serve people; therefore, they had to know their needs, fears and aspirations.
Jane Addams believed that public administration should be based on principles used in communities and even homes (Shafritz & Hyde, 2012). This approach had an immense impact on the development of the theory of public administration in the long run as people understood that perfect structure does not guarantee proper government.
On balance, it is possible to note that numerous theorists have contributed to the development of the field of public administration. The theorists mentioned above put questions which revealed really serious issues. Solving the issues enabled the researchers to develop the theory of public administration and to describe the structure and major functions of the government. It is also necessary to note that the development has not stopped as there are lots of areas to develop and improve.
Cox, R.W., Buck, S.J., & Morgan, B.N. (2010). Public administration in theory and practice. New York, NY: Longman Publishing Group.
Shafritz, J.M., & Hyde, A.C. (2012). Classics of public administration. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.