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Public Adminstration - Essay Example

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Summary
Understanding the concept of public administration and what it means to Americans is critical to virtually everyone in today's society. The purpose of this paper is to briefly define 'public administration'; discuss whether its most appropriately seen as an art, science, or craft; and to discuss what is meant by partisan, policy, and system politics.
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Public Adminstration
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Public Administration Introduction Understanding the concept of public administration and what it means to Americans is critical to virtually everyone in today's society. The purpose of this paper is to briefly define 'public administration'; discuss whether its most appropriately seen as an art, science, or craft; and to discuss what is meant by partisan, policy, and system politics.
Discussion
In order to understand the deeper concepts of public administration, it is first essential to understand the definition of the term. Rouse and Berkley (2003) tell us that the concept produced within the mind of an individual upon hearing the term 'public administration' may seem conceptual and ordinary at first glance. However, this idea changes with a little exploration into the term and what it means. According to them, "Public means the citizens of a given area-the people of a town, county, state, or country. If an issue is considered in the public domain, information and discourse about that issue are available to the people and can be known to all. The word 'public' also refers to activities the state administers on behalf of the entire community" (Rouse & Berkley, 2003, pg. 4).
Rouse and Berkley also let readers know that serving the people is the job of public administrators. "Organized collectives of citizens constitute a variety of public communities in the United States." These include national, state, and local governments, townships, state recreation areas, public utilities, school, sanitary, water districts, public libraries and parks, public defenders, public roadways, and public students (Rouse & Berkley, 2003, pg. 4).
There is much debate regarding whether public administration should be considered a craft, art, or science. First it is essential to look at the definitions; a craft is "the skilled practice of a practical occupation or a skill in an occupation or trade" (Wikipedia, 2008, pg. 1). Art is a "skill that is attained by study, practice, or observation" (Wikipedia, 2008, pg. 1). Science is "knowledge gained through study or practice; mastery of a particular discipline or area" (Wikipedia, 2008, pg. 1). Based on these definitions, the practice of public administration appears to be a craft since the aforementioned aspects of public administration reflect skilled practice that is already in effect.
In order to understand the terms partisan, policy, and system politics, it is again essential to take a look at the definitions. According to Wikipedia, "a partisan is a committed member of a party" (2008, pg. 1). The same source defines a policy as a "deliberate plan of action to guide decisions and achieve rational outcomes" (Wikipedia, 2008, pg. 1). Finally, Wikipedia defines system politics (or political system) as "a complete set of institutions, interest groups (such as political parties, trade unions, lobby groups), the relationships between those institutions and the political norms and rules that govern their functions (constitution, election law)" (2008, pg. 1).
Conclusion
The purpose of this paper has been to define 'public administration'; discuss whether its most appropriately seen as an art, science, or craft; and to discuss what is meant by partisan, policy, and system politics. This is a crucial step to perform if Americans are going to understand what is happening in their local communities, regions, and national governments.
Bibliography
"Art". 2008. Wiktionary. Online. http://en.wikitionary.org/wiki/art
"Craft". 2008. Wiktionary. Online. http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/craft
"Partisan Politics." 2008. Wikipedia. Online. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Partisan_politics
"Policy." 2008. Wikipedia. Online. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Policy
"Political System." 2008. Wikipedia. Online. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_system
Rouse, John E. and George E. Berkley. "The Craft of Public Administration." McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Langauages, 9th ed. 12 Mar 2003.
"Science." 2008. Wiktionary. Online. http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/science Read More
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