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father of public administration

father of public administration

father of public administration

Hi,welcome to solsarin site, today we want  to talk about “father of public administration”,

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father of public administration

Who is known as the father of public administration and why? Woodrow Wilson  is the father of public administration. He was born in Virginia during the end of world War and called father of

Public Administration due to he’s massive in-depth perspective on what necessitates sound professionalism and good administration. During he’s growing stages he demonstrated sound desire and passion for scholarships. Due to adaptive judgement of learning and desire to make life a better place especially through administration.

In the year 1875 Woodrow Wilson enrolled at Princeton University for a purpose of studying public administration. Princeton’s editor was he’s current position, then later was voted president of baseball on campus,

Wilson who is the father of public administration, then secretary of the baseball association and member of theatrical productions.

Woodrow Wilson in he’s popular publication, titled “The Study of Administration” indicated;  “the main goal of having an administrative study was to ensure there’s discovery that government can successfully do its duties,

then to ensure correct procedures were followed and what’s been done should be achieved with less efficiency, cost and energy .”

father of public administration

He was speaking about administration within any government which should evolve based on its complex features as the world keeps evolving. Who is known as the father of public administration and major contribution to the study of public administration,

collaborated with those of other socialists including max Webber, who coined the terminology Bureaucracy and scientific management by

scientist Frederick Taylor’s creates modern model of public administration.

father of public administration
father of public administration

Woodrow Wilson

Woodrow Wilson remains the only president to hold a PhD. His training in the study of politics and history enabled him to publish many different essays in Political Science Quarterly, including one called, “The Study of Administration,” which is regarded as his most important work.

In that essay, he laid out his belief in a bureaucracy composed of skilled workers chosen based on their merit. Before this idea, workers in the U.S. government’s administration were hired through a system that often valued their loyalty to a political party. When president Wilson instituted his ‘merit-based’ system of hiring, it represented a sea change to national public administration that helped the U.S. bureaucracy became more efficient.

Also in the essay, “The Study of Administration,” Wilson developed the idea that politicians should create policy, while administrators should help them implement, regardless of party affiliation. This theory is known as the policy/administration dichotomy. This idea from Wilson, along with his belief that the nation’s administration should run like a business, dramatically changed the way government functioned during his presidency and beyond.

Academic Career

Wilson was appointed to teach at Bryn Mawr and Wesleyan. He achieved his dream job, a professorship at Princeton, in 1890. In 1902, he became the university’s 13th president. It was largely due to Wilson’s efforts that the College of New Jersey evolved into the prestigious Princeton University.

In addition to a focus on innovative curriculum upgrades, he was often voted the most popular teacher on campus, renowned for his caring demeanor and high ideals. But it was his oratory skill that brought him renown beyond the university setting. Wilson’s first stroke occurred while at Princeton in May 1906, seriously threatening his life.

A scrupulous scholar, Wilson’s books include a biography of George Washington and the five-volume History of the American People.

Political ambitions and university politics had transformed Wilson into a social Democrat, and he was tapped for the governorship of New Jersey in 1910. A determined reformer, his successes made him the darling of Progressives preceding his election to the presidency in 1912.

father of public administration
father of public administration

How did public administration start?

Early systems. Public administration has ancient origins. In antiquity the Egyptians and Greeks organized public affairs by office, and the principal officeholders were regarded as being principally responsible for administering justice, maintaining law and order, and providing plenty.

The Skills to Lead

After his undergraduate education, Wilson pursued law, though his interest laid primarily in politics. However, with his scholarly credentials, he soon found himself teaching political economy and public law at Bryn Mawr College, before accepting a professorship at Wesleyan University.

Two years later, in 1892, he accepted a professorship at Princeton where he was a popular, well-liked member of the faculty. 12 years later, he became the president of Princeton,

where he was noted for his sweeping administrative changes that doubled the staff of the university while shrinking class sizes and improving instruction. After that, he became governor of New Jersey before finally being elected President of the United States in 1912.

“The state exists for the sake of society.”

While he was still pursuing his graduate studies, Wilson published “The Study of Administration,” his landmark treatise on public administration. For Wilson, the object of administrative study was “…to discover, first, what government can properly and successfully do, and, secondly, how it can do these proper things with the utmost possible efficiency and the least possible cost either of money or of energy.” In so doing, Wilson laid out four key observations regarding public administration that still form the backbone of the discipline.

father of public administration
father of public administration

What is the origin of public administration?

Public administration has ancient origins. In antiquity the Egyptians and Greeks organized public affairs by office, and the principal officeholders were regarded as being principally responsible for administering justice, maintaining law and order, and providing plenty.

What are the types of public administration?

Generally speaking, there are three different common approaches to understanding public administration: Classical Public Administration Theory, New Public Management Theory, and Postmodern Public Administration Theory, offering different perspectives of how an administrator practices public administration.

What are the stages of public administration?

Since inception, it has passed through various stages of evolution to reach in its present form. Broadly, five stages viz. the Politics/Administration Dichotomy, the Principles of Administration, Criticisms and Challenges, Crisis of Identity and Public Administration as an Independent Discipline have been identified.

Administrative Science

Wilson believes that administration is eminently a science. This was made clear when he said that the science of administration is the latest fruits of the study of the science of politics. Later, in one of his essays, he says that, we are having now what we never had before, a science of administration. Wilson was critical about the fact that not much scientific method was to be discerned in American administrative process. As a matter of fact, he felt there were no clear concepts of what constitutes good administration.

According to him, this was so because administrative science was first developed in Europe by French and German academics. Consequently, administration developed to meet the requirements of compact States and centralized forms of European governments. The reason for growth of administration on European soil, according to Wilson is two-fold.

First, as government in European countries where independent of popular assent, there was more government and secondly, the desire to keep government a monopoly made the monopolists interested in discovering the least irritating means of governing. He further opines that if one wants to use the concepts of European administrative science in other countries, including America, one has to radically change its aims, thoughts and principles (Waldo, 1995).

Administrative Science

One reason for the slow progress in the Science of Administration in America according to Wilson was the existence of popular sovereignty. Wilson felt that, it was more difficult to organize administration in a democracy than in the monarchy. He strongly believed that unless a nation stop stinking with the constitution, it will be very difficult to concentrate on the administration.

He wanted the debates on constitutional principles to be set aside as they are of little practical consequences and that, one should try to systematically analyze and understand the science of administration. Wilson aptly observed that it is more difficult to run a constitution than to frame one.

father of public administration
father of public administration

Administrative power and its relationship with democracy

According to Wilson’s article, administrators must be given great power and discretion in order to perform their roles effectively and efficiently. For Wilson, this is an essential feature of administrative government,

and preferable to a system that minimizes or divides and thus limits the power of administrators:

And let me say that large powers and unhampered discretion seem to me the indispensable conditions of responsibility. Public attention must be easily directed, in each case of good or bad administration, to just the man deserving of praise or blame. There is no danger in power, if only it be not irresponsible. If it be divided, dealt out in shares to many, it is obscured; and if it be obscured, it is made irresponsible. 

Administrative power and its relationship with democracy

Wilson argues that public opinion and democracy have a place and a say in administrative government,

but that this influence ought to be limited, and administrators need to be trusted with a great degree of discretion:

What part shall public opinion take in the conduct of administration? The right answer seems to be, that public opinion shall play the part of authoritative critic. But the method by which its authority shall be made to tell? Our peculiar American difficulty in organizing administration is not the danger of losing liberty,

but the danger of not being able or willing to separate its essentials from its accidents. Our success is made doubtful by that besetting error of ours, the error of trying to do too much by vote. Self-government does not consist in having a hand in everything,

any more than housekeeping consists necessarily in cooking dinner with one’s own hands. The cook must be trusted with a large discretion as to the management of the fires and the ovens. … The problem is to make public opinion efficient without suffering it to be meddlesome.


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