The Role of Public Administration in Society

Posted on April 14, 2020

To begin with, public administration is one of the necessary aspects of the state that has a great impact on the lives of its citizens. The system of public administration greatly evolved throughout the last decades, and its role in societies is only growing. There are many factors that contribute to such a state of things, from the development of science and technologies to climate change. Public administrators not only carry out the government’s policies and projects, but they also create a system that allows every citizen of the state to meet all of their needs.

Throughout history, the role of public administration in society greatly evolved. At first, the administration was patriarchal, authoritarian, and elitist by nature. Public administration was a common activity for all the countries that practice the concept of a welfare state since ancient times. The welfare state is a state that takes the responsibility of providing a minimum standard of subsistence to all people who live in it (Henry 27). States used to be so-called police states that had only the function of peace and security maintenance. Even though some welfare activities took place at the time, they were completely incidental.

Today, public administration forms the core of modern society and touches people’s lives on all levels. Such development is connected with the emergence of the welfare state. The signif-icance of public administration is growing as different government institutions have become more numerous, and their tasks more complex and multiple (Wamsley et al. 98). The functions of a welfare state expanded to such issues as providing equality of opportunity to all people, erasing the difference between rich and poor, raising standards of living, and many more. As a result, the role of public administration spreads into economic, political, social, and educational areas of society.

There is no doubt that working as a public administrator can be a challenging task in the modern world, but becoming one can provide individuals with the essential knowledge and in-sights that are necessary to work in the field and make a change in the society. One should obtain a wide range of skills and have knowledge in different fields in order to become a public admin-istrator. Public administration has occupied more and more functions within its scope over the last century. Only a few examples include law and order, control of income collection, security systems, such public services as post and telegraphs, and public transportation in cities and towns. Public administration became one of the key instruments of social and economic changes in modern societies.

The critical role of public administration is expressed in the fact that it serves as the basis of government. Governments can exist without a legislature, or even without a judiciary, but that is impossible to build a government without administration (Henry 37). The lack of administra-tion will result in complete uselessness of government that would turn into nothing more than a discussion club. All of the countries need to have public administration regardless of their politi-cal systems in order to be able to implement their public policies. Thus, public administration is the fundamental administrative machinery of a state that is also a unifying moment for all the countries with various political ideologies.

One more crucial function of public administration is that it provides a wide variety of services to the public. For example, the government is obliged to ensure the safety of life and property of the citizens through the maintenance of law and order in the state. If this function is not carried out effectively, society will be functioning under the law of the jungle. Another ex-ample of public administration’s functions is the national defense of the country. If public ad-ministration fails to perform it, the survival of mankind and national independence would be un-der threat, along with opportunities for the progress of social life.

Even though government leaders and public administrators wish to avoid a crisis at all, the probability of possible catastrophes is always possible, and they should predict and plan for those possible catastrophes. Crisis management is one of the key functions of the public adminis-trators that are needed in order to ensure that people in need receive the proper care. Public ad-ministrators are also in charge of the outcomes that follow a crisis in order to reduce the econom-ic impact of a disaster.

The protective functions are not the only ones of the public administration. Facilitative services are also a huge part of public administration activity that includes transportation, com-munications, the supply of power, and many other aspects of people’s everyday lives. Public en-terprises and public utilities are also managed by public administration for the benefit of socio-economic justice. The range of welfare services provided by public administration varies from education and health to social security and housing. There is no doubt that the quality of those services varies and depends on how effectively they are administered. As a result, in times of simpler societies, effective public administration was significant, but in complicated modern so-cieties, effective public administration is essential.

The third crucial function of public administration is the implementation of laws and pol-icies. The government creates the laws and policies that will ensure a proper function of society, but public administration is the mechanism through which those laws are implemented. People’s behaviors are controlled by carrying out those laws, and the specific benefits are delivered to par-ticular beneficiaries. Unless the public administration acts efficiently and honestly, all of the cre-ated laws and policies will be the mere paper declarations of intent. Public administration is the key instrument that translates the laws into real life.

Public administration is also an effective stabilizing factor in society. Law and order con-tinue to exist with a minimum of effort and risk due to the public administration. Public admin-istration aims to carry on the existing order rather than try innovative paths. It secures the tradi-tion and stabilizes society. Every society develops conflicts and tension throughout its existence, and public administration is meant to resolve those conflicts and settle social harmony. While governments can change, public administration continues to exist as a system and provide stabil-ity to society.

While being a stabilizing factor in society, public administration also brings about social and economic changes. Social change and economic development will lose weight without the public administration. Effective public administration is especially crucial for the developing na-tions of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Those nations are mostly traditional with poor econom-ic and emphasis on agriculture. They strive to achieve modernization of society and economic development, which places challenging tasks on public administration (Jreisat 45). However, those goals can be achieved only with the honest and transparent system of public administration. Only with the efforts of competent public administrators, the country could reach the transition from an agricultural society to an industrial one.

Meanwhile, the administrators in the developed countries face other challenges. The de-veloped countries also have problems that are usually more complex and require the use of ad-vanced technological techniques to deal with. Formation of public opinion, influencing public policies and political trends, protection of the weaker sections of society are among the most common issues of the developed nations. Public administration is also becoming more compli-cated and requires more human force to function properly.

Public administration functions are only going to expand in the foreseeable future due to the number of reasons. Welfare states need to plan strategies for the integral development of the personality of its citizens (Henry 40). The advanced progress and development, as well as the absence of problems of different levels of complexity, may be ensured with the efficient public administration. Public administration became the tool of transformations and improvements in modern society. The further development depends of the functions carried out by public adminis-trators.

Public administration does not only play a significant role in modern society, but its im-portance is also increasing in rapid terms. There are several factors that contribute to this growing importance of public administration. Firstly, this is the further development of science and technology. The rapid development of science and technology over the last couple of decades led to the crucial changes in transportation and communication systems. Such inventions as the tele-phone, telegraphs, railways, and many others made the concept of large-scale administration possible. Additionally, the use of mechanical devices led to the disappearance of numerous posi-tions, but also the appearance of new ones that required specialists to adjust and get new skills.

Secondly, the scientific and technological development led to the industrial revolution that caused the outburst of large-scale industries and factory production, and overpopulated cit-ies. Among many advantages, it also led to such negative tendencies as capitalism, unemploy-ment, health hazards, and many more. The governments faced new challenges and problems that needed to be handled, that led to the increasing importance of public administration.

One more factor that contributed to the growing significance of public administration is economic planning. It is one of the ways of achieving economic development and stability. Eco-nomic planning requires skillful and professional administrators as well as complex administrative machinery. Those new responsibilities expanded the area of public administration and increased its importance.

Today, there are a lot of wars and conflicts all over the planet. Countries need well-thought-out strategies in order to mobilize required man-power and resources for leading wars, and it creates new tasks for public administrators. Some of those tasks may even continue even after the end of the war. For example, the various controls and quotes on the distribution and consumption of specific necessary goods introduced at the times of the second world war are still used by the public authorities in India. Thus, governments would not manage to handle numerous conflicts of today without proper public administration systems.

Climate change caused the outburst of different national disasters all over the planet that cause lots of unexpected problems to communities and result in significant damage. Such natural disasters as cyclones or floods strengthened the significance of public administration that usually takes the responsibility of dealing with outcomes in times of crisis. One of the key things is to respond quickly in order to minimize the damage and prevent the loss of lives and properties. Additionally, the public administrators in the developing countries have also deal with social problems, such as caste conflicts, communal, tribal, and ethnic violence, that also increased the role of public administration.

The last couple of decades are known for the outburst of the world’s population, more specifically in the developing nations, which has also contributed to the growing role of public administration. The growth of the population brought to light such issues as lack of food and shelter, inability to get an education, sanitation, and health facilities. The rapid development of large cities and metropolitan cities created the issues of congestion, growth of slums, insufficient water supply, and increasing crimes. Those social and economic issues can only be handled through the efficient system of public administration.

One more factor that contributes to the growing role of public administration is the emer-gence of the welfare state. The welfare states are positive states that are aimed at social service. Their motto is the providing of a good life to the citizens. They strive to be the protectors of peo-ple’s interests and dispensers of social services, managers of major companies and organizations, and regulators of private economic enterprises. None of the mentioned functions can be carried out without the efficient and practical system of public administration.

To sum up, public administration is a key element that ensures the proper function of any state. Public administrators are in charge of any functional aspect, from public transportation to accessible health care for every citizen. The more the states are developing, the more is being dependent on the public administration systems. Thus, the sustained economic growth, promo-tion of social development, protection of the environment would not be possible without proper public administration that would make the development of the state impossible.

Works Cited
Henry, Nicholas. Public administration and public affairs. Routledge, 2017.

Jreisat, Jamil E. Comparative public administration and policy. Routledge, 2019.

Wamsley, Gary L., et al. “Public administration and the governance process.” The Constitutional School of American Public Administration 2016: 98.

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