A New Vision For Public Administration

1603 words - 7 pages

Review of “A New Vision for Public Administration”
Charles T. Goodsell
Public Administration Review, 66.4, July/August 2006: 623:635


The theme of the article by Goodsell is illustrating “how public administration in the United States can be seen on its own terms, and not those of others” (p. 634). This article argue that the professors and practitioners of the field have inadvertently allowed it to be observed and interpreted from standpoints imposed by others who are external to its institutions and subject matter (p. 623). These include elected officials and politicians and a variety of critics supporting programs for improvement. The representations of the field expected ...view middle of the document...

624). The state perceives public administration from the perspective of centralized, combined control by the chief executive. The market sees it in terms of private area standards and the principles of commerce. Civil society's viewpoint is that the field's self-governing prospective is apprehended through direct impact over government by those affected by it.


The author provides a brief and attentive summary of the major findings through a trio of conceptual categories. The three categories he analyzes are: States view on public administration, Market view on public administration, and Civil Society’s view on public administration. Public administration centers on matters of branded control under state’s view. This is controlled from the top and if the top person in charge is a tyrant, then the control is made unconditional by intimidations and eliminations. “In a democracy, the situation is more complicated: Laws and elections must be honored, a free press tolerated, and, in America, the separation of powers and divisions of federalism dealt with” (p. 624).

Public administration centers on matters of branded control under state’s view. This is controlled from the top and if the top person in charge is a tyrant, then the control is made unconditional by intimidations and eliminations. “In a democracy, the situation is more complicated: Laws and elections must be honored, a free press tolerated, and, in America, the separation of powers and divisions of federalism dealt with” (p. 624). The bureaucracy came to be observed as coextensive with the executive branch of government, under the exclusive direction of the chief executive. Without consulting the Constitution, this was simply assumed to be the case. The Constitution enforces many judicial and legal controls over supervision that check the president's power over administration. Although the president is explicitly designated commander in chief of the army and navy, over civilian matters no such authority exists. At the local level, state administrative eliminated panels in favor of single managers and created gubernatorial budget offices. “Meanwhile, in the arena of intergovernmental relations, the federal grant-in-aid blossomed as a principal means of financing government at the state and local level; and this gave the money-dispensing national executive branch a high degree of dominance over the entire administrative system” (p. 624). Centralized administrative control permits the presidency to apply its proclaimed duty of local policy governance at home and its expected obligation to direct overseas the extensive actions of the world's only global force.

Market sees public administration not as a governmentally absorbed area of joined deed, but as a set of fundamentally noncommercial events open to free-market course and direction. “Flexibility, competition, and entrepreneurship are assumed to be the keys to delivering efficient services in a way that...

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