Public managers carry out the managerial operations of public organizations. In practice, public management is meant to improve the quality and efficiency of services delivered by public organizations. Managers interpret the public policy to implement public services in ways that are expected to achieve the most desirable outcomes for the interests they serve.
Public managers can operate in two different areas: the internal and external management of public organizations.
Internally, public managers must understand how to manage risk and change within their respective organizations. This demands that they stay informed of societal conditions that may impact their organizations’ ability to function optimally. By acknowledging those risks, managers can act accordingly, taking preemptive measures to diminish identified risks and prepare their staff to adapt to the instability those adverse conditions may have on the organization.
Externally, public management entails leading efforts to collaborate with private groups to support the adoption of public policy. In this capacity, public managers work with private citizens and other public organizations to keep public programs running smoothly. To do this, managers perform tasks such as coordinating public human resources to assist with specific projects or helping certain communities secure the necessary financing to implement public programs.
Types of Public Administration Theory
Public Administration Theory recently has been divided into three branches. The three branches are, Classical Public Administration Theory, New Public Management Theory and Postmodern Public Administration Theory. Each of these three branches study Public Administration from a different perspective. These types of theories are some of the ways which an administrator can understand and exercise their duties as a public administrator.
Classical Public Administration Theory
Classical Public Administration is often associated with Woodrow and Max Weber . In the United States, Woodrow Wilson is known as ‘The Father of Public Administration’ , have written “The Study of Administration” in 1887, in which he argued that a bureaucracy should be run like a business. Wilson promoted ideas like merit-based promotions, professionalization, and a non-political system. Sympathy can lead to downfall in an administration, means there should be pragmatism in bureaucracy.
New Public Management Theory
New Public Management a set of administrative practices, a consulting fad, and a body of theory that interprets recent developments in public administration. Many scholars argue persuasively that scholars should pay more attention to New Public management as a theory than as a fad. New public management is part and parcel of the massive intrusion of freemarket values into public space, which threatens to drive out political values altogether. In this sense, new public management is the radical opposite of the notion of migrating political values into “private” space in the interest of further democratizing society. However, new public management theory fails to addresses political questions in a meaningful way. This theory looks at public administration from its roots of capitalism, and goes on through the perspective of global capitalism. Intentional or not, new public management has served the interests of elites, particularly corporate elites, has degraded the ability of governments to address the public interest, and has served as a vehicle for elevating the apolitical governance of free trade and other supranational organizations, which have fully embraced the political philosophy of economic rationalism and new managerialism.
Career Outlook for Public Administration and Public Management
Because the fields of public management and public administration are closely linked, many universities roll public management coursework into their Master of Public Administration programs. Public management concepts taught in such programs (e.g. public human resource management or financial management in government) are often built into the curriculum for public administration. This gives graduates the opportunity to develop the practical knowledge they need to excel at management or administrative positions in government or nonprofit organizations. Upon graduation, educated public administrators may join the ranks of political scientists, public administrators, city managers, and similar professionals who impact public policy in modern societies.
In practice, there is no conflict pitting public administration vs. public management; rather, it’s about the partnership of public administration and public management. The success of the public policy depends on the effective application of both disciplines by public organizations and dedicated professionals. A Master of Public Administration program usually offers coursework in both public administration and public management, empowering students to develop the multifaceted public leadership expertise valued by forward-thinking employers in the public sector.