Administration and Politics Dichotomy
Catherine R Durham
Politics-Administration Dichotomy has different purposes that shows the field of administration is a field of business. Politics is a process where among the politicians where disagreements and conflicts are worked out; at the end of this process, laws and policies through legislation are formed. The purpose of these policies and laws guides or directs the public administration of how to serve the people. Public administrators applies this skill and knowledge and is called expertise. In understanding the dichotomy, “administration lies outside the proper sphere of politics” (Wilson, 1887). ...view middle of the document...
S. government, “separating the will of the people from politics” could be extremely beneficial and institutionally separating administration from politics that could prove valuable in sustaining governmental accountability. This leads to political neutrality (Goodnow, 1900). For example, in minimizing the influence of partisan politics, Arnold Fleischmann’s case study of rezoning decisions in Atlanta, Georgia for a year to describe and show how professional administrators provides the expertise and minimize partisan policies (1989). Fleischmann stated, “one can test the widely view politics prevail over expertise or objectively in deciding rezoning cases by examining the extent to which staff and planning commission recommendations are followed by elected officials” (1989).
If politicians were really trying to please the constituents, one would anticipate the staff recommendations to be adopted more regularly by the appointed planning commission than the city council members or county commissioners. Planning commission adopted 77.2% of the staff recommendations while the others (govern bodies) adopted only 66.6%. Majority of the staff recommendations were adopted by both planning commissions and governing bodies. Based on Fleischmann’s case study, elected officials made decisions concerning the public interest as a whole instead of one particular interest (Fleischmann, 1989).
As the other side of the sphere where politics includes all what we know as policy making, then the dichotomy would banned administrators including city managers from participating. Based on the government operating as a business with the concepts “everyone has a boss”, which means everyone has to answer to someone, so by now the administrators and politicians are more concerned about who’s funding/appointing them instead of having a policy that would help the people. For example, some authors believe a return of the dichotomy with emphasize on privatization, decentralization and productivity (Uveges & Keller, 1997). According to Wilson, the politics-administration dichotomy points to a more efficient way to separate political and administrative functions than them integrated as traditionally has been the case in more countries. The function is that the politicians deals with the “expression of the will of the people” and the administration deals with the “execution of the will of the people”. The politics deals with politicians and...