The Functionality of a Government as well as Effective Governance and Efficient Public Administration are Interconnected: A Discussion

Keywords: Politics- Administration Dichotomy; Complementarity Model; Efficiency and Good governance; Interconnection
The statement that the Functionality of a Government as well as Effective Governance and Efficient Public Administration are Interconnected is attributable to the school that repudiates the dichotomy between politics and administration.
For more than a century, the politics and administration dichotomy debate has been one of the most disreputable issues in the field of public administration. The politics-administration dichotomy has had a strange history in public administration. It expands and contracts, rises and falls, but never to go away (Svara & Overeem, 2006: 121).
If truth be told, the difference between politics and administration is really hard to tell as the former heavily influences the latter, or vice versa. Nevertheless the discussion has gone a long way (Jison 2014).

Woodrow Wilson and Frank Goodnow represent the classical proponents of the dichotomy between politics and administration.
Wilson stated four reasons why there should be a science of administration: (1) straighten the paths of government; (2) make its business businesslike; (3) strengthen its organization; and (4) crown its dutifulness (ibid.).
Goodnow argued that certain aspects of administration were harmed by politics and should have been shielded from it. He argued:
“political control over administrative functions is produce inefficient administration in that it makes administrative officers feel that what is demanded of them is not so much work that will improve their own department, as compliance with the behests of the political party” (Goodnow, 1900: 83).
Be these as they may, it should be recognized that Wilson and Goodnow aimed to eliminate the spoils system by freeing administration from political intervention and establishing a merit system in its place. They particularly opposed political appointments and patronage (Caiden, 1984; Fry, 1989; Rohr, 2003; Rosenbloom, 2008).
One can argue that the duo of Wilson and Goodnow couldn’t have advocated politics and administration dichotomy if the spoil system didn’t exist. Suffice to say here is that USA and Britain respectively represented by the two advocates of dichotomy have left the “spoil stage” when politics contaminated administration.
This development has to say the least, invalidated their arguments. Politics today in those countries are clean so that its interaction with administration does not bring contamination but mutual emancipation.
Wilson however in 1966 realized the error in his 1887 position and he shifted grounds.
He originally considered politics and administration as independent, but later embraced version of the dichotomy, which assumed that politics and administration interact to improve the organic state (Martin, 1988).
In this time Wilson asserted that administrators would directly interpret and respond to public opinion. Therefore, they should be involved in the policy process and elected officials should be involved in the administrative process (Wilson, 1966).
The Interconnection between Effective Governance and Efficient Public Administration
Politics and administration are the two sides of a coin. Pfiffner states that in some instances, politics and administration are so intermingled that a clear distinction is difficult (Public Administration: Concepts and Theories; N.D).
To illustrate, the legislative veto and oversight function of the Philippine Congress can be viewed as a manifestation of how it can act like and share the authority of administration with the executive branch. Also, the exclusive power of the President of the Philippines to introduce the budget proposal to the Congress shows how the President can play a preeminent role in policy agenda (Jison 2014). Such is the case in Nigeria too.
Those that attempted separation of politics and administration tend to ignore the central pursuit of public administration by improving the instruments of collective action and creating conditions for the emergence of good civil society (Public Administration: Concepts and Theories; Op. Cit.).
It follows therefore to mean that good governance is the product of the collective action between government and efficient public administration.
Gladden lays down three general characteristics of an efficient system of public administration:
1.      It must be capable of meeting the functional aims for which it has been brought into being.
2.      It must be able to meet the long term changes postulated both by the alterations in the social environment and by the general development of administrative technique.
3.      It must, while conforming to a centralised plan, be capable of meeting the various special demands of the separate departmental units (ibid.).
Put differently, administrative success will come to be measured by concrete success in policy implementation. This will require the administrator to be fully involved in the process of choice-making and planning (ibid.).
Here therefore, lies the connection between effective government and efficient public administration: Government strives to achieve good governance and needs public administration to effectively implement its policies; whereas public administration struggles to attain efficiency in its implementation of policies and requires government (politics) to involve it in policy formulation so as to achieve greater understanding of the policy for efficient implementation.
In other words, government can’t achieve good governance without efficient policy implementation while public administration can’t achieve efficient policy implementation without being involved in policy formulation (politics).
Fig. 1.
The interconnection between politics and administration in their pursuit of good governance and efficiency respectively
The interaction between politics and administration has its dangers:
The first part is the political dominance that results from high political control and low administrative independence. This is the condition that has been attacked by reformers from the Progressive Era to the present because of their concern for loss of administrative competence and the potential for political corruption.
The second part is Bureaucratic autonomy that is feared by critics of the administrative state, who argue that administrators are self-controlling and advance agency interests rather than the public interest.
In both situations, Svara explain, either the level of control or independence is extreme, and the key reciprocating value is not present:
Politicians do not respect administrators, or administrators are not committed to accountability.
Politics and Administration Interactions and Complementatrity Model
The problems above were addressed in Complementarity Model. Svara (2001:179-80) explain that the complementarity Model of politics and administration is based on the premise that elected officials and administrators join together in the common pursuit of sound governance. Complementarity entails separate parts, but parts that come together in a mutually supportive way. Complementarity stresses interdependence along with distinct roles; compliance along with independence; respect for political control along with a commitment to shape and implement policy in ways that promote the public interest; deference to elected incumbents along with adherence to the law and support for fair electoral competition; and appreciation of politics along with support for professional standards.
Svara believe that Complementarity recognizes the interdependence and reciprocal influence between elected officials and administrators. Elected officials and administrators maintain distinct roles based on their unique perspectives and values and the differences in their formal positions, but the functions they perform necessarily overlap.
Fig. 2.
Complementarity Model

Complementarity Model shows how the combination of low control and low independence produces a "live and let live" attitude among officials.
This discussion holds that the statement: “the functionality of a government as well as effective governance and efficient public administration are interconnected,” is very valid. The division between politics and administration is as impossible as it is unnecessary since both of them can never exist in isolation. They have been described as the two sides of a coin.
Fully aware of the dangers that could emerge from the interaction of the duo, the Complementarity Model has suggesting a condition that ensures "live and let live."

CAIDEN, G. E. (1984), “In search of an apolitical science of American public administration,” in Politics and administration: Woodrow Wilson and American public administration Rabin, J. and Bowman, J. (Eds.), (pp. 51-76). New York: Marcel Dekker.

FRY, B. R. (1989), “Five great issues in the profession of public administration,” in Handbook of public administration, Rabin,J., Hildreth, W. B, and Miller, G. J. (Eds) (1027-1064). New York: Marcel Dekker.

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MARTIN, D.W. (1988), “The Fading Legacy of Woodrow Wilson”. Public Administration Review, Volume 48:631–636.
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SVARA, J.H and OVEREEM, P. (2006) “Complexity in Political-Administrative Relations and the Limits of the Dichotomy Concept/in Defense of the Dichotomy: A Response to JAMES H. SVARA”, Administrative Theory and Praxis, Volume 28:121-148.
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