After reading the bulk of files downloaded from the internet about Public Administration and Public Management, I tried to analyzed their respective definitions and I realized that these two contexts have similarities and differences with each other. I also feel so interested to further dig up this subject matter for me to be able to clearly distinguish and how substantial one theory from the other.
This subject matter is important to me because I believe as a public servant I have to know the various approaches of these two theories which I normally and sometimes unknowingly practices when engaging to different stakeholders. In Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word “public” refers to the people as a whole or particularly the populace. When I “administer” my men into combat, I make sure that they are well-prepared mentally, physically and emotionally. I used the word “administer” because according to the dictionaries, “administer” is synonymous to direct, to lead or to control.
Logically, combining these words would simply give Public Administration the meaning “directing the people”. But if you search it in the open source like the Wikipedia, Public Administration is defined as the organization and implementation of government policies and programs as well as the behaviour of the people responsible for the conduct. As a military official, I am responsible in implementing the standards, policies and programs in our organization.
Truly, many of the jobs of elected and unelected government officials are also done by our organization in similar ways with regard to allocating funds, personnel administration, decision-making, planning and exercising our authority in accordance to the constitution. This is the reason why I can say that our respective jobs are similar but different in methods and in purposes as well. Many would also say that being a military official, you must be knowledgeable with the different staff works in the organization.
In other words, you must be what they call “Jack of all trades, master of none”. You must be competent enough with many skills as regard to the field of profession you have. I am not far from being the head of a city, a director of an agency, a chairman of a council or a public administrator. We are all public servants whose goal is to achieve long-lasting peace and security so that progressive developments in the area would increase and further improve the lives of the citizens that we are serving.
I am happy to say that with the active partnership of our organization with the Local Government Units we effectively anticipate the need of our people especially in Bohol. On the other hand, defining the word “Public Management” brings me into confusion. For me, management is closely synonymous to administration. I just usually heard the word “management” in business world and sometimes to my hard-working friends who need “time management”. Basically, management has a very wide scope in terms of definition.
In Merriam-Webster dictionary, management refers to judicious use of means to accomplish an end. Manager is the one who conducts or supervises an enterprise or management. Does it mean, based from the above-mentioned definition, Public Management is the utilization of the populace in order to accomplish something? Well, according to the definition given by Jan-Erik Lane, “public management is the insertion of management perspective into the public sector”.
In addition to that, he said that public management focuses on efficiency, effectiveness, flexibility, adaptation and profitability. These objectives are greatly relevant and besides the public interest are served, according to him. In contrary to Public Administration, Public Management is like a business wherein efficiency and effectiveness are the primary requirements for the success of the governance. There are no strict rules involve as long as decision-making is possible whatever situation is given.
Unlike in Public Administration where the heads are held responsible to everything they do, Public Management is practicing secrecy in order to enhance innovation. Comparing these two contexts would challenge anyone because as far as I assess this matter, debate would arise not only in the political world but also in business world. Hence, it is not impossible that these two theories would meet in one arena to contest which one is the best. And now I understand why some of the politicians we have nowadays are trying to be a businessman.
I am a not sure how they will simultaneously work on that. When politics and business meets, it is another matter to debate on. It is the public interest versus self-interest. It is a question of public service to the welfare of our citizen not the profit you gain in the projects. But on the other end of the string, I am open to the fusion of Public Administration and Public Management in the governance as long as it would create sustainable developments and improve the quality of life of our citizens.