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Is Public Administration an Art or Science?

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There has been a controversy over the status of Public Administration. Some scholars consider it as a science while most of the practitioners of management theory stress that it is an art. Let us considered Public administration as a Science and it has two branches that are “Pure Science” and “Social Science”. Pure Science has the following characteristics the Universality of laws, Exactness of the results based on these laws and predictability of events. The results are in excess to some degree and the events, since they involve human behavior, are also not totally predictable.

So, Public Administration cannot be considered to be a “Pure Science” in its present’s status of understanding. Social Science contains concepts, hypothesis, theories, experimentation, principles, etc. and to develop these principals either inductive approach or deductive approach is used. So Public Administration can be considered to be a Social Science because it contains a body of exact knowledge derived from experiences and observations which are applicable in practical situations.

It has also developed its own body of subject matter as distinct from social science disciplines, though it is inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary. Therefore, Public Administration considered as Social Science, for it deals with human behavior in organizations which is not amendable to experimentation in laboratory conditions, Public Administration is free from values and hence its study can’t be completely objective, while objectivity is the prime criterion for a discipline to be considered as a science.

However, there exists a rival group of practitioners who claim that Public Administration is an Art. Their belief are: Administration requires specialized skills and specialized knowledge and it is not possible for everyone to carry out administration just as it is not possible for everyone to perform a drama or a dance. Administration requires leadership and conviction, which cannot be taught in a class. It requires a body of special talents in the field of administration to become a manager/administrator, for example tactfulness, conflict management and etc.

are such special talents. So to light the above explanations: Public Administration are both Science and Art, though it can make predictions, the predictions are not absolutely correct. It also mean that a contingency approach is required in the practice of administration that is there is a need to modify the science of administration to suit the situation and the apply it. The ability to modify it and to apply it is an art. Public Administration is scientific while its application is an art.

Are ADMINISTRATORS are born or trained?

Administrators are born mostly and not trained. Certain qualities or traits are inborn and some are learnt or acquired. Leadership is one such quality that is mostly seen as inborn and evident from childhood of a person. Certain people are by nature more suited to leadership roles and have an innate ability at people management and administration. Such people rise up in positions of political, business and other institutions. It is truly said there are only two types of people in this world: One the leaders and the other followers.

For example, a master of public administration degree will give you the technical skills you need for a position of leadership. Once you’re on the job, you can work on strengthening your connected leadership skills by finding ways to contribute as much as you can to your organization, even when that means taking on tasks that are not in your job description. Always look for ways to improve your organization, and be willing to learn from the wisdom and experience of others. You’ll need to learn how to manage your time, handle conflict, communicate well, keep your head in a crisis, delegate tasks and earn your team’s loyalty.

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