Public administration refers to the development, implementation as well as the study of the various branches of a states or government’s policy. It is the pursuit of public good through enhancement of civil society and also ensuring that the public service is well run in a fair and effective manner. The role of public administration is undertaken by public servants employed in various public agencies and departments and they are located at all government levels.
They perform various tasks which include collection and data analysis, drafting of legislation, monitoring budgets, executing activities which are legally mandated by the state or government and developing public and government policies. Public administrators may serve as analysts, managers, while administrators like the auditors, may serve in the front line positions such as border guards and parole officers or as executives of the state in various agencies and government branches. Public administration is sometimes used to refer to an academic field for example political science.
This is a new multidisciplinary field which draws its concepts and theories from political science, economics, administrative law, sociology and management. Its main goals are to improve equality, efficiency, equality and effectiveness while offering public services (Beldia, n. d). Private administration on the other hand refers to the running of privately owned businesses which are usually founded on the profit motive. Unlike in public administration, private administration decisions and policies are meant to benefit the owner of an entity rather than the public.
In academic terms, some of the fields in private administration include business administration and business management courses (Anderson, n. d). The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the main differences between public and private administration in terms of their structures and operations. Public vs. Private Administration There are various differences between the public and private administration which lies mostly on the motives, goals, mission and political influence on the management of the public and private sectors. The major difference lies in the goals and organizing principles of public and private administration.
Private administration usually have a well defined and formulated mission statement which is usually based on the profit motive, growth of an enterprise and long term survival of an organization. As mentioned earlier, private sector or administration is built on the profit maximization goal and all policies and strategies are formulated to ensure that this objective or mission is accomplished. On the other hand, public administration has what can be termed as ambiguous goals and purposes. Public administration or sector is not based on profit maximization goal, but rather it aims at improving the services which are offered to the public.
Ambiguity of the purposes of public administration arises due to the bureaucracies that are involved during decision making process and various agencies involved in making or formulating policies which usually overlap. Also, the vagueness in which public policies are enacted makes the purposes of public administration to be more ambiguous. However, despite the fact that public institutions are not founded on the profit motive like the private institutions, this does not mean that managers and employees in the public sector are totally unconcerned with these institutions’ financial matters.
Just like the private sector, public institutions and units also organize and look for funding as well as influence (Davis & West, 1978). Another difference between the public and private administration lies in the decision making process. In public administration, all decisions which are made are pluralistic in nature. Public administration is rooted in democracy and all decisions are made in a political environment which calls for maximum participation for all concerned members.
Open debates are involved in the decision making process and decisions are reached in a multiple veto points. Multiple veto points is a hierarchy of decision making where by ideal and informed decisions for any level are made after a consensus is achieved. In public administration, no single person or manager, no matter the office he or she holds has the capacity of making decision on behalf of his office or to make policies without consulting all concerned members of that particular institution (Riekert, 1991).