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Public administration, or public policy and administration (the academic discipline) is the collective process through which public policy is created and implemented. It is also the subfield of political science that studies this policy process and the structures, functions, and behavior of public institutions and their relationships with a broader society. Public administration students generally take up employment across the public sector and non-profit civic sector, but also have opportunities to work in the for-profit private sector as well, especially in roles related to civil service, think tanks, politics, government relations and lobbying, public relations, regulatory affairs and regulatory compliance, consulting, trade associations, corporate social responsibility (CSR), environmental, social, and governance (ESG), public procurement (PP), public-private partnerships (P3), and business-to-government marketing/sales (B2G).
|Part of the Politics series
Some of the definitions that have been offered for the term include: "the management of public programs"; the "translation of politics into the reality that citizens see every day"; the study of government decision-making; the analysis of policies; the various inputs that have produced them; and the inputs necessary to produce alternative policies. In nearly every sphere of social, economic, and political life, there is administration. The concept that the proper functioning of an organization or institution relies upon effective management forms a basis for the idea of studying and applying public administration. The field is multidisciplinary, and proposals for its subfields often highlight six pillars: human resources, organizational theory, policy analysis, statistics, budgeting, and ethics.
During the 1880s, United States civil servants (prominently including future president Woodrow Wilson) and academics began a concerted effort to overhaul the American civil service system and elevate public administration to the status of a scientific discipline.
The mid-twentieth century saw the ascendancy of German sociologist Max Weber's bureaucracy theory, and with it a substantive interest in the theoretical aspects of public administration. The 1968 Minnowbrook Conference, convened at Syracuse University under the leadership of Dwight Waldo, gave rise to the concept of New Public Administration, a pivotal movement within the discipline today.
Public administration is sometimes mistakenly equated with bureaucracy. However, bureaucracy, as a specific organizational form, extends beyond government entities, encompassing private and third-sector organizations. As an academic discipline, public administration is dedicated to the systematic organization, formulation, and execution of public policies directed toward the welfare of the populace. Within a political context, its primary objective is to realize goals established by political decision-makers, placing particular emphasis on the intricacies of public bureaucracy.
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