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Q. “Public and Private administrations are two species of the same genus, but they also have special values and techniques of their own.” Comment.

The dichotomy between Public and Private administrations dates back to the starting of administrative studies. .The classical writers held the view that public and private administrations are the undifferentiated members of the genus administration. Henri Fayol, for example says that there is only one administrative science which can be applied equally well to public and private sectors. But then no private organization can hold as much as responsibility for public, as a public organization can hold.

Both public and business administration rely on common techniques relating to planning, organization, budgeting, delegation, control and the like.

Public and Private Administration

There are many similarities between Public and Private administration:

  • Both adopt almost same methodology and processing as far as financial administration is concerned.
  • Both adopt POSDCORB as managerial technique.
  • There is same approach towards scientific inventions.

But again, public accountability is the hall mark of public administration in a democracy, which a private administration cannot afford to hold in any way. A public official carries on his work in a “glass bowl”. His actions are open to public review and scrutiny at all times. His activities must be guided by public needs and opinion.

Further public administration operates in large scale administration. The activities and policies of government affect the entire socio-economic structure of the society. It employs large army of officials and spends huge amount of money to carry out its numerous programmes and policies. Thus private organization is of no match here against public administration.

Again certain public services such as national security, law and order, health care, transport and communications are vital to the existence of community itself, which no private organization can ever do in a similar way. They also enjoy special values and techniques which are unique to public and private administration:

  • They have different orientation towards political direction.
  • There is also difference in their approach towards public accountability.
  • There is also difference in terms of financial control as public administration is subject to control by par­liament.
  • There is also difference in terms of flexibility as the private administration is generally very flexible while the public administration is considered as rigid and opaque.

This dichotomy has taken many turns. And now through new public management, Good governance, entrepreneurial government, the public and private administrations are coming closer to each other.

Public Administration Q/A

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