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Q.”… The paradigms of public administration may be understood in terms of locus on focus.” – (Golembiewski). In the light of the above statement describe the “five-paradigms” of Nicholas Henry about the evolution of the discipline of public administration.

Ans: According to Golembiewski, each phase may be distinguished and understood in terms of its locus or focus. ‘LOCUS’ refers directly to the ‘where’, to the contexts that are conceived to yield the phenomena of interest. ‘Focus’ refers to the analytical targets of public administration, the ‘what’ with which specialists are concerned.

Now, Nicholas Henry has described the five paradigms in the intellectual development of Public Administration, in the following manner:

Paradigms 1 : The politics/Administration Dichotomy, 1900-1926

Paradigms 2 : The Principles of Administration, 1927-1937.

Paradigms 3 : Public Administration as political science, 1950-1970

Paradigms 4 : Public Administration as Administrative Science (Management), 1956-70

Paradigms 5 : Public Administration as Public Administration.

Paradigms 1: The Politics/Administration dichotomy, in this phase of Public administration, it is in U.S.A where advocacy of Politics and Administration dichotomy was initiated by Woodrow Wilson. According to him public administration and politics should be separated. Politics should work for framing policies and projects where as Administration should concerned itself with execution part of these policies. And politics should not inferred with Administration.

Paradigms 2: During second Paradigm stage, scholars believed that there are certain principles of administration which could be discovered and applied to increase the efficiency and economy of public administration. They argued that administration is administration of the nature and context of work because the principles of administration have universal validity and relevancy. Hence they claimed that public administration is a Science.

This stage witnessed many scholars who have come up with various principles of administration:

  • Henri Fayol’s Industrial and General Management (1916).
  • P. Follets Creative Experience (1924) etc.

Paradigms 3: Public administration as Political Science, during this stage the main theme was the advocacy of ‘human relations-behavioural approach’ to the study of public administration.

Both the defining pillars of public administration were challenged. It was argued that administration cannot be separated from politics because of its political nature and political role. Administration is not only concerned with implementation of political policy decisions, but also plays an important role in policy formulation-which is the domain of politics.

Paradigm 4: During this stage public administration as Administrative Science (Management) was initiated with the view that public administration should use Principles of Management to achieve pre-determined goals. Through these principles, efficiency and economy of public administration can be enhanced.

Paradigms 5: During this final stage, public administration as public administration evolved by 1970 and onwards. The main theme in this final stage of evolution is the concern for public policy analysis. Public administrations are showing much interest in the related fields of policy-science, political economy, policy-making, policy analysis, and so on.

Public Administration Q/A


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