This paper describes the politics-administration dichotomy, explains both sides of the debate on whether the politics-administration dichotomy exists in practice or only in theory, gives specific real-world examples.
Politics has dominated society for a long time and in various ways. Politics involves the activities related to attaining positions of governance and exercising the positions that come with the needs of governance. The significant component of politics is the coming up with policies that serve the interests of a section or the entirety of the society. Politics serves as the tool for the making of policies that serve specific interests and goals. Administration, on the other hand, is the arm that deals with the execution of the policies made from through many means, including politics (Overeem, 2017). The two subjects have a great interplay in reality and, therefore, form a basis for discussions on how far they impact on each other. This paper elaborates on the various viewpoints and the reality of the politics-administration dichotomy in society today.
Read also Politics And Administration Dichotomy As Raised by Woodrow Wilson
The politics-administration dichotomy is a phrase that
attempts to posit that politics and administration are different entities that
do not heavily overlap in reality. One of the most significant figures to
support this kind of notion is the former President of the United States,
Woodrow Wilson. Wilson considered politics and administration to be separate
entities and encouraged everyone to approach them as such. He wrote that
administration run like a business and is therefore governed by strict
principles of efficiency that ensures that things are run correctly. However,
he considered politics to be characterized by strife and a lot of hurry, and
therefore, could not work together with the field of administration. The
politics-administration dichotomy is as it tries to delineate the function of
politics and administration. Additionally, it gives an idea of the balancing
act that is needed to achieve both the goals of public administration and those
of politics. The politics-administration dichotomy focuses on the separation of
politics and public administration to ensure that a government fulfills its
democratic duties and for the administration of public functions to be optimum
In practice, there exists a vast repertoire of scenarios
that indicate that there is an actual need for the separation of politics and
public administration. Many developing countries face a situation where there
is an increased relationship between politics and administration. This can be
seen in such countries as Nigeria, Venezuela, and Myanmar. Considering that
politicians in developing countries do not have immense power, they seek to get
to positions of administration of the country to amass the power. The most
influential administrators in these countries are people who have rose through
politics to occupy those positions. It is therefore seen that, although
politics and administration are separate bodies, one is used to achieve the
other. This kind of relationship has been blamed for the sluggish manner with
which the public administration is administered. These governments are laden
with a lot of inefficiencies and corruption, which makes it impossible for
actual developments to be carried out.
However, there is an excellent contrast in what the
theory of politics-administration dichotomy and what happens in society.
Politics and public administration have numerous overlapping avenues where they
both coexist. It can be argued that politics and public administration are
significantly intertwined that none can work without the other (Goodnow, 2017).
It is also evident that both play a more significant role in society than any
combination of other factors. Most administrators, who are experts in their
various fields, have risen to be advisors of politicians who occupy or seek to
fill various political seats. These advisors always have political interests of
their own, and therefore, can only be of assistance to politicians who harbor
the same interests. Additionally, most policies that are enacted by
administrators, such as legislators, often originate from politicians. For
example, Obamacare that was passed in 2010 by the United States Congress was a
policy advanced through political means by President Obama.
I tend to agree with the side that pushes for a more
significant relationship between politics and administration. This is because I
have witnessed many examples that have illustrated how this relationship can be
a force for good in society. For example, it is through persistent political
action by the Democratic Party that members of congress enacted the marriage
equality bill (Mitchell & Petray, 2016). The persistent push for inclusion
must have also positively influenced the court ruling in 2015 that paved the
way for the legalization of gay marriages in the United States. However, I
support the idea of utilitarianism in how this relationship should work. There
should be adequate checks and balances to ensure that even in the presence of a
strong link between politics and administration, there is reduced inefficiency
in service provision to the public.
conclusion, it is apparent that the dichotomy of politics and administration
exists in various societies across the world. However, the reality is that
there is more evidence that the concept is more theoretical than practical.
Politics and administration have close ties, and many policies originate from
either arm. Thus both politics and administration impact profoundly on each
other due to the overlapping of roles.
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