Politics And Administration Dichotomy Essay

The issues of politics and administration dichotomy first raised by Woodrow Wilson continue to generate debate among scholars of public administration in modern time. While some think Wilson’s idea was useful, others reject the idea as impossible. In a 2-3 page paper, and in your opinion

  • is that distinction practical and workable?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of using such a dichotomy today as a way to advance that field of study?
  • Support your case with examples.

Politics And Administration Dichotomy – Sample Essay

The concept of politics and administration and the role of public administration in a apolitical process has attracted widespread criticisms and discussions since it was introduced in the 1800s. According to (Neumark, 2011), the U.S president introduced the concept of separation of public administration from politics, termed as administration-politics dichotomy. However, the distinction between the two disciplines has a number of implications regarding its practicability.

The Practicability of Politics and Administration Dichotomy

Although the initial efforts by Woodrow were to create distinction between the political office and the administrative units, the politics and administration dichotomy posses many practical challenges and is not practical. According to Woodrow, the political aspects of a state are concerned with policy formulation, while the administrative aspects are concerned with the execution of the policies. However, it is hard, even in the present governments to find a political office that is separated from its arm of the administration.

The legislative arm of the government develops most of the political policies and the executive arm carries execution. However, there can only be continuity between the politics and administration (Demir, 2007). It would be impractical to shield completely the administration from the executive arm of the government. In fact, the initial objectives of the independence of the two arms were to shield the administrations from the politics. However, in practical realities, it is so hard to shield the administration, which is tasked with the purpose of implementing what the politics has designed. The most practical separation between the administrative and executive spheres would be in form of shielding of the administration from the partisan influence of the executive arm of the governments. Therefore, in my opinion, it would be impractical to completely separate politics from administration, but only a separation of partisan influence on the same is possible.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of using Administration and Politics Dichotomy in Advancing the Field of Study

The separation of administration from politics has one major advantage. According to (Montjoy & Watson, 1995), the separation of politics from the administration had created a clear distinction between the public administration and politics. The two disciplines have been separated as departments in the colleges and universities. This has allowed the two disciplines to grow and focus more on their areas of specialization, other than when the two were merged. Initially, the merging of politics and public administration not only created confusion but also led to amalgamation of politics and administration into one discipline without considering their diversity in professional application. The other advantage is that the Woodrow proposal of separation of politics from administration provides a new perspective from which a country can be governed

However, the biggest disadvantage of separation of politics from public administration arises in form of a clash in cultures. As noted in an extensive research by (Neumark, 2011), the separation of politics from public administration has led to each discipline to employ a different paradigm, which essentially has caused culture clash. According to the author, the cultural conflict often results from the different views adopted by a political scientist from that of a public administrator. The different paradigms adopted by the two disciplines offers a major setback to the growth of the politics-administration dichotomy as a discipline.


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