Woodrow Wilson’s essay, “The Study of Administration” (1887), is about the separation of politics and administration in public administration. There is still a lot of debating among politicians and scholars alike whether this dichotomy is practical or not. There are some advantages and disadvantages about this theory. Wilson believed that it was needed to discover what the government could successfully do and how it could be done more efficiently; that the government needed to be reformed. He developed this theory because of increased corruption, urbanization and immigration.
Due to these issues, he believed that less qualified people were getting public service jobs, therefore contributing to the increasing inefficiency of public administration. Wilson felt that politics should determine what the government should actually do and be decided by elected representatives. He believed administration should be the ones to put these policies into effect by appointed civil servants. In a euphoric world a political administration dichotomy would provide a solid foundation to a nation. It could even be beneficial in a society that is evolving; such as Administration and Politics Dichotomy 2 ne coming out of a third world status, the fall of a dictatorship, or even the overthrow of communism or socialism. This form of government can work well at a small town environment where there is a town manager to run the day to day operations of the community and a board of alderman (possibly also known as town council) that creates the laws the community operates under. That being said, it is my opinion that in today’s United States of America, separating politics and administration is not something that can be done successfully.
Throughout the years politics has become more complicated, which means the line etween them has become very blurry. All levels of the government have come to rely on each other more and more. For example, every day new policies and laws are made or amended, and that means more people on more levels need to be consulted. Life is ever- changing, and so are all of the policies. The major advantage of implementing political administration dichotomy is politicians and administrators would be operating of the same philosophy of doing the right thing and not off of doing what each political party says. It could provide rationale Administration and Politics Dichotomy 3 or insulating the practice of public administration from political interference. A disadvantage of implementing a political administration dichotomy at the national level in a modern industrial nation that was previously run by a democratic government, such as the United States of America, would require having an exclusive relationship between the politicians who create political policies and the public administrators who oversee the administrative processes. This would remove the check and balance system established in the United States Constitution. These checks and balances have become the foundation of law in this country.
Wilson’s public administration dichotomy theory would make the governmental life so much simpler. Unfortunately, the world and the people in it are anything but simple. To believe that we could have one group of people make up the policies, and another to put those in to action without those people relying on each other’s opinions and knowledge is absurd. The idea is so simple, but implementing it would be so complicated. The debate about the practicality of this dichotomy had been going on since it was written in 1887, and will probably still Administration and Politics Dichotomy
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