Lecture Management and Organizational Theory

PAD 3003 Introduction to public administration

This is the book Shafritz, J. M., Russell, E. W., & Borick, C. P. (2013). Introducing Public Administration. (8th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education Inc. ISBN: 978-0-205-85589-6. ISBN: 978-0-205-85589-6


Module Two Chapters 5 & 6



Chapter Five Lecture Honor, Ethics, and Accountability

Niccolo Machiavelli is one of the most influential political writers ever born. His book, The Prince, is a discourse on power and politics and how the strong gain and sustain it. His is the maxim of “the end justifies the means” and his ponderings on how politicians should act out of expediency based on the fact that they will be judged most by the outcomes they produce. His view on the nature of people was primarily that they were evil and self-interested. Since an understanding of human nature is so important in the business and political realm, Machiavelli has become something of a sage in results-oriented leadership.

Honor and duty go hand in hand. Our text brings us the story of Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus, who left his plow in the field and became commander in chief. After 16 days, he was victorious and left his command anxious to return to the farm. There is also a national honor ethic. It is embodied in things such as our national anthem and pledge of allegiance. Additionally, elected officials are considered “honorable” because of the office that they hold.

Although we each have a moral compass that is embedded in us, all of us have fallen short of living a perfect life full of honor and integrity. This however, becomes very troublesome when impropriety enters the realm of public administration. We consider it an abomination when elected officials engage in bribes or preferential treatment for their friends and family. However, we see a distinction between what is corrupt and what is in the best interest of the state or nation. There is such a thing as a “royal lie”, a term coined by Plato in the Republic, in which political actors purposefully deceive for the greater good.

Ethics is something that requires serious thought. Ethics are moral principles that govern a person’s or group’s behavior and influence our every day life. Our textbook points out that there are four levels of ethics. The first is personal morality whereby each individual governs his or her own behavior based on social influences, culture, upbringing, and religious beliefs. Secondly there are professional ethics, which govern the way a person acts within the context of his or her employment. This is different because it adds a layer of morality and cultural assimilation upon the person. The third level is organizational ethics which are the informal and formal rules of an organization. Finally, there are social ethics that are bound relationally on people by society and the culture of the majority.

Much of what has been considered as a code of honor, conduct, and ethics in the United States is based on Judeo-Christian ethics, and primarily the Ten Commandments. This honor was cemented in the national consciousness by images of knights and gentlemen that ordered a code of conduct, called “chivalry” among the nobility. This “noble” code of conduct has led to the cementing of rules of order and the legitimatizing into legislation and laws of the land. What started as generally accepted principles in ethics, eventually becomes a code, then a law. Finally, there is the “spirit of the law” that supersedes the letter of the law to which men and women submit. In the end, you are closer to being back to where you started.

The government of the United States was founded on principles that were written down in governing documents. The very purpose of these documents was to curb the natural ambition of men and women who might utilize their offices for their own personal gain. This is important to understand that the value we have in the United States is in our constitutional documents.

Legislative Oversight by congress in the national government, as well as in the state legislatures, is intended to produce the effect of monitoring for the best interests of the nation. This however, often becomes thwarted when federal government oversight becomes one of two things: 1) political games or witch hunts for the sake of publicity and grandstanding or 2) the oversight for the sake of micromanaging the public administrators, primarily in the executive branch whose task it is to execute the laws of the nation or state, respectively. This becomes even more of a contradictory situation in a campaign cycle.

Take for example, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton who was questioned by a congressional committee for her handling of the attack on the embassy in Benghazi. The fact that there have been hearings on this case, and the committee may be called out for pursuing her for political reasons, may make this a difficult public discourse to follow. Can anyone outside of the folks involved say without a doubt that the intentions of a committee and chair are right and good in pursuing the truth from Secretary Clinton? Can anyone ever say that a lie that may be uttered from Secretary Clinton isn’t a “noble lie”? Who knows what really happened? Will we ever really know the truth? Perhaps not of this play.

Chapter 6 Lecture Management and Organizational Theory

Public management and administration is an ancient vocation. Back in chapter one, we considered perhaps the oldest public administrator in Joseph. The profession developed around the defense of the city and many historians consider the ways in which public administration has been tied to logistics and the military. As the movement of people toward the “civis” or city living increased, so did the need for protecting them through active “civil service.” From the Roman Empire, we gain a still somewhat entrenched view in the United States that service to the state and nation, and especially election to public office, must first be preceded by service in the military.

From the early days of organizing the public administrative sector into an “army,” the field of public administration has seen more and more professional development. Just like anything in life, there are maxims to be followed and theories that seek to explain and simplify, but there can’t be a systematic understanding of public administration because it deals with people. And people are always unpredictable, even while they are often predictable.

This doesn’t mean that there shouldn’t be a principled and scientific approach to understanding public administration and developing its professional credentials. Much of what we have today by way of a principles or foundational approach to the study of public administration is borrowed from military science and history – especially from the French contribution of Antoine-Henri Jomini, one of Napoleon’s generals.

Theories are lenses through which people view the world. Classical organizational theory stretches into business and public administration, and modern day theory has its roots in the industrial revolution in Britain and the United States. Britain and the United States relied heavily on the division of labor in society in business and the general economy. Adam Smith captured this idea in his book An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations and laid the groundwork for what would become a touchstone theory on laissez-faire, or leave alone, capitalism. He laid the framework for self-interested men acting in their own best interests without the manipulation of government as the epitome of a free market or economy.

Now, Adam Smith’s concepts covered in the Wealth of Nations, especially in his consideration of the division of labor, no doubt influenced the thought and work of Frederick Winslow Taylor, the man credited with founding scientific management. Our text quotes Taylor saying that “scientific management does not necessarily involve any great invention, nor the discovery of new or startling facts… “[it] involve[s] a certain combination of elements which have not existed in the past, namely, old knowledge so collected, analyzed, grouped and classified into laws and rules that it constitutes a science”.

Bureaucracy is a word that comes to us from the French and means “office.” German Sociologist Max Weber analyzed the structure of a bureaucracy toward the “ideal” in form and function. He came up with 10 features that included the fact that bureaucrats must be “free as individuals” and can only be “bossed around with respect to their office” and that “functions of their office are clearly specified in writing,” and that there is a hierarchy and upward mobility based on merit. Building on and amidst the shoulders of giants, Luther Gulick submitted a collection of papers entitled Papers on the Science of Administration which gave us the famous mnemonic POSDCORB, or Planning, Organizing, Staffing, Directing, Coordinating, Reporting, and Budgeting. This scientific approach to looking at the functions of administration bled into management theory, social science and behavioral science. Gulick published his work related to POSDCORB in 1937 and marked the end of the classical theories on organization.

Neoclassical, or “New Classic” theories began by an assertion of the “human” element in organizational theory. Herbert A. Simon gave thought to the concept of bounded rationality and “satisficing” which is the idea that people make decisions not based on the sum of all knowledge relative to the thing to be decided, but based on a satisfactory level of knowledge based on the comfortability of the decision maker.

We have already considered how the theories related to public administration are borrowed and bleed over from business and politics, but neoclassical organizational theory takes it a step further by including theories and concepts related to sociology, or the study of human cultures and culture based behavior. These theorists considered the ways in which the built environment and human interaction affected organizational outputs and outcomes. It leads to theories about organizations as “organic” things which live and perhaps even breathe.

Finally we get to a systems approach to organizational theory, which moves from a constructionist view of organizations, that is, taking all of the component pieces and putting them together to get the whole, and more toward a deconstructionist view of the organization, looking at the component parts of the whole and analyzing the data of the system as it’s put together. This theoretical framework lays the groundwork for technological advances, and especially cybernetics, or the science of communications and automatic control systems in both machines and living things.

With the rise of technological warfare, we may at the same time gain insight from the historical writings of Antoine-Henri Jomini even as we understand the new world we live in from someone like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, or Carly Fiorina.

We can be safe when we say that there is nothing that remains exactly the same

PAD 3003 Introduction to public administration

This is the book

Shafritz, J. M., Russell, E. W., & Borick, C. P. (2013). Introducing Public Administration.

(8th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education Inc. ISBN: 978

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