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1. When considering the concept of public administration, it is crucial to note that there is no universally accepted definition. Rather, the definition of the discipline is contingent upon individual perception, as it encompasses various aspects that contribute to one’s understanding, including its scientific, artistic, and practical components. For my part, I would define public administration as a discipline that is rooted in the activities of the state’s bureaucracy, aimed at creating conditions that facilitate the perpetuation of society and developing the capacities of its constituent elements. Additionally, it is a discipline that is primarily concerned with satisfying collective needs and achieving state objectives through the legal framework of state powers.
Kettl and Fesler (2009) provide simple examples of public administration in action, highlighting the government bureaucracy that is inescapable in our day-to-day lives, such as riding an elevator, catching a trolley, riding Washington’s Metro, and drinking water (p. 21). It is important to note that public administration is the study of “bureaucracy,” a term that has long had negative connotations. Bureaucracy refers to a complex organizational structure of public officials that is often characterized as useless, irresponsible, boring, negative, and inefficient (Kettl & Fesler, 2009, p. 25). Despite this negative perception, citizens have demanded more government since the mid-twentieth century, resulting in the establishment of more administrative agencies, officials, and public spending (Kettl & Fesler, 2009, pp. 22–23).
Public administration is a discipline that is shaped by various factors and forces, with (1) time and (2) culture and space being two of the most significant ones (Kettl & Fesler, 2009, p. 38). These variables are intricately related and have played a crucial role in shaping the discipline. Public administration has a long and rich history, and it has been utilized by a wide range of governments, including monarchies, dictatorships, old empires, and democracies in both developed and developing countries (Kettl & Fesler, 2009, p. 38). As a result, deep traditions and cultural norms have significantly impacted administrative actions, making it essential to consider these factors when analyzing public administration. Furthermore, the rapid pace of social change has further emphasized the importance of examining time and space in the context of public administration. This is because these variables can significantly affect how public administration is practiced and how it adapts to changing circumstances. Therefore, it is crucial to consider these factors when studying and analyzing public administration.
2. In order to gain an understanding of the actions and methodologies employed by the government, it is suggested by Kettl and Fesler (2009) that consideration be given to three overarching implications: (1) the level, (2) the function, and (3) the providers of goods and services (p. 66-67). The first implication highlights the fact that government responsibilities and roles differ depending on the level of governance involved, whether at the federal, state, or local level. For example, the federal government is primarily focused on defense and transfer of function issues, whereas local governments prioritize the direct provision of goods and services. State governments, on the other hand, not only provide goods and services but also administer subsidies from the federal government and act as intermediaries for the allocation and transfer of funds (Kettl & Fesler, 2009, p. 67).
The second implication specifies that different administrative approaches are required depending on the function being carried out. Direct provision of goods and services involves mostly internal administrative actions while administering transfer programs requires extensive external action (Kettl & Fesler, 2009, p. 67). Finally, the third implication highlights that the government’s task varies depending on who provides the goods and services. At present, intergovernmental grants, loan programs, contracts, and tax expenditures provide many services that the government does not directly offer. Consequently, administrative work is external to the government bureaucracy, which makes it challenging for public officials to be held accountable for programs that are not under their direct control (Kettl & Fesler, 2009, pp. 67-68).
3. According to Max Weber’s Bureaucracy (1925), modern public officials perform their functions through six distinct characteristics. The first characteristic is the principle of official duties, which are fixed and stipulated in firm rules (Weber, 1925, p. 2). Weber (1925) states that this principle involves three elements: (1) allocation of activities and affairs for regulated bureaucratic objective purposes; (2) the rules are supported by physical, sacred, or otherwise compelling means to ensure that the order is followed; and (3) there must be qualified individuals “for regular and continuing of official duties” (p. 2). The second characteristic of bureaucracy is the hierarchy of positions and levels of authority, where lower positions are subordinated and monitored by higher positions. The third characteristic is that modern offices rely on written documents that are in original or draft form (Weber, 1925, p. 2). Furthermore, this characteristic emphasizes the separation and disengagement of the public from the private: public materials are kept separate from the private possessions of public officials. The fourth characteristic of bureaucracy points out the imprintability of office management, which requires exhaustive and specialized training. The fifth characteristic is associated with the principle that bureaucratic activity requires complete capacity for official work, regardless of whether the obligatory time in office is firmly delimited (Weber, 1925, p. 3). Finally, office management normally proceeds according to “more or less stable, comprehensive, and learnable rules” (Weber, 1925, p. 3).
I concur with Max Weber’s (1925) definition of officials as he expounds on bureaucratic officials’ fundamental and essential characteristics. According to Weber (1925), a bureaucratic official is an individual who aspires to attain greater social esteem than those they govern (p. 4). In countries where there is a strong demand for administration, the social status of these individuals tends to be higher. Additionally, the social position of officials is maintained by “the prescriiptive rules of the hierarchical order and the prohibitions of the penal code against insults and contempt for the authority of the state” (Weber, 1925, p. 4). On the other hand, it is noteworthy that bureaucratic officials receive a regular, typically fixed, compensation, which is not based on the work they perform but rather on their status, in line with their length of service and function (Weber, 1925, p. 6). Also, it should be mentioned that bureaucratic officials begin what Weber (1925) considers a “career within the hierarchical order” (p. 6). In other words, bureaucratic officials are expected to move from lower positions with low compensation to higher positions with greater importance and compensation.
4. When considering the issue of the long-standing disintegration of the national bureaucracy in Kush, it is essential to focus on finding solutions to the underlying causes that render it inoperative and ineffective. According to Updike (1978), two of the main causes of this problem are (1) internal conflicts and (2) corruption. To address the former, it is advisable to negotiate an agreement that takes into account the interests of all parties involved, with the ultimate goal of bringing peace to the nation. In terms of corruption, it is crucial to establish a regime that penalizes non-compliance with obligations regarding transparency and good governance. Additionally, the administrative sphere must be clearly demarcated from the political sphere, and an open government should be promoted to ensure accountability and transparency. Another important step in solving this problem is to inform and reinforce the role of citizens, making it clear that they have a significant role to play in ensuring that the bureaucracy functions efficiently and effectively. This can be achieved by providing them with the necessary information and tools to hold officials accountable and by involving them in decision-making processes that affect their lives. Ultimately, the primary objective of the new bureaucracy must be to provide services and goods to citizens directly or indirectly. This could include essential items such as food supplies and pension checks for the elderly, among other things. By addressing the root causes of the problem and prioritizing the needs of citizens, it is possible to restore order and functionality to the national bureaucracy in Kush.
References
Kettl, D. F., & Fesler, J. W. (2009, November 17). The Politics of the Administrative Process. /courses/179404/files/28078133
Updike, J. (1978). The Coup ( 1978 Adaptation). https://fiu.instructure.com/courses/179404/discussion_topics/1895858
Weber, M. (1925). Bureaucracy . /courses/179404/files/28078152

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