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Understanding the six pillars of Public Administration can only be possible if we clearly define the subject. Public Administration is basically the implementation of government policies, in which these 6 pillars of public administration are of great importance today.
In the modern-day world, it is often regarded as including also some responsibility for determining the policies and programs of governments, different from the principles of public administration. Specifically, it is the role of public administration which include planning, organizing, directing, coordinating, and controlling government operations. Public Administration stands on 6 pillars of Public Administration which we will delve a bit deeper into, for the purposes of this article.
Top 6 pillars of public administration
The main (six) 6 pillars of Public Administration are Accountability, Legitimacy, Efficiency and Effectiveness, Responsibility, Representation, and Ethics.
As societies became more organized and the control of resources went into the hands of elected government structures, the public became dependent on these governments for services and quality is of importance. Important for providing public good in a cost-effective manner is the main goal of public service. As such constituents hold public administrators highly accountable. Accountability is also a critical pillar that has the power to make or break governments. It requires ethical decision-making, equal representation, legitimacy, efficiency, effectiveness, and responsibility.
For legitimacy to be carried out, public administrators should provide a conducive environment for adequate public involvement. “There must also be opportunities for empirical research and decision making in order to accomplish legitimacy in the state.” Public approval of a state’s power is the determining factor, whether or not it is legitimate. This means public administrators draw their power from the public hence they need to achieve legitimacy which can only happen if they adhere to the requirements of all the other pillars for they are the definition of legitimacy.
According to Dr. Beaumaster, “The person who has the authority and power is legitimate. Legitimacy Power is derived from authority; authority is derived from legitimacy; legitimacy is a moral or normative standing. So whenever that person makes an unethical decision, this will reflect in his power and he may lose it by not following 6 pillars of Public Administration.”
3. Efficiency and Effectiveness
Emphasis on efficiency and effectiveness evolved from the evil of the early days of public administration. Here the government was corrupt and politicians exercised coercive powers in order to get tasks accomplished. This was an attempt to deter corruption in government which birthed a positive principle. Efficiency and effectiveness are criteria to measure performance management in government.
“Performance criteria deter corruptive, unethical behaviors in governance. Too much political control would not enable public administrations to operate effectively and efficiently; therefore, agencies would not be able to accomplish the objectives associated with the other pillars of administration.”
When looking at the pillar in the form of Responsibility in the realm of Public Administration, you will come across a myriad of scholarly emphasis on the importance and reasons for responsible civil servants. Exploring the topic of responsibility and its significance in the field of public service reveals a strong connection between all of the pillars of public administration. The public holds administrators accountable and they cannot act on their own accord.
Elected officials determine the course of action of public servants and this fact is highly relevant to the dichotomy of politics and public administration. In order for public servants to be responsible, they must also adhere to certain values and principles which make them efficient, legitimate, and representative of social equity. “The highest duty of public administrators is to embrace a broad set of obligations and responsibilities that promote the public interest, demonstrate character, advance justice, and seek the greatest good.”
The fundamental building block around representation is the idea of “the people’s will!” It becomes a question of, “Who will represent the will of the people”? Do the people elect them? Representation is not the cornerstone of public administration but it is the cornerstone of the entire government system. So the people chose who is going to be responsible and accountable for the country and them. All democratic power that governments yield also comes from the people. So without people, the government has no power.
To conclude ethical conduct is a prerequisite in any field and public administration can not afford to be an exception. Dealing with the public also calls for natural goodness and morals that can translate into intangible ethics. Understanding that being in public service places the public in a position of the master which can test your ethics. Further, these dovetail with the idea of legitimacy.