Principles of public administration
Principles of public administration

The work of public administration is approached with so much scrutiny in the spirit of trying to deliver the best service to the general population. There are 12 Principles of public administration set out for the scope which act as the backbone of operations in public administration. Some of these principles have been called pillars of public administration. 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 following these principles of public administration.

12 Principles Of Public Administration

Scope of public administration
Scope of public administration

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. Here’s top 12 principles of public administration

1. Transparency

Transparency is one principle that aims at keeping public servants in check as far as their operations is concerned. We can only achieve transparency when there is free flow of information that concerns the interests of the people to be served. Such information should also be made easily accessible.

2. Equity

Public servants deal with people from diverse backgrounds and all deserve their service. The aspect of equity places paramount importance to striking a balance in giving opportunities to all men and women regardless of who they are. 

3. Economy

When researching the pillars of public administration, economy comes in under the banner ‘efficiency and effectiveness.’ This is the most prominent principle of public administration. Human beings’ primary instincts care about survival and their relationship with public administrators is focused on the distribution and management of resources. The main goal is to deliver the best public service at very low costs. However, the idea is not only to put the existing resources to use, but also ad value or make more out of them for the benefit of the people.

4. Subsidiarity

Due to public administration’s concern with efficiency, effectiveness and improvement, focus has been placed on question of formal organization in service delivery. This birthed the principle of subsidiarity, where departments, ministries and agencies are organised on the basis of common or closely related purposes.

5. Pluralism

Pluralism places emphasis on the dispersement of power among different economic and ideological groups. Pluralism accepts diversity as a beneficial element to society and that autonomy should be enjoyed by disparate functional or cultural groups within a society, including religious groups, trade unions, professional organizations, and ethnic minorities. With regards to public administration, pluralism puts servants in a position where they ought to serve these diverse groups of people with impartiality.

6. Accountability

As societies became more organised and the control of resources went into the hands of elected government structures, the public became dependent on these governmemts for services and quality is of importance. Providing public good in a cost effective manner is the main goal of public service. As such public administrators are held highly accountable by the constituents they serve. Accountability is a a critical principle that has the power to make or break governments. It requires ethical decision making, equal representation, legitimacy, efficiency, effectiveness, responsibility.

7. Participation

Public administration accepts that all people are equal irrespective of their backgrounds, ethnicity, gender and/or affiliations. As such, participation of all men and women in matters of public interest is progressive.

8. Access to services

For equity to be achieved, every citizen ought to be afforded equal access to public services such as health care, education among others. This principle role works hand in glove with that of transparency which then shows how resources are being distributed through free access to information.

9. Representation

The fundamental building block around the principle of representation is the idea of “the people’s will!” It becomes a question of, “Who will represent the will of the people?” Are they those who are elected by the people themselves? 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 yields comes from the people. So without people, the government has no power.

10. Legitimacy

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.

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.”

11. Responsibility

When looking ag the pillar in the form of Responsibility in the realm of Public Administration, you will come across a myriad of scholarly emphasis regarding the importance and reasons for responsible civil servants. Public administrators are held accountable by the public and they cannot act on their own accord because they are held responsible to the officials who have been elected by the public.

Elected government 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 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.”

12. Integrity

Integrity as a principle in public administration has more to do with one’s ethical conduct more than anything else. Public authorities must behave appropriately in their dealings with private citizens, businesses and other public authorities. Office holders, elected representatives and public servants must behave professionally and ethically.