Why Public Administration is an art and science
Why Public Administration is an art and science

There has been an ongoing debate among scholars regarding whether public administration is a science or art with both sides justifying why their opinions. We will look at public administration as a science and as an art, why Public Administration is an art and science, then decide where public administration falls between the two.

Public administration as an art and science PDF

[Answer]Public Administration is both an Art and Science as well. According to the father of public administration its a process of of administering governmental affairs and the activities in government. Public administration is more practical than theoretical and consist of processes for making strategies. That’s why it is, today most people identify public administration as a science and an Art.

Public Administration as A Science

Many writers vehemently defend the notation that public administration is a science, they argue that public administration as a field of study is real science. The first known writer was von Stein, a German professor from Vienna, who, back in the year 1855, said that public administration is an integrated science and it is a limiting definition to consider it as administrative laws. In modern times, the categorization of public administration as science has resonated with many people, especially President Woodrow Wilson who is considered the father of American Public Administration.

Public administration got to be understood as a science as it can be studied with a scientific approach. Public administration is essentially a science of observation as opposed to experimentation because it does not have the precision and universality of scientific laws.

Administrations use a lot of scientific, legal, and theoretical data and the use of mathematics and computer science in some aspects of budgeting is pretty much reason enough to regard public administration as a science.

Public administration is essentially a science of observation, and not necessarily of experimentation. Public administration is an advanced science whose principles must be constantly revised and reformulated in the light of discoveries of facts and new experiences.

Public Administration as an Art

Public administration is an art because it is an activity concerned with getting things done through practice. Therefore, the act of doing, is what makes it considered an art.

The administration is a skillful mastery of the art that ensures efforts are directed and integrated with human efforts to attain specific set objectives. Administration, in a nutshell, is a fine art because it awakens a large number of special talents for co-creation, which are now an integral part of civilized life.

Difference Between Public Administration as A Science and As an Art

The difference between public administration as a science and as an art is that, public administration as science uses research, experimentation, observation, data collection, and analysis from which principles and laws can be made. Therefore, it is safe to say that with dynamic times and more research in the fields of social sciences, administration, and human relations, public administration with such fundamental principles, resonates more with science.

The reason why some consider public administration as science is because of the subjects that are involved in public administration courses. these subjects include; accounting and finance, policy analysis, statistics, economics, political science, and law which are considered more science and theoretical.

Why Public Administration is an art and science?

However, in practice, public administration is an art because, by definition, it has to do with the public which cares less about how far one has gone in academics but only cares that he or she meets the needs of the public by getting policies in place and ensuring service delivery in the communities they serve.

The act of doing is what makes some people consider public administration an art. A successful administrator is skillful and is filled with hands-on practical solutions to problems faced by the public. An administrator who gets things done and solves practical problems requires top-class skills hence, the administrator’s job is more practical than theoretical.

As a science, public administration is objective, just as is science while as an art, it is subjective, much as the art itself, naturally is. Therefore, as a science public administrators conduct research and analysis before they decide on behalf of the public while as art, public administrators will make decisions even before they conduct any research to ascertain whether or not what they want to implement is needed.


The major difference between public administration as a science as an art is that the former is theoretical and uses research, data collection, and analysis while the latter is more practical and relies heavily on skills, critical thinking, and the art of getting things done.

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