Chapter 2: NATURE, SCOPE AND APPROACHES OF                                    PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION

Nature of Public Administration

There are two types of natures of public administration:

Integral: All activities needed to achieve an objective like technical, managerial, manual, clerical. Administration differs from from one sphere to another depends on subject matter of concerned agencies. E.g: Post office in India.

Managerial: This consists of only managerial views needed for implementation of an objective. Hence it is the same in all spheres as basic managerial techniques are same.

Public administration examines all aspects of government efforts to discharge law and give effect to public policy. It includes tasks like formulation of programs, enforcement till the last activity.


Scope of Public Administration

Gulick proposed the POSDCORD view of public administration.

Planning: Working out broad outlines of work and methods of doing things to achieve goals in a systematic manner.

Organizing: Creation of a formal structure of authority through which work can be sub divided.

Staffing: Training, maintaining favorable work conditions i.e. all aspects of personnel administration.

Direction: Continuous task of making decisions and embodying them in specific, general orders.

Coordinating: Continuous task of making decisions and embodying them in specific and general orders.

Reporting: Securing cooperation and team work between various units. Interrelating various parts of work.

Budgeting: Fiscal planning, accounting and control.


  1. Policy formulation, evaluation of policy and public relations are key aspects that are missing.
  2. All government agencies have different problems but POSDCORB advocates all problems are same.
  3. POSDCORB can’t be whole or significant part of public administration. It represents only the tools of the administration.
  4. It ignores knowledge of subject matter and is more technique oriented than subject oriented.
  5. Each administration agency has its own local POSDCORB because of the subject matter with which its concerned.

Approaches to study Public Administration

  1. Philosophical: Oldest and most comprehensive approach. It enunciates the ideals underlying administrative activities.
  2. Legal: Focus is on studying public administration as part of law and focuses on constitutional legal structure, organization, powers, functions, limitations of authorities.
  3. Historical: Studies public administration through historical development in the past having its impact on the present.
  4. Case method: Deals with detailed account of specific events that lead to a decision by an administrator.

Role of Public Administration in society

  1. Preservation of polity.
  2. Maintenance of stability and order.
  3. Institutionalization of socio economic changes.
  4. Management of large scale commercial changes.
  5. Ensure growth, economic development.
  6. Protection of weaker sections.
  7. Formation of public opinion
  8. Influence public policies and trends.