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Paradigm 1 : The Politics and Administration Dichotomy

Posted by on 14 March 2012

Paradigm 1 :


Politic and Administration Dicotomy


Adminitration is not to be a foreign word in the ear fo today. Administration said we have known since ancient Greek times before. Administration is a fruit of thought that emerged and developed from the classical theories of science. The classical theories emphasize on notion F. W. Taylor, Henry Fayol, Max Weber, who then discussed the human relation approach, behavioral approach, process approach, quantitative approach, system approach, contingency approach which is a benchmark study approach in the development of modern administration.

Activities or work called the administration had been shown to be present for thousands of years ago. With the results of historical research that mentions the term administration has been around since ancient Greece around 430 BC ie. Greece where it sat alone on the state of progress in science, with an array of stewardship of the democratic state and the Romans with “De Officiis and De Legibus”. Through analysis of historical and on going scientific research and analysis, it is known that in about 1300 BC, the Egyptians also had to know the administration. Max Weber, a prominent German sociologist of his day believed that the Egyptian state has a bureaucratic administration. Similarly, in ancient China can be known about the ideology or a doctrine that influenced the Constitution Chow Confucius in the “Administration”. All the evidence has strengthened the presence of the term of administration. All the evidence of the administration, until finally collected and put together in a single discipline then we call the administration.

It turned out that the existence of the administration continues to grow up to become a principle of administrative science. Development of Administrative Sciences study showed a relatively high level of momentum and progress when compared with other branches of the sciences that have preceded it, such as Economics, Sociology, Law, Psychologist, and Politics. The intensity of development administration studies indicated the presence of various fields of study and specialization are some of them even have developed into a domain of study or discipline.


The View of Administration

After peeling the history of the administration, let’s move to understand what the administration, how the implementation and administration for what exists. In estimologi administration comes from the Latin, ad and ministrate is serving. Prefix ad ministrate serves to intensify a verb. Ministrate words related to the minister said. Minister is a person authorized to conduct who religious worship a clerkman. And ministry, the service function or profession of a minister. Root fibers contain the word minister means less minis. Words related to the word minus, less, minor. People who are serving or who have served a lower position than the person or party served. So the administration initially showed an unequal relationship between the minister by the party served. As said the teachings of the bureaucracy from Weber argued that: “every form of authority expresses Itself and function as administration”.

Little return on the study of administration. With the development of administrative disciplines into a study of the administration, came a Woodrow Wilson, known as the father of the administration because of his thinking in the field of administrative science. He said that the administration of the study was a very important thing, especially for today. He said “i suppose That no practical science is ever studied where there is no need to know it. The very fact, therefore, that the Eminently the practical science of administration is finding its way into college courses in this country would prove that this country needs to know more about administration, were proof of the fact Such required to the make out a case “. Of Wilson’s statement that we can draw the conclusion that the administration is necessary and required that was supposed to be learned in a college for students. Because every human activity that do not have true regardless of the setting element or what we call the administration.


Talk of administration, it is not difficult to be separated and we did not link the role of the state. Because the true existence is identical with the state administration. State requires a good administrative system and neat so that the passage of good governance. Wilson also said that the administration is the most obvious part of government; it is government in action; it is the executive, the operative, the most visible side of government, and is of course as old as government Itself. However, it raises controversy over its own administration for the country that adopt the monarchy. The central field of Controversy was that great field of theory in the which rode a tilt against democracy, monarchy, oligarchy in the which would have built for Itself strongholds of privelege, and in the which sought Tyranny oppurtunity to the make good its claim to receive submissions from all competitors. Amidst this warfare of high principles, no pause command could administration for its own consideration. This then begs the question of Wilson. The question was always: who shall make the law, and what shall be that law? The other question, how law should be administered with enlightenment, with equity, with speed, and without friction, was put a side as “practical detail” arrenge clerk after the which had Agreed-upon principles.


The View Politics

And this is beginning to emerge a new word that is, politics. Similarly, the understanding of other disciplines or with the administration, politics that is already there before the first administration of study around 350 BC. Politics itself is defined by the ancient Greek philosophers like Plato and Aristotle who thought that politics as an attempt to achieve the best society. Efforts to achieve the best society is concerned that such a wide range of activities consisting of the goal setting process of the system and ways to implement that goal. Understanding is sufficient to provide for our understanding of the politics. In Wilson’s view, “that political philosophy took this direction was of course no accident, no chance preference or Perverse of political philosophers”.

Starting from this came a debate over the role of each fight between politics and administration. Since thought Wilson had in fact said that politics and administration is not the same and can not go hand in hand. Both of them think the administration understands that the government will be difficult if not using administrative role in its implementation. As well as from political parties who are not less important than the administration of its existence. This debate continued until the various opinions and views of the experts, like one of them is Frank J. Goodnow to discuss more about Politic and Administration. Until the end will bring its own terms is to reinforce the presence of both the Politic and Administration, namely Politic and Administration Dichotomy.



The dichotomy itself is the term comes from the Greek dichotomia (divided): dich- (form of dícha, in two, asunder); tomia- a combining form meaning cutting, incision, excision of an object. Division into two parts or classifications, esp when they are sharply distinguished or opposed. Dichotomy should always refer to a division of some kind into two groups. It is sometimes used to refer to a puzzling situation which seems to involve a contradiction, but this use is generally thought to be incorrect. So that we can illustrate that politics and administration dichotomy is the existence of a separation that distinguishes between politics and administration.


The Controversial of Politics and Administration Dichotomy In Debate.

The politics-administration dichotomy is an important but controversial concept in the filed of public administration. Scholars have been debating it since the inauguration of the field by Woodrow Wilson. However, most literatures on this subject are at best verbal in nature and seldom is there discussing through empirical investigation. Since the inception of politics-administration dichotomy, debates on the relationship between politics and administration have been growing in the context of democratic governances of the developing countries.

In this part the politics-administration dichotomy theories, this paper intends to explore and analyze the dynamic relationship between politics and administration as well as the impact of political infringement on government decisionmaking processes.

While there have so far not been many clear, sufficient and persuasive explanations of why and how politics often gets in the way of democratic government’s administrative decision making and institutional operations, political intrusion into government administrative practices has instead created serious problems in various democratic governances in the twenty-first century.

Since Woodrow Wilson’s distinguished essay on “The Study of Administration” (Wilson, 1887), the concept of politics-administration dichotomy has emerged and been rolling through the discourse on the relationship between politics and administration, which has been vaguely defined and hardly clarified. The issue in debate among various politics and administration theorists as well as practitioners has mostly been centered on whether or not politics can be separated from administration and what the key variables are that have actually been affecting the relationship between politics and administration. Wilson (1887) thinks that there is a major distinction between politics and administration in government operations. In other words, he deems that politics is the proper activity of legislative bodies and other policy-making groups, while government administration is the proper activity of public administrators, who carry out the policies stated in the laws of the jurisdiction or government.


Wilson also  intended to shield administration from political interference, He wrote:

The field of administration is a field of business. It is removed from the hurry and strife of politics…. Administration lies outside the proper sphere of politics. Administrative questions are not political questions. Although politics sets the tasks for administration, it should not be suffered to manipulate its offices (Wilson, 1887: 18). Wilson’s change of mind can be explained that On the one hand, He admired the administration of European countries and proposed learning from them, which would not have been possible unless administration was distinctly separate from politics.


The point of argument here is that different institutional arrangements in the political systems of various countries (with different historical, cultural, geographical, situational, and traditional variations) have often bridged politics and administration together and significantly affected the relationship between political institutions and administrative operations. Wilson’s essay does not offer us a blueprint for a proper relationship between the administrative and political realms in all polities, but it does pinpoint a critical and interesting research realm for future scholars to explore. As a result, the question of how to locate public administration in relation to politics bears critical implications for both the intellectual identity and practical development of public administration. However, few are there efforts to explore this dichotomy in practical world to understand the relationship.


Frank Goodnow restates the dichotomy with a structural-functional tune in his renowned book Politics and Administration. Although there are many different interpretations about Wilson-Goodnow’s efforts on reforming government, they do open up an important research path for public administration scholars to explore. According Goodnow, the dichotomy has become the foundation of many theoretical explorations. Goodnow said, if we analyze the organization of any concrete government, we shall fins that these are three kind of authorities which are engaged in the excution of the state will. These are, in the first place, the authorities which apply the law in concrete cases where controversies arise owing to the failure of private individuals or public authorities to observe the right of others.they are in the second place, the authorities which have general supervision of the excution of the state will, and which are comonly referred to as excutive authorities. They are the finally, nthe authorities which are attending to the scientific, technical and so to speak, commercial activities of the government, and which are in all countries, where such activities have attained prominence, known as administrative authorities.


Goodnow attacked to the executive, legislative, and judicial functions as three basic functions of government. Instead, he argued, there were two basic functions of government: the expression of the popular will and the execution of that will. The three traditional powers were derived from the two functions, and each of the three branches of government combined in different measure both the expression and the execution of the popular will. Goodnow argued that the function of politics was to express the state’s will and the function of administration was to execute the state’s will. He contented that it was analytically possible to separate administration from politics, but practically impossible toad the two functions to one branch of government. Goodnow argued that certain aspects of administration were harmed by politics and should have been shielded from it. He argued:

“political control over administrative functions is liable…to produce inefficient administration in that it makes administrative officers feel that what is demanded of them is not so much work that will improve their own department, as compliance with the behests of the political party”.

On the view of Goodnow, he try to definite the function of politic itself. It has been show, consist in the expression of the will state. Its discharge may not, however, be intrusted exclusively to any authority or any set of authorities in the government. Actual political necessity however requires that there shall be harmony between the expression and excution of the state will. In other words, practical political necessity makes impossible the consideration of the function of politic apart from that of administration. Politics must have a certain conttrol  over administration, using the words in the broad senses heretofore attributed to them. That some such relation must exist between the two ultimate functions of government it seen when we examine the political development of any state.

Overeem (2005: 317)  said that in it’s classical conceptualizations the dichotomy between politics and administration implied a deep concern about the political neutrality of administrators. Whether attempts were made to take politics out of administration, as in the case of Wilson and Goodnow, or the other way around, as in the case of Weber, the aim was always to render administration impartial, an outsider to political controversy.


But behind all this debate Goodnow explains in the Politics and Admiistration 1900, yaitu there are two distinct function of government may for purposes of convenience be designated respectively as Politics and Administration. That Politics has to do with the policies or expression of the state will. While that Administration has too do with the execution of these policies or for the implementation from the policies that have made by Political.


The Conclution :

The politics-administration dichotomy has been an unsettled issue in debate and affected the relationship between political authorities and administrative institutions to a great extent in world democracies.

Fortunately, to treat institutional arrangement and political interference as key factors in our understanding of the dynamic relationships between politics and administration would lead to important discoveries of the “politics-administration dichotomy” that is still under debating. Further, instead of doodling around such protracted politics-administration dichotomous debate, what are pragmatically needed or missing in present democratic polity governance is to find way to keep a balance and or make sense out of such an unsettled “dichotomy myth” in between political authorities and administrative institutions and practices. And the last, the party system or government thus secure that harmony between the function of politicsand administration which must exist if government is to be carried on succesfully. So it’s that become in the Paradigm 1 “the Politics Administration Dichotomy “ 1900-1926.

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