Pipers Woerterbuch zur Politik

Authors: Nohlen
Summary: In about 1200 words, after presenting the historical origins of modern public administration, the entry discusses the juridical-institutional, the politological and the neo-marxist visions of it.
The birth of a hierarchical structured administration can be retraced in the growth of a professional body and in the ministry system organization, both due to the increasing planning and management role of the state and to the officers' new political influence.
The administrative doctrine identifies, in the presence of a strong law-making state and a super partes executive giving legitimacy to an indipendent administration, the conditions of competitive democracies, that, anyway, have the costant danger of state and administration overloading.
In contrast with this normative and abstract vision of administration, the political science approach focuses more on the analysis of its real structure and on its disfunctions. Its rationale is to allow a political system to perform long term structural reforms through an increasing problem solving capacity of the administration. The institutional immobility of administration proposed in empirical political science analysis is criticized by the neo-marxist approach, arguing that economic principles (e.g. capital exploitation) and interests (e.g. stability) began to rule also the public administration field. Hence the deficit and misfunctioning problems identified by the politological approach lay more at the societal and structural level rather than in the administration internal organization.