If you don't understand how the public sector is supposed to work, how can you ensure that it is working? An easy definition of public administration is, “the implementation of government policies” (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2010), or, “the implementation of public policy” (Infoplease.com, 1997). While policies and procedures seem to be continuously up for debate, it should be noted that, an informed public are the only sure-fire way to ensure that the public sector stays on track with meeting the needs of its constituents.
People, as a whole, tend to appreciate good leaders. “It is the task of a leader to connect people with purpose” (Blunt, 2007). Why does this help us in the public sector? To paraphrase J.D. Straussman, leaders must have a vision, “establish direction” with regards to that vision, “align people by creating an environment of cooperation”, and “motivate and inspire members of the organization” (Straussman, pg. 4). Generally, public sector's have not yet embraced the positive aspects of what leadership skills can bring to their organizations. One wonders, what is so wrong with vision or inspiring and motivating people? Motivating employees should be one of most important aspects of leadership in the public sector. Motivated employees often show higher productivity levels than others.
Often confused with leadership is the role of management in an organization. First tier management skills are highly coveted within the public sector. These skills are planning, organizing, directing and controlling (Reh, 2009) and are mostly built in to any and all management models in the public sector itself. Second tier management skills build on the leadership skills mentioned above, such as, motivation, training and coaching, and employee involvement (Reh, 2009). While these skills are somewhat lacking in government positions, the addition, again, as mentioned above, could serve to lower costs and heighten productivity.
As previously reviewed, the four functions of Public Administration are organization (structure and process), personnel administration (and collective bargaining), decision making, and budgeting and finance (Becketts, 2010). While all of these things have their place in the private and public sectors, we've seen in recent years, that the public sector has a genuine problem with the budgeting and financing aspects of itself. Problems begin with the the fact that, as constituents, we are overly trusting of the politicians that we elect to office and have not taken the time to learn the truth behind the matters. Unfortunately, in today's world, it appears that our politicians are more concerned about being re-elected than the needed transparency within the public sector.
The current Wikileaks scandal seems proof positive that we do need more governmental transparency. Do we really know how the government is doing our budgeting? Have we read through the, sometimes, thousands of pages of budget bills in...