Thesis: Administration of Public Institutions

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Administration of Public Institutions

The objective of this work is to interview three public administrators within a specific geographic region and report the following information: (1) Indicate what they see, from a public administrator's role, as some of the pluses and minuses of PA; (2) Note what they foresee as the challenges to public administration in the future; (3) Describe some of the unique duties that they, those interviewed, undertake that goes beyond the content contained within the course; (4) Include a summary of what you learned through the interviews; and (5) Analyze the writer's future professional career direction with regards to public administration.

Interview One

The first interview in this study was conducted with the Managing Attorney of a Legal Services Corporation, a federally funded program that provides legal services to low-income individuals. Public administration is a tedious and high-stress undertaking according to this individual and is an undertaking that must necessarily maintain a focus on service because the public administration is indeed a service-oriented organization. Public administration occurs at many levels and that was noted in this specific interview in that the managing attorney while being responsible for public administration of a satellite office of the Legal Services Corporation, still reports to a higher level and specifically to the Executive Director of the Corporation. The Executive Director then reports to Washington which is the location of the central organization for the administration of Legal Services agencies throughout the United States.

Highlighted in this interview is the fact that reporting standards and requirements are according to a detailed regimen and based on the services actually provided to public individuals seeking these services. It is noted in this interview that there are various types of capital that must be considered in the public administration initiative. This individual stated them a little differently than they are stated in the work of PriceWaterHouseCoopers entitled "Cities of the Future: Global Competition, Local Leadership" in which it is stated that six various types of capital exist and that those are: (1) intellectual and social capital: comprised by people and knowledge; (2) Democratic capital: comprised by participation and consultation; (3) cultural capital: comprised by values, behaviors and public expressions; (4) environmental capital: comprised by natural resources; (5) technical capital -- man-made capital and infrastructure; and (6) financial capital -- money and assets. (PriceWaterHouseCoopers, nd) These various types of capital require specific consideration in each of these areas in order for public administration to successfully be implemented.

It is important most particularly to consider the social and cultural capital within the organization according to this individual and it is pointed out in this interview that many organizations have come to realize this importance. The work of Gilliat-Ray (2005) Sacralizing Sacred Space in Public Institutions: A Case Study of the Prayer Space at the Millennium Dome" notes that there are quite a few public institutions in British society that make provision of facilities specifically for worship and meditation and that this includes such as "airports, shopping centers..." And reported to be more recent is the 'prayer space' provided at the Millennium Dome. It is stated that such spaces within public administration places are in many ways the reflection of a society that is moving away from formal, dogmatic, institutional 'religion' towards increasingly self-mediated, informal spirituality and that, as a result sacred space in public institutions becomes 'sacralized' in ways that are distinctive, compared to conventional places of worship." (Gilliat-Ray, 2005)

It is important in today's very diverse society to allow for each individual's individuality or the characteristics, beliefs and customs that comprise who they perceive themselves to be in their existence. These details should not have to interfere with the process of public administration. In fact, it is noted by this individual that legal services and other public administration and its various actors stand in a unique position to either enable the injustices of society or to mitigate and reduce those inequities. When asked what is the most important aspect of public administration this individual responded by stating that it is important to remember that public administration is otherwise stated as efficient and effect provision of service to the public.

II. Interview Two

The second interview in this study was conducted with an official within a county system and specifically with an individual who is responsible for public administration of the license and tag division at a county courthouse. This individual has an open and friendly tag and licenses division office in the courthouse and was obviously present and available as this writer arrived for the interview. Her office could be seen from the front counter and this added to her congenial attitude and demeanor reflected transparency in public administration and availability of those elected for administration of this duty such as the individual in this interview. When asked what difficulties she had faced in her role of public administration the answer stated was that when she was first elected there were many people who failed to have licenses and tags renewed and who were given citations because they stated that with their work schedule that they were unable to travel to the courthouse in that county as it was not centrally located but located on the edge of the county and nearly an hour away for many residents. Therefore, this individual stated that she determined that there should be a satellite office opened in another town on the other end of the county in order for this division of the county public services could be more effectively and efficiently administered to the public that it serves.

III. Interview Three

The third and final interview in this study was conducted with the Executive Director for a Community Action Services Agency an agency that provides various housing assistance and counseling to the public. This individual was asked the question of "what do you believe is the most important aspect of public service in terms of effective and efficient administration?" The individual replied by stating that interaction, cooperation and collaboration with other public service organizational throughout the community is the most important aspect of public administration. This is stated to be true upon the basis that no public administration can be effective or efficient without the support of other such organization within the community.

The example provided in this instance is that oftentimes Community Action is unable to assist certain individuals whether it be because they do not qualify according to income guidelines which are reviewed during the intake process and other times because it is simply a specific type of case or situation that Community Action is not authorized to handle. When this occurs Community Action and other such organizations have specific referral processes by which applicants are sent to other agencies for whose services they do qualify or because that agency does handle their specific situation or case type.

Just such a situation is related in the Executive Summary of Janet Napolitano, Governor of Arizona in January of 2006, which states that lessons learned in public administration during the response of the various organizations to the victims of Hurricane Katrina include the lessons of:

(1) clients understand most what they need, and services and processes should be arranged in a manner flexible enough to support the varying needs of clients;

(2) Models of service integration must be adjusted to the specific client population being served. Co-location and full service models are necessary to serve 'high need' clients but may not be required for all clients;

(3) Stand alone or sequential service delivery is duplicative, cumbersome, and frustrating for the customer. Easy and ongoing communication serves to facilitate provision of services to clients and strengthen relationships between service providers;

(4) Comprehensive assessment provides a holistic look into a client's life allowing information to be collected and stored in one central location that is accessible to a multitude of service providers; and (5) Service integration fosters and is strengthened by personal and professional relationships among staff from many providers at the local level. The result is the service delivery system becomes a network of formal (contracted) and informal (personal) links that creates a system in which 'the whole is greater than the sum of its parts." (Napolitano, 2006)

IV. Summary of Lessons Learned Through Interviews

There were several valuable lessons learned from having participated in these interviews and one of these is that public administration must necessarily remember that service is key in this initiative. Transparency and openness are also important and this in fact, is a requisite for the changes and adjustment that are needed on an ongoing basis in the capacity of public administration. Diversity is another important aspect of public administration and specifically in allowing for the differences that exist among individuals in society and in attributing equality of worth to these vast diversities that characterize members of the society and the individuals representing the specific demographics to which public service is provisioned.

V. Analysis of the Future Professional Career Direction in Public Administration

The writer… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Administration of Public Institutions.  (2009, October 10).  Retrieved December 10, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/administration-public-institutions/305175

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"Administration of Public Institutions."  Essaytown.com.  October 10, 2009.  Accessed December 10, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/administration-public-institutions/305175.