What is the dichotomy between politics and administration

Is the separation of politics and administration still relevant today?

Table of Contents

introduction

I. Woodrow Wilson's separation of administration and politics
1. Presentation of the history of administrative science
a.) What are the reasons for the late emergence of the administrative sciences?
b.) Why was administrative science founded in aristocratic Europe?
2. The subject of administrative science
3. Identify the methods by which it can be developed

II. To what extent is the distinction between politics and administration still relevant today?
1. The instrumental view of administration in Wilson and Weber
2. The Political-Administrative System

bibliography

I. Introduction

American public administration began with the essay by Woodrow Wilson "The study of administration", of the later President of the USA. This essay was created in the newly founded American Political Science Rewiew Published in 1887. American administrative science has been a political science ever since. It was regarded as a progressive reform science, which made it its task to free the American administration from corruption and the notorious spoils system, i.e. the allocation of administrative posts to politically related people.

Wilson's essay deals with the dichotomy between administration and politics. Its core statement includes that an administrative apparatus acts according to its own criteria of rationality. Therefore, you need a professionally trained civil service and an administration that is free from political influences.

This term paper deals with the question of whether this separation of administration and politics is still relevant today. In the first part, the normative model is presented on the basis of Wilson's essay "The study of administration". The second part aims to show that the separation between administration and politics does not correspond to empirical reality. Because in practice there is no difference between administration and politics. Likewise, processes of political decision-making take place in an administration.

II. Woodrow Wilson's separation of administration and politics

Woodrow Wilson dealt in his 1887 essay " The study of administration “With three basic aspects of public administration. He saw clarification of this as a prerequisite for making the American administrative apparatus more effective and efficient. These are the following three points:

1. Presentation of the history of administrative science
2. Establishing the subject of administrative sciences
3. Identify the best methods by which it can be developed[1]

1. Presentation of the history of administrative science

a.) What are the reasons for the late emergence of the administrative sciences?

Administrative science was founded in aristocratic Europe at the beginning of the 19th century. Right from the start, it saw itself as part of political science, which in turn could look back on a long tradition. The reasons for their late emergence lay in the fact that industrialization and massive population growth resulted in a more complex society that made higher demands on an administrative organization. Deficiencies and deficits became apparent which made administrative science necessary in order to remedy them. Woodrow Wilson describes the situation in pre-industrial society as follows:

The functions of governments were simple because life itself was simple. (...) There was no complex system of government income and government debt that puzzled financial experts; consequently there were no financial experts who could be puzzled. Nobody in power was long at a loss as to how to use it. The big and only question was. Who should own it? The population was manageable; (...)[2]

b.) Why was administrative science founded in aristocratic Europe?

First of all, it seems astonishing that, despite its great utility for the general public, administrative science was not founded in a democratic state. Rather, it originated in monarchist Germany and France. This is due to two different reasons: First, it is easier to develop an administration in a state where the people have no say. Second, such a form of government needs a well-functioning administration in order not to give the citizens cause for criticism. A well-functioning administrative apparatus secures the power of the rulers.

(...) first, that in Europe, simply because the government was independent of the approval of the people, there was more to be governed; and, second, that the desire to keep government a monopoly left monopolists interested in finding means of governance that would cause the least nuisance.[3]

The aristocratic states in Europe were not out to transform themselves into a democracy. Their goal was to maintain the status quo. Therefore they perfected their administrative apparatus in order to make themselves indispensable to the people in this way. In the US, on the other hand, there has traditionally been strong legislative control over the executive. For a long time, the discussion about correct administration was dismissed as a detailed question. The best administrations were found in countries whose aristocratic rulers were enlightened. They saw themselves as servants of the ruled and designed an administrative organization that was adapted to the needs of the general public. They used their unrestricted position of power to introduce simple and effective methods of administration. “The sovereign people” of a democratic state could never have designed an administrative apparatus so efficiently.[4]

Wilson defines three political development stages of a state in relation to its administrative organization. In the first phase there is an absolute ruler and an administrative apparatus that is adapted to this. In the second phase, the absolute ruler is abolished by the constitution of a state. Administration is neglected because of fundamental issues. In the third phase, “the sovereign people” form an administration.[5]

America has completed the constitutional phase. Effective and efficient methods were now being sought for one

Administrative apparatus.

At this stage it was important that the people would convince them of the need for a well-functioning administration. The aim is to ensure that it is open to administrative reform.[6]

2. The subject of administrative science

The area of ​​administration lies outside the area of ​​politics and is also largely separated from the area of ​​the judiciary. Administrative questions are not answered by politics. Administration is only linked to politics in that z. B. the methods of an accounting department are part of public life. The aim of administrative science is to make these methods more efficient and effective and to base them on democratic principles. The reform of civil servants is intended to make the civil service impartial and factual. Although politics determines the goals of an administration, it should no longer exert any influence on its offices. For Wilson, these changes are only the beginning of an all-encompassing administrative reform.[7]

There is another distinction that is just as important: the separation of administrative and constitutional issues. Constitutional issues determine the nature of a state. An administration enforces justice and law. Freedom principles are guaranteed by the constitution, but they can only be claimed through administrative arrangements. The principle of freedom is implemented in an administration. Nevertheless, a constitutional basis remains necessary in order to secure fundamental principles of freedom. A liberally functioning administration cannot guarantee principles of freedom.[8]

Wilson formulates the main difference between administration and judiciary as follows:

Public administration is the detailed and systematic implementation of public law.[9]

As soon as a general law is applied in public, it becomes an administrative act. These include collecting taxes, hanging a murderer, or transporting and delivering mail.[10]

An administrative officer is responsible for the implementation of public law. However, it is not a passive instrument of administration, but decides independently on the means used.[11]

When it comes to the distribution of power in an administration, administrative science touches on the area of ​​constitutional law.

It is important for an administration to function that power and responsibility are distributed according to a clear system. In a democratic state in particular, the distribution of power should remain transparent to the outside world.

For Wilson are

extensive powers and unhindered freedom of action are essential prerequisites for accountability.[12]

Responsible use is only possible by concentrating power on the heads of the individual administrative branches.

It can no longer be disguised and an administrator can be held accountable for abuse by the public.[13]

The American people should play the role of critical authority on administrative issues. However, it should stay out of detailed questions and only comment on larger political matters.[14]

The training of an administrative officer should be professional and designed according to his area of ​​responsibility. He does not need a basic military attitude, but should have a progressive attitude.[15]

3. Identify the methods by which it can be developed

According to Wilson, the structure of an administrative apparatus in a democratic state is no different from that in an undemocratic state. Administrative functions are the same in all governments. An administration has its own rationality structures that are independent of the area of ​​politics.

It is therefore safe for the USA to use administrative studies from Germany or France for their own purposes. Any kind of abuse of power is prevented by a democratic system. Because of this, the fear that the American system might adopt undemocratic principles is unjustified. Rather, foreign studies are an asset for American administrative science, as the differences make your own system clearer. Studies from Germany or France can also offer suggestions for the American administrative system. These ideas must be compatible with democratic principles and implementable in the federal system of the USA.

Our own politics must be the touchstone for all theories. The principles on which to base an American Administration Science must be principles that are deeply committed to democratic politics.

III. To what extent is the distinction between politics and administration still relevant today?

4. The instrumental view of administration in Wilson and Weber

Woodrow Wilson, alongside Max Weber in Germany, was responsible for the thesis of the separation of politics and administration (the so-called “politics-administration-dichotomy”). Both had an instrumental understanding of administration, i.e. an administrative apparatus does not operate as an independent actor, but serves to implement law. According to this classic view, administration is hierarchically determined by laws, political government directives and the budget.[16] The administrative apparatus is a passive instrument for exercising power. All objectives, purposes and preferences flow as input into an administrative apparatus. Normative processes no longer take place within an administrative organization. These have already been carried out in the field of politics. Administration is the neutral and technically professional execution of the legislature and judiciary. Max Weber saw this as the ideal type of rule, the most rational form. Its clear characteristics such as division of labor, independence of civil servants, clear responsibilities and compliance with rules provided the basis for an administration free of domination.

The bureaucracy is “rational” in character: rule, purpose, means, “objective impersonality” dominated its behavior. (...) In doing so, it destroyed structural forms of rule which, in this special sense, did not have a rational character.[17]

In the USA this view of the separation of administration and politics lost its meaning after World War II. This was once due to a younger generation of scientists who were empirically oriented. These accused the representatives of the normative model that it does not correspond to the reality in administrative organizations. An older generation of administrative scientists was able to gain practical experience in administration during the Second World War. They also criticize that this model is empirically unsustainable. Likewise, this model does not explain how political rule works.[18]

In Germany, administrative scientists only began to criticize the dichotomy between administration and politics in the 1960s.

At that time, the thesis developed that political processes also take place within an administration. An administrative organization acts independently when it comes to the conception and formulation of policy content, such as its implementation and evaluation. The new conception of the intertwining of politics and administration emerged.[19]

5. The Political-Administrative System

Thomas Ellwein criticized in his 1966 published Introduction to government and administration the normative separation of administration and politics. For him, administration and politics are in one mutual reference.[20]

Ellwein wonders to what extent political decision-making also takes place within an administrative organization.[21] Article 21 of the Basic Law states that the parties are involved in the formation of the political will of the people. On the one hand, one finds the political will in the electoral act, on the other hand it is formed by laws, decisions of the executive branch and court judgments. How does such a political will come about? The legislature does not work in isolation, but is influenced by public statements. Interest groups, organizations put pressure on him. In the same way it is dependent on the means available in determining its ends. After a decision has been made, political decision-making continues. Therefore, the formation of political will is also a process.

The administration is indirectly involved in this political process. Laws are passed by constitutional bodies, but the administration plays a decisive role. The preparation for a large number of laws takes place in the administrations. There interests of associations and the political majority are taken into account. Various alternatives are being worked on in order to reach a compromise.

Ellwein describes the work in an administration as follows:

No modern ministerial administration can limit itself to working out the various possible solutions and presenting them to the legislature. Rather, it has to decide for itself on a certain possible solution, has to clarify this with the politically relevant factors and then has to try to get its proposal through to Parliament as unchanged as possible. From this point of view, the administration is not itself a legislator, but it is extremely effective in legislating.[22]

In reality there is no separation between administration and government. The ministries primarily serve to support the minister in his work. However, at least the senior administrative officials are involved in the preparation of political decisions.[23] By implementing political planning, bureaucrats have the opportunity to shape themselves. Much more is negotiated than carried out in this process. This gives administrative officials a great deal of leeway to become politically active. You yourself set a framework within which politics is made possible. The decision-making premises do not come from the government, but are made by interest groups, organizations and administrative officials. Through a large number of empirical studies, the image of an administration emerges that cannot be seen separately from the area of ​​politics. Administration is always involved in the process of political decision-making. It appears itself as a political actor in negotiations and plays a decisive role in the formation of political laws. Therefore, the idea of ​​an instrumental administration that is hierarchically controlled by a government does not correspond to empirical reality. The separation of administration and politics that Wilson normatively demanded is unrealistic. An administration is determined by diverse interest groups, networks and rationalities.[24]

IV. Bibliography

Bogumil, Jörg / Jann, Werner, Administration and Public Administration in Germany, Introduction to Public Administration, Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften / GWV Fachverlag GmbH 2005

Ellwein, Thomas, Introduction to government and administration, W. Stuttgart; Kohlhammer Verlag, 1966

Jann, Werner, "Administrative science and management theory", in: Administrative Reform Manual, ed. v. Bernhard Blanke, Stephan von Bandemer, Frank Nullmeier and Göttrik Wewer, Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften / GWV Fachverlage GmbH 2005

Weber, Max, "The Types of Rule / Sociology of Rule", in: Organization and domination - Classical and modern study texts on organizational theory in the social sciences, ed. v. Günther Büschges, Reinbek: Rowohlt Taschenbuchverlag, 1976, pp. 59-85

Wilson, Woodrow Thomas, "The Study of Administration," in: Administrative science, ed. v. Heinrich Siedentopf, Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1976, pp. 57- 85

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[1] See Wilson, W., The Study of Administration, 1976, p. 57

[2] Wilson, W., The Study of Administration, 1976, p. 59

[3] Wilson, W., The Study of Administration, 1976, p. 63

[4] Vlg. Wilson, W., The Study of Administration, 1976, pp. 64f.

[5] Vlg. Wilson, W., The Study of Administration, 1976, pp. 65f.

[6] Vlg. Wilson, W., The Study of Administration, 1976, pp. 65ff.

[7] Vlg. Wilson, W., The Study of Administration, 1976, pp. 71f.

[8] Vlg. Wilson, W., The Study of Administration, 1976, pp. 72f.

[9] Wilson, W., The Study of Administration, 1976, pp. 73–73.

[10] See Wilson, W., The Study of Administration, 1976, p. 74

[11] See Wilson, W., The Study of Administration, 1976, p. 74

[12] Wilson, W., The Study of Administration, 1976, p. 75

[13] See Wilson, W., The Study of Administration, 1976, p. 75

[14] Vlg. Wilson, W., The Study of Administration, 1976, p.75

[15] See Wilson, W., The Study of Administration, 1976, p. 78

[16] Vlg. Bogumil, J., Jann, W., Administration and Administrative Science in Germany, 2005, p.166

[17] Weber, M., Economy and Society, 1921, p. 83

[18] Vlg. Bogumil, J., Jann, W., Administration and Administrative Science in Germany, 2005, pp. 30f.

[19] Vlg.Bogumil, J., Jann, W., Administration and Administrative Science in Germany, 2005, p. 33

[20] Vlg. Ellwein, T., Introduction to Government and Administrative Doctrine, 1966, p. 87

[21] Vlg. Ellwein, T., Introduction to Government and Administrative Doctrine, 1966, p. 112ff.

[22] Ellwein, T., Introduction to Government and Administration, 1966, p. 114

[23] Vlg. Ellwein, T., Introduction to Government and Administrative Doctrine, 1966, p. 115

[24] Vlg. Jann, W., Public Administration and Management, 2005, p. 56