Definition of Public Administration

Public administration as an academic discipline is a little over a hundred years old, whereas public administration as an activity is traceable to the earliest periods of human history when man started living in organized societies.

Public Administration is the management of governmental affairs at all levels of government. It is any kind of administration in the public interest.

The administration of private enterprises is known as private administration.

Administration is the activity of groups cooperating to accomplish common goals.
Frederick Lane defined administration as “organizing and maintaining human and fiscal resources to fulfill a group’s goals.”

The art of administration is the direction, coordination, and control of many persons to achieve some purpose or objective. – Leonard D. White

Public administration consists of all those operations having for their purpose the fulfillment or enforcement of public policy – [Leonard D. White, “Instruction to the study of Public Administration, 1926” page No- 01]

Public administration is a detailed and systematic application of the law. Every particular application of the law is an act of administration [Woodrow Wilson, “The Study of Administration, Political Quarterly” in 1941 Page No- 481-566]

Public administration may be defined as all processes, organizations, and individuals (the latter acting in official positions and roles) associated with carrying out laws and other rules adopted or issued by legislatures, executives, and courts -Gordon, G.J. & Milakovich, M.E. (1995)

A system of Public Administration is the composite of all the laws, regulations, practices, relationships, codes, and customs that prevail at any time in any jurisdiction for the fulfillment or execution of public policy. [Salam, Lokman & Nazrul, “Introduction to Public Administration” in 2012 Page No-07]

Public Administration is the art and science of management as applied to the affairs of the State. – D. Waldo

The work which the government does to give effect to the law is called Public Administration. – H. Walker

The narrow and wider sense of Public Administration

Public administration in a narrow sense/ narrow view refers to the activities of the executive organs of the government (executive actions). In this sense, public administration is really a study of the public bureaucracy: its structure, functions, and behavior (bureaucracy and its activities). It is a means by which policy decisions made by the political decision-makers are carried out.

Public administration, in a wider sense, the activities of all three organs of the government viz. executive, legislature, and judiciary i.e. it actually deals with all the activities of the government. Thus, in its broader sense, it denotes the work involved in the actual conduct of governmental affairs regardless of the particular branch of the government concerned. This broader perspective considers all government activities aimed at the fulfillment of public policy as administrative activities.