Table of Contents
Public and Private Administration:
Administration means the “management of affairs” or “to serve the people”. It can be public or private. Public Administration means public service. The administration performed by the government of the state is called public administration. The administration performed by private individuals or institutions, companies or clubs, or associations is called private administration. Both Public and Private Administration always function side by side in every society.
During ancient times, the Greek City States managed almost every aspect of human life, leaving little scope for individual or private enterprises. Even in contemporary times, Public Administration has come to perform several functions which were initially used to be performed by private organizations and companies. Now again, private administration has been taking over some of the functions which public administration had been performing since the emergence of the welfare state.
Regarding the relationship between Public Administration and Private Administration, some scholars view them as two distinct areas, while others hold them as two highly similar processes involving common techniques. Let us discuss the two views.
As such, there are both similarities and dissimilarities between Public Administration and Private Administration. Both are characterized by similar managerial techniques. The profit motive is also a somewhat shared motive. Public Administration is not all service and Private Administration is not all profit. The personnel of one often migrate to and get absorbed in the other. At times, the state takes over several private organizations (banks, insurance companies, etc.) and they become parts of Public Administration while at other times, the public sector units are privatized and they become part of Private Administration.
In fact, it can be said that the similarities between the two are more real than the differences, which are really differences in details and not basic differences. The differences are more of degree than of kind. The fact is that almost the same administrative skill is required in both types of administrations. So far as the problems of organization, finance, and personnel are concerned, there is a big similarity between the two. That is why the exchange of personnel is always possible. We agree with Henry Fayol, when he says, “We are not confronted with several administrative sciences but with one which can be applied equally well to public and private affairs.”
As such, it can be concluded that Public and Private Administrations are the two species of the same genus. But they have special values and techniques of their own which give to each its distinctive character. Both are distinctive but not totally different. In each society, they are at work side-by-side.
Further, the distinction between Public and Private Administrations, however, is greatly influenced by the political philosophy of the society in which the two are working. In the USA, for instance, Private Administration plays a more important role. Public Administration is, in many ways, dependent on Private Administration for the supply of goods and services. In India, by contrast, Public Administration has been, till very recently, a dominant sector of the Indian economy. Now Private Administration is being given the necessary environment for its growth. It has been realized that Private Administration is more suitable for industrial growth and development. What till recently was considered to be a close preserve of Public Administration is now being thrown open to Private Administration. The change can be effected only because there exist several big similarities between Public and Private Administrations. As such, we can conclude the discussion by observing that:
- There are both similarities and dissimilarities between Public and Private Administrations.
- The dissimilarities are more of a degree and less of a kind.
- The managerial techniques are similar in both administrations.
- It is wrong to say that Public Administration stands for service and Private Administration for profit.
- Both are distinct but not totally different. The difference between the two is of a very limited nature. Both are simultaneously at work in each society and both have been rendering useful service to humankind.
Private Administration and Public Administration have much in common though apparently there are several points of difference between them as well.