Public Administration & Other Social Sciences

Relationship of Public Administration to Other Social Sciences

Social sciencesOpens in new window are the systematic studies of various aspects of human actions in society. The Social sciences include SociologyOpens in new window, PsychologyOpens in new window, AnthropologyOpens in new window, EconomicsOpens in new window, Political scienceOpens in new window, Public administrationOpens in new window and HistoryOpens in new window. Since all these disciplines study man in society, they are interdisciplinary fields sharing connection with one another.

Public administration is a comprehensive, interdisciplinary approach that draws on knowledge sources across the social sciences. Its increasing interdisciplinary nature implies that it draws upon other social sciences and applies in its study the knowledge, insights, techniques and tools developed by them.

Therefore, it is important that the person who wishes to study Public administration should have some knowledge of other social sciences and its relationship with them. In this study we’ll examine Public administration’s relationship with Political science, History, Economics, Sociology, Psychology, LawOpens in new window, EthicsOpens in new window, and Business managementOpens in new window.

Public Administration and Political Science

Political science is the study of state and systems of government. It is concerned with powerOpens in new window, authorityOpens in new window and influence. It ensures authoritative allocation of values to the various sections in societyOpens in new window.

Public administration is very closely, if not indistinguishable, connected with political science. Whereas political science is concerned with government, public administration is government in action.

An eminent author had pointedly observed the relationship between the two disciplines in the following word:

  • “The interface between the two (political science and public administration) becomes clear and vivid if we concur that both deal with the political system (or substantially state) but from different positions: Political science activates and energizes the state: it deals with the input part, while Public administration deals with output”.

Being the study of stateOpens in new window and governmentOpens in new window, political science provides the fundamental framework within which public administration functions.

There are many common areas of study which makes Public administration and Political science more of a sister-brother connection. Learn more hereOpens in new window

Public Administration and History

HistoryOpens in new window is concerned with the study of social progress of mankind — everything mankind has thought, done and achieved. It is the study of the past events, movements, their causes and interrelations. History supplies valuable materials for the study of Public administrationOpens in new window. Its subject-matter includes economic and social developments, religion, intellectual and artistic movements as well as the growth and decline of States, their organizations, functions, achievements and failures.

History is the laboratory of human experiences. All administrative experiences of history are the subject-matter of our experiments. The study of the administrative system of a country would not be complete without a proper glimpse of its historical background.

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Public Administration and Economics

EconomicsOpens in new window is concerned with that aspects of human behaviour which arises from the scarcity of means to achieve a given end. Adam SmithOpens in new window’s definition of economics as the art of managing the resources of the people and of the government clearly brings out the close relationship between Public administration and economics.

A variety of areas covered in Public administration are economic based. For instance, the common areas of study include such matters as public finance, Planning, Programming and Budgeting SystemOpens in new window (PPBS), economic planning, management of public enterprises — and the like. The formulation and implementation of government’s development plans and policies are to be evaluated in terms of their economic consequences. Thus, economic planning brings Public administration and economics closer. Participation of the state in the economic development is also extensive. In many developing nations economic planning has become a pillar of government’s social and economic policies.

There is so much in common between Public administration and economics. Learn more hereOpens in new window

Public Administration and Sociology

SociologyOpens in new window is broadly defined as the study of human social relationships in totality. It is a discipline that synthesizes political, economic, familial, religious, and other relationships in order to arrive at a complete understanding of man’s social life. Public administration deals with management of man’s administrative affairs in society and is concerned with the fulfilment of the communal needs such as security of life, health, education, etc.

Prof. DimockOpens in new window rightly points out the intimate relationship between Public administration and sociology in the following words, “… administration exists in a social setting and the pattern of administration is determined by society; but through sensitive administrative leadership, society itself may be changed. That the administrator is not merely an executive; he is also a social engineer, helping society to fulfil itself”.

Through the contributions made by various sociologists, it is realized that Sociology has great influence on Public administration. The distinguished German Sociologist Max WeberOpens in new window made the greatest contribution to the theory of bureaucracyOpens in new window. Besides bureaucracy, such concepts and terms as authority, organization, association, alienationOpens in new window and social changeOpens in new window are often studied in both the disciplines. The relationists in administration have drawn much on sociology. Learn more hereOpens in new window