Definition of the Term Government
A government is a system of authority whose jurisdiction is limited to a given geographical location. Therefore, it is an organization that requires many people’s coordination and the aspect that impacts their efficiency. Like businesses that have to balance labour and capital to maximise output, governments seek to maximise efficiency for their people’s utility.
Therefore, it is essential to study the government’s various aspects, the organizational patterns involved, and how they can be optimised for maximum efficiency (Kettl, 2016). This paper reflects on the works of various authors on public administration and how the theory of organization can be applied to optimise service delivery.
The Theory of Organization
Gulick (1937) addressed the theory of organization and the key concepts involved, including labour division, coordination of work, and organization patterns. The author relayed the rationale behind the division of labour, which is to address the diversity in knowledge and skills among human beings, thus the need for them to specialise in what suits their abilities.
An exciting take addressed in this article is the role that specialisation and division of labour play in integrating machines and human beings in production. This allows the producers to apply capital and labour in proportions that maximise output, thus enhancing their overall productivity. Additionally, given that labour is a unique resource provided by human beings, it requires attention and a well-formulated organizational structure, which dictates how the work flows, depending on the organization’s unique circumstances.
An interesting organizational pattern in public administration is addressed in Lipsky (2010). They are using the case of street-level bureaucrats and their effect on the government’s efficiency. The author notes that most citizens only get to contact low-level government employee.
These street-level bureaucrats play a critical role in the public’s perception of the government, and their individual decisions accumulate into a larger agency problem. Additionally, it is essential to note that the larger the number of street bureaucrats, the extensive the government, which makes the whole administrative system inefficient.
This is due to the friction between these bureaucrats’ various decisions, exposing the subjectivity involved in the decision-making process. Therefore, the adoption of proper organisational patterns is essential in improving the efficiency of these street-level bureaucrats and, consequently, public administration efficiency. Simon (1946) concurs with this, pointing out that specialisation happens is critical to an administration’s efficiency.
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Centralisation of Power
The unity of command represents the centralisation of power, which enhances objectivity and minimises the conflict among the various public administration players. As addressed by Aberbach & Christensen (2014), these efforts are often in vain by pointing out that reform to make public administration is often disappointing. Therefore, changing organisational patterns is a complex and delicate process and should be addressed throughout the decision-making process and implementation stage.
Organizational Theory Conclusion
In conclusion, a public administration’s efficiency has to be maximised both at the street level and the management level, more so the government’s executive branch. This branch is responsible for implementing the policies made by other arms of the government, and it is at this level where the decisions to streamline street-level bureaucracy are made (Kettl, 2016). This ensures that the decision made at this level are well implemented by the worker at the grassroot, consequently translate to an improvement of the utility acquired by the citizens.
Organizational Theory References
- Aberbach, J. D., & Christensen, T. (2014). Why reforms so often disappoint. The American Review of Public Administration, 44(1), 3-16.
- Gulick, L. (1937). Notes on the Theory of Organization. Classics of organisation theory, 3(1937), 87-95.
- Kettl, D. F. (2016). Politics of the administrative process. CQ press.
- Lipsky, M. (2010). Street-level bureaucracy: The Critical Role of Street-level bureaucracy. Russell Sage Foundation.
- Simon, H. A. (1946). The proverbs of administration. Public administration review, 6(1), 53-67.