Public administration essay

Published: 2018-04-04 23:50:39
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Sewanee University of the South
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Public management environment

If there were one word that would perfectly describe the nature of the environment in which public managers operate, it would be diversity. Public managers work with people from all walks of life and diverse cultures. The world is full of diverse cultures each based on geographical location, religion, education, social beliefs, and lifestyles. However, the variety of cultures should not be a basis of discrimination or segregation of any kind. As a fact, the most successful people, organization, and countries are ones that appreciate the diversity of culture. Culture plays an important part in determining the success of business.

A manager who is deemed successful is the one who is open to diversity accepts different cultures. He knows how to treat and work with the employees despite their differences in culture. Constraining features of the environment that public managers operate include pressure from government and local citizens to perform. Public managers are expected to deliver and promote development in their areas of influence which is not usually easy. The pressure to perform puts public managers in a tight spot and performance anxiety is one of the major constraints in the public managing field (Conteh, 2010).

Environment of public management

Secondly, insufficient funds is another constraining feature of this environment. The public manager has to work on a budget which makes it hard to foster development. Most of the times, the funds allocated to the public managers are not enough to run the basic operations, let alone the additional projects. However, the society does not seem to understand this, and they are always full of expectations from the public manager. They expect the manager to do more than he can and then more. They will want several development projects running at the same time, and they will not care to enquire whether the funds are present or not. Failure to which they start putting the blame on the manager and accusing him on the grounds of insufficiency, incompetence, and in some cases embezzlement of funds. Public manager work in stressful environments; patience and tolerance are the two primary virtues that a manager should have to keep up in such a demanding environment.

On the positive side, the public management field has seen to major developments that have significantly improved the lifestyle of citizens. Enabling features of this environment is available workforce. Human resources are always in availability, and it is the manager to make the best out of them. The public management environment never runs out of labor and for that reason getting things done becomes easier. The fact that these people come from different cultures, religions and social structures is the very reason why the public manager should maintain a multi-dimensional management approach.

Secondly, this is one department that has people’s best interests at heart. Therefore, it is an environment full of people who operate on goodwill. The several ideas brought up by the staff members of such a dedicated team could prove beneficial to the public manager. He/she could use such suggestion to make informed decisions on matters affecting the public.

Values based management

For every profession under the sky, there is a set of values that must be put into practice to ensure professionalism and promote workplace ethics. Without these values, the professionalism would be compromised significantly and basic standards of operation not observed. These values guide people’s actions and promote social cohesion. Given the distinctive nature of public organizations, the actions of public administrators ought to be governed by a set of ethical, democratic, professional, and human values. They cannot just operate as they wish and their actions have to be guided by public service values and operate in the best interest of the public. These values are what determine the professionalism and competence of public administrators.

The first professional and ethical value are honesty. Public officials need to be sincere with the public at all times. Honesty goes a long way in winning and maintaining the trust and faith that the public has in you. People want to be sure that they can trust you with public funds and that it will not be misused or embezzled in any way (Martin, 2009). Public administrators should be very transparent and not have any hidden agendas in their policies, rules, and terms of work. A good example is a public administrator who uses public funds for personal gain. He/she might come up with false projects and doctored financial statements to cover up his tracks. In the end, money that could have otherwise been used on development ends up in the public administrator’s pocket.

Public management values

Another important value that public administrators ought to possess is assertiveness. The public needs to see that their leader is confident in his/her decisions and not easily swayed by each passing idea. Confidence is generated from within spreading outwards. If a public administrator is not confident in himself/herself, it would be impossible to inspire confidence in others. A public administrator should be able to make informed choices and stick to them without fear or favor. The only thing that a pubic manager should consider when making a decision and giving orders is the best interest of the citizens. Under no circumstance should the manager make a decision to impress others or because they fear not being the people’s favorite. For a manager to be able to pull that, confidence is paramount. They should be confident in the correct choices they make whether they are popular or not.

In public administration, empathy is an imperative value. People are more likely to listen and respect a public manager who has an idea of the problems they face. Research shows that the public is more attracted to leaders who value people’s feelings as opposed to ones who are only concerned about power. They do not want a figurehead who is all about following principles and giving out orders. The public is in need of a leader who has the ability to share in their pain, celebrate, share joy, as well as sympathize. They want someone human as opposed to a power machine. An empathetic public manager is capable of this, and as a result, people tend to love and respect him.

Policymaking system

Policymaking is an imperative process in any management. Public managers need to make come up with policies and make the decision on behalf of the people they represent. Therefore, they cannot afford to make wrong decisions as they will prove to be very expensive and they risk losing the faith that people have in them. They have to make informed decisions and make cold calculations in difficult situations all for the best interests of the public. To achieve this, public managers need to have strategies that exert influence in policy making and make decisions in public organizations.

The first strategy that public managers can use in influencing policy making is involving the very people that they are representing. This way the public manager will get to know the public desires and wishes while at the same time incorporating them into the decision-making process. This strategy is very effective and democratic as it will make the public not feel left out in making important decisions affecting them (Martin, 2009). The people are better informed about policies that affect them, and it is only right if public managers gave them a platform to express themselves and air their concerns.

Policy making examples

Involving the people also helps in amending the policies before they are even made. There is a belief held by many people that, they can do better when in power. In this regard, these people believe that their leaders are not doing enough and could perform much better if they were in their position. When such people are given an opportunity to present their views and express their grievances, they feel included in policy making process.

Secondly, public managers can use the strategy of creating a scoring system whereby important decisions are reduced down to a game of numbers. The public manager comes up with a pros and cons list for every major decision they are about to make. Both positive and negative points are assigned depending on the quality of the decision. Once, the list is created, the public manager should then weigh in on which decision to make. The public manager can then use this list to exert influence in decision making to the public and give valid reasons free from biasedness.

Leadership trait

In any society leadership is a valuable trait. Leadership is, therefore, the process in which people exercise authority over others. However, it sounds better described as the basic structural and functional way of influencing others’ actions.

Depending on the area of focus, leadership can be divided into two groups; transactional and transformational. They type of leadership that is focused on supervising, organizing and running of the day-to-day activities is referred to as transactional. On the other hand, transformational leaders are ones who strive to motivate and engage the subjects towards achieving a shared goal or vision. Therefore, it is safe to say that transactional leadership is result oriented while transformational leadership is employee oriented (Conteh, 2010).

Transactional leadership is focused on promoting compliance and meeting performance expectations using supervision. Rewards and punishments also come in handy in transactional leaderships. This type can increase employee satisfaction through results. Employees will be motivated to work hard for fear of not reaching the set target. Rewards can also be used to motivate the employees towards achieving organizational goals, and any form of misconduct should be punished to ensure professionalism and maintain a strict work ethic. A transactional leader is more of a boss who supervises the performance of employees on the basis of task completion and following the set protocols. This can be an advantage or disadvantage depending on the viewers perspective. A transformational leader may get things done but is not the favorite in the eyes of the subjects. Such a leader is feared rather than respected or loved.

Leadership types

The best way a transactional leader can motivate employee satisfaction is by showing appreciation to the employee. Such a leader should understand that the employees are human beings and not mere machines that are fed with orders and process them in split seconds. For them to mofivate employees, they should understand that they are prone to errors and should not be crucified for.the same. Punishments should not be so severe as this will only end up frustrating them. A transactional.leader should learn to correct mistakes rather than punish them. They need to show their employees that although the results matter, how the employees get to them.is equally important. Unless employees feel that their efforts are recognized if not appreciated, they will never be satisfied, and in many cases, employee satisfaction is directly translated into better results.

Similarly, transformational leadership can be used tho build employee trust in their leaders through incorporating employees in critical decision-making policies. This style is about leading by example, and employees tend to be more open and confident in leaders who show them the way as opposed to giving them instructions because an example is better than precept. A transformational leader stands a better chance to increase employee satisfaction as compared to a transactional one. He is not only interested in results but also the comfortability of the employees.

An employee who feels like part of the company is more likely to be focussed on achieving the organizational goals as compared to one who feels like a mere servant who.is told what to do and when to do it.

References

Conteh, C. (2010). Transcending New Public Management: The Transformation of Public Sector Reforms. Public Management Review, 12(5), 751-754. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14719037.2010.512445

Martin, S. (2009). Understanding Public Management. Public Management Review, 11(5), 728-730. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14719030903162188

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