Public administration scholars have expressed two divergent views on the nature of public administration. These are (a) Integral view and (b) Managerial View of Public Administration.
Intergral View of Public Administration Nature
This view considers public administration nature as a complete activity. It includes all the persons, from top to bottom, who have contributed to achieving the given objective. According to this view, nature of administration depends upon the subject matters of the concerned agency, that is, its difference from one sphere to another.
According to L.D. White, Public Administration “consists of all those operations having for their purpose the fulfillment or enforcement of the public policy. This definition covers a multitude of a particular operations in many fields-the deliveries of a letter, the sale of public land, the negotiation of a treaty, the award of compensation to an injured workman, the quarantine of a sick child, the removal of litter from a park, manufacturing plutonium, and licensing the use of atomic energy”. (White 1958: 1)
Another scholar Marshal E Dimock also shares the same view and holds that administration is concerned with the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of government. The ‘what’ is the subject matter, the technical knowledge of a field that enables the administrator to perform his tasks. The ‘how’ is the technique of management, the principles according to which cooperative programs are carried to success.
The Managerial View of Public Administration Nature
According to this view, the works of only those who are engaged in the performance of managerial functions in the organization constitute nature of administration. In this managerial view, the administration has the functions of planning, programming, and organizing all the activities in an organization to achieve the desired ends. Luther Gullick and Herbert Simon subscribe to this view of public administration nature.
Luther Gullick says, “Administration has to do with getting things done; with the accomplishment of defined objectives.” (Gulick 1937:191)
Ordway Tead observes, “Administration is conceived as the necessary activities of individuals (executives) in an organization who are charged with ordering, forwarding and facilitating the associated efforts of a group of individuals brought together to realize certain defined purposes.” (Tead 1959:67)
These two views deal with the nature of public administration. In simple terms, the nature of public administration deals with the execution of a plan of action to achieve the desired objective.
To summarise, we can take an observation of M.E. Dimock, G.O. Dimock, and L.W. Koeing in Public Administration: “As a study, public administration examines every aspect of government’s efforts to discharge the laws and to give effect to public policy; as a process, it is all the steps taken between the time and enforcement agency assumes jurisdiction and the last brick is placed (but also includes the agency’s participation, if any, in the formulation of the program in the first place); and, as a vocation, it is organizing and directing the activities of others in a public agency.” (Dimock & Koeing 1959:12)