Psychological Differences between Private and Public Administration – Essay

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Financial Meticulousness:

Public administration has to be very careful in financial matters. The misuse of a single penny may raise a storm in the country and compel the government to resign.

The public money is to be spent meticulously and according to the prescribed procedure. The executive does not control finance. It is the legislature which exercises financial control over the executive.

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Officials Remain Incognito:

In public administration, even the most senior officials remain incognito and their identity is not disclosed. This is so because whatever they do, they do in the name of the government and not in their own name. On the contrary, private administration entrepreneur does things on his own behalf and is well-known in the business circles.

Greater Social Prestige:

Public Administrator carries a greater social prestige than a private administrator. In fact, the former gets more opportunities of rendering service to the people than the latter. Service to the community is the basic urge characterising public administration.

Hence, people having ability and under experience enabling them to promote and safeguard public interest man public administration. This adds to their social status and enhances their prestige.

According to Simon, the distinction between public and private administration relates mainly to three points:

(i) Public administration is bureaucratic whereas private administration is businesslike;

(ii) Public administration is political whereas private administration is non-political; and

(iii) Public administration is characterized by red-tape whereas private administration is free from it.

These distinctions do not, however, always hold good although they are somewhat factual under certain circumstances.

Sir Josia Stamp points out four main points of distinction between private and public administration

Firstly public administration has to be conducted according to certain rigid rules and regulations and its decision must be consistent.

Secondly, public administration is subject to the principle of eternal financial control of the legislature.

Thirdly, public administration is subject to the principle of public responsibility, and

Finally, public administration is free from profit motive.

With this is brief characterization we reach the conclusion that both the public and private administration is placed in different surroundings. Public administration has come to acquire certain distinctive features which differentiate it from private administration.

“Public accountability is its hallmark, consistency of treatment its watchword: and consciousness of community services its ideal.” With all this it is wrong to assume that public and private administration is two different entities. Private administration is apt to function within a framework of general laws and special laws which control it.

The driving force behind him is enlightened self interest. As such lie is conscious of community service. He believes in proper rules and regulations which stem from an inner urge to bring it in tune with the community’s aspirations and ideals.

However, the difference between the two is more apparent than real. In the words of Prof. Waldo, “The generalizations which distinguish public administration from private administration by special care for equality of treatment, legal authorization of and responsibility of action, public justification or justifiability of decisions, financial probity and meticulousness, and so forth are of very limited applicability.”


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