Explain Public Administration as a Social Science.
Understanding of Public Administration as a Social Science:
Although administration is as old as society, systematic attempts in administrative study began in the last decades of 19th century. Over the years, a number of theories were built, each with a set of assumptions, each questioning the assumption of earlier theories and each engaged in search of new theories or modifications of the existing one.
Administrative studies in thirties began with a hopeful note on the possibility of building a science of administration. To develop any theory for any discipline, (say, for like Public Administration) it means a scientific explanation of the phenomenon. It represents a systematic explanation of casual factors and their fusion within a conceptual framework involved within an organism. It is a concise presentation fact and a logical setup of assumptions from which empirical laws or principles are derived.
Development of a theory should be in consonance with the adoption of scientific approach to analyze and understand a particular phenomenon. Theory like science, therefore, must conform to the criteria of objectivity, readability, coherence and comprehensiveness. I
t provides perspective to the reality, stimulates new vision from familiar scenes. This being the importance of theory building, one becomes an inequitable part of the growth and development of any social science including Public Administration. Because of the integrated nature of social sciences, development in any other disciplines would help in the other disciplines would help in the conceptualization in administration as well.
Modern Behaviouralism which developed in the late 30’s and 40’s of this century is mainly concerned with the scientific study of human behaviour in diverse social environment. It started as a protest against traditional, historical, normative and largely descriptive approaches in social sciences.
In public administration behaviouralism as a distinct line of study started in the 1930’s with the Human Relations Movement and was later developed by Chester Barnard, Herbert Simon and others. ‘Administrative Behavior’ is a part of the behavioural sciences and the, study of Public Administration should involve the study of individual and collective human behaviour in administrative situations.
Thus, viewing the above mentioned facts, Public Administration has to be understood in the context of social science and the theoretical or practical developments in other social sciences do influence theoretical base of public administration and vice-versa.