Public Administration and unethical behavior are two sides of a coin, this paper will consider the example of the US and the unethical behavior of the government will be brought to the light. There are various types of governments in countries world over, for instance many countries follow Democracy in which the people of the country hold the ultimate power, and some countries follow Anarchy, where an individual rules the country. Public Administration is mainly found in developed countries and the sole aim of the same is to ensure that people are benefitted. Public Administration ensures the well being of people by taking the most appropriate decisions to suit the situations. Public Administration is a very important aspect because it directly affects the quality of life of the people and one wrong decision taken by the government often proves to be fatal in deciding the fate of the people. Public Administration is certainly a big problem and the same will be proved in this paper. The example of America will be considered and a conclusion will be arrived at.
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“Dwight Waldo wrote nearly fifty years ago that democracy is very much more than the political context in which public administration is carried out. Public administration is now less hierarchical and insular and is increasingly networked. This has important implications for democracy, including changing responsibilities for the public interest, for meeting public preferences, and for the enhancement of political deliberation, civility, and trust. Networked public administration can pose a threat to democratic governance and it can open possibilities for strengthening governance, depending on the values and actions of public administrators.” (Journal of Public Administration, 2008).
Public Administration is all about carrying out what is expected, in other words it is the fulfillment of obligations. When so many obligations have to be fulfilled then it becomes a very big challenge and this is where Public Administration comes into play. It is a systematic form of carrying out the obligations and in countries where Public Administration is successfully implemented very less or no conflicts are found in the relationship of the citizens and the people responsible for carrying out Public Administration. It is extremely important for the people handling public administration to establish trust and civility. Civility is one of the most important in Public Administration, without politeness a public administration endeavor can never become successful.
Public Management is an extremely difficult process as it is very complicated and involves a lot of effort. It becomes even more complicated because it involves a large sum of money, which is usually spent for the benefit of people. Public management includes various tools with the help of which the efficiency and effectiveness is maximized. The most important function of the administration is to come up with innovative ideas when the government is facing a catastrophe. There are various organizations in different countries which study public management. In United States of America, the American society for Public Administration is responsible for building a bridge between the government and the people to ensure that public management is carried out smoothly. Some of the most important functions of the American Society for Public Administration as per the body are as follows:
“Advances the art, science, teaching and practice of public and non-profit administration. Promotes the value of joining and elevating the public service profession. Builds bridges among all who pursue public purposes. Provides networking and professional development opportunities to those committed to public service values.” (Advancing Excellence in public service, 2008)
Since the most important function of public management is to come up with innovative solutions during a catastrophe, let’s now focus upon the various catastrophes which have recently hit the American government and the way they were dealt with. The biggest catastrophe in terms of an attack to have hit the American government in recent times was the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The attacks were carried out successfully and everything in America came to a standstill after the attacks. The Stock market plunged to unprecedented levels and the US government was taken aback. “Bush and company are struggling to reaffirm the official story, that the US was caught by surprise, just as it was at Pearl Harbor, and the same Air Force that was able to intercept Payne Stewert’s plane just couldn’t seem to get off the ground while four hijacked planes wandered out to Ohio before heading back to hit their targets on the East Coast, and all the work if a tiny group of Arab fanatics.” (What Really Happened, 2008)
It is believed that President Bush has prior knowledge of the attacks which rocked the US government; he also had access to bank accounts of the people involved in the attacks. Considering this, one fails to understand why no appropriate action was taken to counter the same. So many innocent people lost their lives in the 9/11 attacks and the US government was taken for a ride, the most surprising thing is that President Bush had prior knowledge of the attacks even though no appropriate action was taken. This goes to show a major pitfall in public management in US. Had it been some other developed country, the government would have dealt with the situation in a much better way than the US government, given the fact that the US government had prior intimation on the attacks, but nothing worth noticing was done to safeguard the lived of the innocent people who were killed in the 9/11 massacre.
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“Effective decision making in New York was hampered by problems in command and control and in internal communications. Within the Fire Department of New York, this was true for several reasons: the magnitude of the incident was unforeseen; commanders had difficulty communicating with their units; more units were actually dispatched than were ordered by the chiefs; some units self-dispatched; and once units arrived at the World Trade Center, they were neither comprehensively accounted for nor coordinated. The Port Authority’s response was hampered by the lack both of standard operating procedures and of radios capable of enabling multiple commands to respond to an incident in unified fashion. The New York Police Department, because of its history of mobilizing thousands of officers for major events requiring crowd control, had a technical radio capability and protocols more easily adapted to an incident of the magnitude of 9/11.” (A Nation Transformed, 2008).
After instances like 9/11 public management in US comes under scrutiny, Bush himself has admitted that the government failed to deal with the catastrophe effectively. People also questioned the sluggishness of the rescue workers. The Security came under the scanner as well, 19 people were involved in hijacking 3 planes which hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon one after the other, all the 19 succeeded in their endeavor and got away very easily in the routine security check done at the airport, this goes to show that the security system was very flawed and gave every chance to extremists to make the most of it and the extremists certainly did not put a foot wrong in ensuring that they teach the government a lesson. The US government made a mockery of itself by letting 19 hijackers get away as easily as they did, the security should have been tighter. Had that been the case no such event would have taken place. Another striking thing which should be noticed here is that the US government was continuously warned by Al- Qaeda of the attacks which were going to take place but looking at the results it seems like all the warnings fell on deaf ears and this was exactly why no action was taken to make sure that no undesirable activity took place. There are more mistakes than one made by the US government in handling the 9/11 catastrophe. First of all it could have been prevented, all the 19 hijackers involved had bank accounts in the US and considering this the bank authorities should have anticipated that there was something wrong which was going to happen just by looking at the bank records of the 19 hijackers. This goes to show that the bank authorities should introduce new rules which will restrict any such catastrophes in future. If all these aspects are considered and worked upon then the US would surely have a good public management system in place to deal with such attacks in future.
This clearly goes to show that the planning function of the US government is not operating as it should. Numerous examples in the past have gone on to prove the same. After all these examples one gets a feeling that there have been numerous instances when the US government has acted in an Unethical way, it is high time for them to form a good public management policy and do some good for the citizens of the US. Public management should be the main course of action by Barrack Obama after taking charge as the President of the US. Obama has promised the people of New Orleans that there will be significant improvement in rescue management after he takes charge as the President. He has also promised the people that there will be attention given towards the health care facilities and education. He has assured the people that there will be better flood management under his Presidency. If all these promises are kept then it could be concluded that the future of Public Management is in right hands. The mistakes are right in front of Barrack Obama, it is the time to learn from them and make amends. The people of the US will be delighted if Obama delivers what he has promised especially with regard to Public Management.
- A Nation Transformed. In National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States.
- Advancing Excellence in Public Service. In The American Society for Public Administration.
- Journal of Public Administration Research & Theory (Transaction); 97, Vol. 7 Issue 3, p443, 17p