On the structure and content of the specialty “Public Management and Administration” (III. Overview)


Antonina Kolodii. Some theoretical considerations and practical proposals concerning the content and structure of the specialty “public management and administration”. The paper for the research periodical of LRIPA NAPA “Effectiveness of Public Administration”. – Issue 45. 2016 (Lviv)

Abstract. The article deals with the terminological peculiarities and possible structure of a new specialty “public management and administration”. After revealing the wide and narrow meaning of the “public sphere” as a social space, in which public management and public administration take place, the author focuses on the relationship between the notions of government (and governance), public policy, and public administration as parts (structural elements) of a broader concept of public management; then she provides samples of successful, as she believes, curricula in public administration and public policy at some leading United States Universities.

Key words: public management, public governance, public administration, public sphere of civic activity, public sphere of social (not private) life, specialty, specialization (concentration), profession.

The purpose of the article is to highlight some debatable theoretical and methodological issues, agreement on which is necessary for a successful transition to the new specialty “public governance and administration”, which will be introduced in Ukrainian higher education institutions in 2016/17 academic year; to express some author’s considerations regarding the content of terms and their correlation with each other; to make practical conclusions from the analysis of similar specialties’ curricula in certain American universities.

The previous studies and problem formulation. In connection with Ukraine’s entry  into the European and world educational and scientific space  scientists of NAPA and other research institutions intensified their study of public authorities structure and functioning, public policy, public administration, governance and new public governance, as well as the development of new methods for preparing curricula, corresponding to European standards. In this context it is worth mentioning the research and methodological works by P.I.Dolishniy, S.O.Teleshun, V.I. Luhovyi, V. Korzhenko, N.M. Meltyuhova, M.I.Lahyzha, V.M. Zakharchenko, Y. Rashkevych, A.Kolodii and others. However, a number of issues related to conceptual apparatus and structure of the new specialty remains highly controversial. Even the name of the new discipline “public rule (upravlinnia) and administration”  leads to misunderstanding.

The main problem arises from the fact that Ukrainian word “upravlinnia” is a very general term that covers many sorts of managerial activities: government, governance, administration, management. So, if the name of specialty contains the words “… and administration”, there must be something quite different from “administration” before them. In no case it should be a word that includes (among other senses) the sense of “administration”. The author argues that the most adequate word in this case might be “uriaduvannia” in two versions: government and governance. Both are linked to the decision-making process and development of public policy courses as opposed to organizational activities, personnel management and provision of administrative services, connected with the term “public administration”.

The main body of the paper falls into four parts: 1) examination of the term “public”, including explanations of the two approaches to the understanding of the public sphere; 2) interpretation of the meaning of the terms “rule (upravlinnia) and administration” in the context of the new name of the discipline and finding English analogues for them; 3) explication of the USA universities experiences in  training students in similar specialties; 4) some considerations on the relationship between specialties, specializations and professions, as well as on the resource maintenance of the new discipline teaching.

The author offers her own, substantiated in her previous publications, interpretation of key notions connected with the new specialty and correlation between them, while stressing the need for correspondence of Ukrainian terminology, including the names of disciplines and specializations, to their English analogues. It is important for a proper understanding the new specialty name, which in English should better be presented like public governance and administration. In this case it would cover decision-making process, made by government, local self-government and civil-society institutions, plus administration, made by public service incorporated in all these institutions. It is proposed to apply more broadly the concepts of new public governance and new public management in the teaching process, since they reflect certain innovative forms of government and administration in most developed countries.

In addition, theoretical aspects of broad and narrow understanding of public sphere are considered in the article. It is relevant because some authors treat this sphere very narrowly – just as a field of organized civic activity, while others reduce it to the functioning of state and local authorities, leaving aside the public sector.  It is claimed in the article that in a broad sense, which is applicable here, concept of “public” encompasses both state, local self-government and civil society realms and applies to everything that affects the interests of the “public”: the people, the citizens, the population of certain countries. In this broad meaning “public” makes opposition to “private”. This means that “public governance and administration” covers all forms of decision-making and administrative activity (both “for the people” and “by the people”) in public, that is, non-private sphere of society life.

It is proposed to consider the use of foreign, particularly American experience in establishing the boundaries of specialty “public governance and administration”, identifying areas of specialization, selecting disciplines that fill curricula (especially, taking into account the related specialties at the USA universities, such as public administration, public policy, public affairs and government).

At the end of the article the author draws attention to the dissimilarity and overlapping of such terms as “specialty”, “specialization”, “profession” and their manifestation in the Ministry of Education and Science documents, assigned for the future attestation of specialists in public governance and administration. The stress is made also on the need to improve resource and organizational support for teaching and research in the field of governance and administration, including the acquisition of foreign literature and on-line databases for the libraries, as well as improving foreign language training of students. In sum, these efforts will contribute to giving a new meaning, not just another name for the new specialty.

(The whole text may be seen in Ukrainian section)