Legitimacy Of Public Administrator Essay Research Paper

Legitimacy Of Public Administrator Essay, Research Paper


The question of legitimacy of public administration was raised two centuries ago. This was the case as the Federal Constitution did not specifically call for the government to have the support of such an organization. Justification was based on the fact that governments need support to meet their duties and responsibilities. Legitimacy itself is achieved by the organization itself in the way it functions and the work that is being done to support legislation and those in government. Traditionally, public administration is thought of as the accomplishing side of government. It is supposed to comprise all those activities involved in carrying out the policies of elected officials and some activities associated with the development of those policies. How these responsibilities are carried out reflect on the legitimacy of the administration as well as the legitimacy of the government..

The creation of the federal constitution was a difficult task as there were two strongly held views, those of the federalists who wanted a strong national government and the anti-federalists who believed that the government should be kept small and limited in power. The anti-federalists were concerned that the government would grow too fast and as a result would interfere with individual rights. They envisioned that once the government was established that it would become very complex. For this reason they wanted it to be kept as simple as possible. However, they did not express their ideas as to how the work should be done, and who would do it. At the same time, the federalists continued to see that with a developing country, there would be greater need for a government that would promote development and economic growth.

Because the subject of Public Administration was not included in the design of the Constitution, when the administrative jobs were filled, they were filled with inefficient clerks as the jobs were given to those who helped the elected official to get elected. This resulted in negative public opinion regarding public servants. However, it took some time before things were to change. In 1871, Congress passed the first civil service commission which was given the responsibility for developing methods for selecting highly qualified people to fill the different jobs that the policy makers needed to have performed and to eliminate people who were considered as being unnecessary.

Trust of the people was the most important need in the government because many changes were taking place in the country following the declaration of independence. There was no doubt great concern among the public as to what was going to happen next. Hamilton recognized this when he said that an administration could not acquire trust (legitimacy) unless they had the respect of the people (Federalist Paper, 27). The Pendleton Act of 1883 attempted to solve some off the problems by creating a classified service to be organized by the president and to apply to clerks in the departments and in post offices and custom houses having over fifty employees. Examinations were required to qualify for the positions, and employees had to have good moral character.

Legitimacy is also important for another reason. If we view Public Administration as the machinery or working arm of the government, it goes without saying that those in the service must take cooperative human action with a high degree of rationality with all others in the public sector as well as the private sector. Legitimacy cannot be achieved without people working together to achieve the goals of the policy which had been legislated. Although need for human cooperation varies in the different departments and agencies, it is the quality of this cooperation that gives the administration legitimacy. When those working in Public Administration have an obligation to be highly qualified and to serve the public in the most efficient manner, as legitimacy can be quickly lost if they do not.

Max Weber, a German sociologist, was greatly concerned about legitimacy, particularly legitimate authority. As things were changing itt he country, Weber saw the increasing legitimacy of bureaucratic authority, based as it was on scientific procedure and professionalism. The issue of legitimacy has been important for public administration as well. His work had minimal impact in the field until the 1950s. To ensure legitimacy, there was a greater call for professionalism and specialization.

Although Public Administration has a relative long history, and it has continued to develop and improve through the years, although men and women are not elected, they continually have to deal with the issue of legitimacy because they are working with the public, and what they do reflects on the government, as well as those who are elected in the different districts, states, and the federal government.


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