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Scope of Public Administration

Three important perspectives about the scope of Public Administration

  • Narrow perspective or posdcorb perspective.

  • Broad perspective or subject matter view.

  • Prevailing view

  1. Narrow perspective or posdcorb perspective

Luther Gullick is the main exponent of this perspective. According to him the scope of public administration is narrow or limited. It is also regarded as posdcorb view. It insist that the Public Administration is concerned only with those aspects of administration which are related with the executive branch and its seven types of administrative functions.

Seven types of administrative functions of Narrow perspective or posdcorb perspective

  • ‘P’ stands for Planning – Planning is the first step of Public Administration. i.e., working out the broad outline of the things that need to be done.

  • ‘O’ stands for organization – It means establishment of the formal structure of authority through which the work is sub-divided, arranged and co-ordinated for the defined objective.

  • ‘S’ stands for staffing – It means the recruitment and training of the staff and maintenance of favourable conditions of work for the staff.

  • ‘D’ stands for Directing – It means the continuous task of making decisions and embodying them in specific and general orders and instructions, and thus guiding the enterprise.

  • ‘Co’ stands for Co-ordination – It means interrelating the various parts of organization such as branches, divisions, sections of the work and elimination of overlapping.

  • ‘R’ stands for Reporting – It means informing the authority to whom the executive is responsible as to what is going on.

  • ‘B’ stands for Budgeting – It means accounting, fiscal planning and control. Evaluation - POSDCORB Perspective about the Scope of Public Administration is limited and narrow. It stressed on the tools of Public Administration. It does not show the substance of administration. It is a technique oriented perspective, not a subject oriented.


A) Broad perspective or subject - oriented perspective:-

Prof. Woodrow Wilson, L D While are main exponent of this perspective. They have taken a very broad approach about the scope of Public Administration. According to them,

  • Public Administration covers all three branches of the government. Legislative, Executive and Judicial and their interrelationship. Legislative organ makes the laws, Executive organ of the government implements the laws. And judicial organ of the government interprets the laws. There is interrelationship between these three organs.

  • B) Scope of Public Administration is like a cooperative group. It consist of all from class one officer to class four employees.

  • C) Public Administration is a part of the political process. It has an important role in the formulation of public policy at all levels, from national to grass root. It is closely associated with numerous private groups and individuals in providing services to the community. It has been influenced in recent years by the human relations approach.


Prevailing view:-

Prevailing view divides the scope of Public Administration into two parts.-

  • Administrative theory

  • Applied administration

A. Administrative theory – It includes the following aspects,

a) Organisational Theory

The Structure, organization, functions and methods of all types of public authority engaged in administration, whether national, regional or local and executive.

b) Behaviour

The functions of Administrative authorities and the various methods appropriate to different types of functions. The various forms of control of administration.

c) Public Personal Administration

The problems concerning personnel e.g. recruitment, training, promotion, retirement etc. and the problems relating to planning, research, information and public relation services.


B. Applied administration – It includes the following aspects,

a) Political functions

It includes the executive - legislative relationship, administrative activities of the cabinet, the minister and permanent official relationship.

b) Legislative function

It includes delegated legislation and the preparatory work done by the officials in connection with the drawing up of bills.

c) Financial functions

It includes total financial administration from the preparation of the budget to its execution, accounting and audit etc.

d) Defence

Functions relating to military Administration.

e) Educational function

It includes functions relating to educational administration.

f) Social welfare administration

It includes the activities of the departments concerned with food; housing, social security and development activities.

g) Economic Administration

It is concerned with the production and encouragement of industries and agriculture.

h) Foreign administration

It includes the conduct of foreign affairs, diplomacy, international cooperation etc.

i) Local administration

It concern with the activities of the local self-governing institutions.


The modern state cannot confine its field of activities to only maintenance of law and order, dispensation of justice, collection of revenue and taxes. The modern state is expected to provide more and more services and amenities to the people. This results in tremendous growth both in the governmental responsibilities as well as in the administrative machinery of the state. Naturally the scope of public administration is increased. Narrow perspective, Broad perspective, Prevailing view divides or the scope in two parts.

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